(CBS Local) – It’s been two years since the boxing world saw Adrien “The Problem” Broner in the ring. After Broner dropped a unanimous decision against Manny Pacquiao in the fight for the WBA welterweight title in January 2019, he took time for the sport. That time out is now over as the former four-division world champion will return to the ring at Mohegan Sun Casino on Saturday February 20th when he takes on Jovanie “El Lobito” Santiago on Showtime pay-per-view.
Broner, 31, says the decision to return was an easy one and that he just felt ready to be back in the ring.
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“I just felt like it was my time to go back. I was ready to go back, ”Broner said in an interview with Ryan Mayer of CBS Local. “It was my first time to retire from boxing and take my big break and heal myself. I’m ready to come back and do some great shows. “
While the decision to come back felt like the right time, it doesn’t mean training to get back into boxing shape was easy. As Broner points out, getting back into the rhythm and lifestyle required to struggle at high levels requires a different level of commitment.
“It was difficult. The first few weeks were exhausting. Wake up at 6:30 in the morning, do the miles and sprints and then go back to the gym. It was hard for me to get back to the boxer lifestyle,” said Broner.
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It had to be difficult to face 31 year old Santiago, who is unbeaten in his career so far. On his way into the fight next Saturday, Broner says that despite his previous stature as one of the best in the sport, he has an underdog mindset.
“I really don’t watch fights like this, I don’t go into fights with the attitude” I have the advantage because of this or that. “I got into every fight like I was the underdog, like everyone was waiting for me to lose, and everyone was waiting for me to make mistakes,” said Broner. “This is how I stay as sharp as possible. I go in this fight and know that Santiago is hungry, unbeaten and wants to keep his 0. I have to stay sharp and I just have to do what I have to do to get my victory. “
Broner’s desire to stay sharp is also due in part to the skills of his opponent, whom he considers a good all-round fighter. But he’s confident that he’s prepared for whatever Santiago brings to the table.
“I really can’t say what really stands out because he does so many things well. He’s in, he’s out, he can hit if he has to. He is an all-round fighter. For this training camp, I trained my ass and did a good job. Whatever he brings to the table, I’m ready for it. “
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Catch Broner versus Santiago along with Dominic Brazeale versus Otto Wallin on Showtime’s pay-per-view card on Saturday, February 20th at 9:00 p.m. (CET).