Former four-division champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner and Jovanie Santiago met face to face Thursday at the final press conference to preview their main event taking place this Saturday, February 20th live on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The popular Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs), who by the age of 26 had captured world titles at 130, 135, 140 and 147 pounds, will end his two-year hiatus from boxing and continue his quest for a fifth title by returning to face Santiago (14-0-1, 10 KOs) in a twelve-round welterweight bout [originally planned to be a junior welterweight bout]. Former IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. and contender Ryan Martin will meet in a junior welterweight bout to open the telecast. Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday:
“I’ve had so many great performances and I’m looking forward to another great performance Saturday night. I know he’s coming to fight, he’s undefeated and he’s hungry. Anybody who fights a name like Adrien Broner is going to always train to their best ability so I’m not looking at this as a fight where I just go in and destroy this guy. I’m just going to go to do what I have to do to get the victory – look good inside and outside the ring.
“I feel like I’m going to be a world champion again, again, again and again. Until I’m really done with boxing. Yes, I took two years off from boxing, retired and let my body heal and rest. I just feel like I’ve got what it takes to win more championships in different weight classes so that’s what I’m going to do.
“At the end of the day, he’s here because of me and everybody in this room is here because of me, so that’s special. Saturday night, the only thing that’s going to be special is this whooping I’m giving out. He’ll know then. Santiago hasn’t been punched yet. When you punch somebody, they talk different. He ain’t going to be talking like that after Saturday.
“I went through a lot of things, honestly. One day, I just woke and said, 'I’m done.’ In order to change, you’ve got to make change or you’ll steady get caught up doing the same thing. I cut a lot of stuff, I stopped doing a lot of stuff and I got myself together. It was a long road to get to where I’m at today and now I’m here.
“Listen, if you got a belt, just hold on to it. I’m coming to sweep it all up; WBA, WBO, WBC, IBF. I’m coming to get them all.
“Just expect a hell of a show. I know he’s coming to fight, He’s from Puerto Rico, they come to fight. But I didn’t just do all this training to go into the ring and not fight. So he’s got to know that if he comes to a war, he’s going to be in a war too. He better be coming with a lot of equipment because I’ve got a lot of equipment coming with me. I’m just ready to put it all on the line. I don’t know how he feels, but I’m willing to die in the ring. I’m willing to put my life on the line. I don’t know how far he’s willing to go. He might start thinking about his kids, grandkids, aunts, nieces, I don’t know.
“From the time I was six years old, I never took a break from boxing. So that’s what I did. Now, I’m missing boxing again, I’m back in it and we’re back to it on Saturday night.
“It’s been a hell of a training camp. Maybe one of the toughest because I had to get back in rhythm, coming back and losing all that weight and working as hard as I do. I didn’t want an easy fight so I picked a guy like Jovanie Santiago because I know he’s going to push me and bring the best out of me. That’s what I know about him. He’s a good fighter, an undefeated fighter, and he’s not here to lose.
“I know a lot of people don’t know these guys, but guys like Jovanie can be very dangerous because a lot of people don’t know him. I know better, he’s coming to fight, he’s a good fighter and undefeated, so I have to stay on my A-game. I’m going in to get the victory – whatever presents itself. If the knockout presents itself, I’m taking it. You don’t get paid for overtime but I’m definitely coming to get my win.
“The overall goal is to get past this fight first. In boxing, you can’t look past no opponent. I don’t care how everything looks on paper. In boxing, you’re only one punch away from a knockout and that’s on both ends. So what I’ve got to do is go in, get my victory, get my hands raised first, and then we’re gonna go to the drawing board. So the plan for me is to get my victory Saturday night.
“Everything happens for a reason and I think this is going to be a great start. Like I said before, I didn’t want no easy out. I could have taken a pushover, but I’m not doing that. I love competition. I want somebody to test me, bring the best out of me, and that’s why I picked Jovanie Santiago. Saturday night is going to be a great fight.”
“This is a great opportunity for me. Saturday night, I’m going to show who I am. I’m going to show Adrien Broner that I’m ready to fight.
“Whatever Broner brings to the table, I’m going to beat him on Saturday night. I’m ready for this fight. At this point, Broner might think he has an easy fight, but he’s in the wrong. I’m here to fight, I’m here to win. We’re ready.
“This Saturday night is going to be a war and it’s going to be a victory for Puerto Rico. I’m ready to die in the line like we say in Puerto Rico.
“I know this is the biggest fight of my career. He’s a big name and I’m going to try and win for Puerto Rico. Winning this fight would be the best thing that’s happened in my career and my name would get a lot bigger in the boxing world.
“I don’t have anything to lose. Adrien Broner has everything to lose Saturday night so he better bring his A-game against me. A win for me would catapult me into a world title shot.
“AB always puts on a show so on Saturday I have to be ready to put on my own show against AB. He is a good champion but I’ve trained really hard in the gym and I’m going to show it on Saturday.
“I think Adrien Broner thinks that I’m an easy fight for him, but he’s wrong about that. I think Broner is going to let go of his hands because he sees me as a weak opponent. He’s definitely overlooking me.
“Whatever Broner brings to the table, I’m going to be ready for it. If he moves, I’m going to move with him. If he wants to brawl, I’m going to brawl. Whatever he does, I’m going to do it better than he does.”
ROBERT EASTER, JR.
“I’ve been in some brawls, but I really haven’t ever shown my true boxing abilities. Me, Mike Stafford and my father (Robert Easter, Sr.) just worked on boxing and being myself.
“During COVID it really set me down and being off for all that time and never really knowing when I would get that call to get back in the ring. So I really had to focus up and I had to be ready whenever I was given that phone call. It motivated me. Plus, I had to look over my son and make sure he was alright. So it really put a different drive in me. This pandemic really set everything back, but we’re more than ready.
“140 is definitely the place for me to be right now. That’s the future. We’re worried about present right and capturing this title at 140.
“I’m just worried about me and showing my skills and everything we’ve worked on in training and this camp.”
“We fought in the amateurs and he beat me so there’s definitely a little chip on my shoulder there. I want to get back at him and let him know that I’m not a 16-year-old kid anymore.
“This fight is going to put me right back up there to be in a position to fight any of the champions or top contenders in the division. This fight is definitely going to steal the show.
“I’m focused. My mind is clear. This fight right here gets me excited. We’re two Ohio fighters with history – I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. It’s going to be an action-packed fight and I’m going to bring it. I’m not really surprised that Easter says he doesn’t see much difficulty in fighting me. I kind of expected him to say that. Easter is Easter.
“It’s going to be very important that I let my hands go against Easter. I feel that this fight is going to have so much action. I’m clear minded. I’m ready. Saturday night, we’re going to get in there and let it fly.
“Words can’t explain how excited and anxious I am for this, to tell you the truth. I’m just so ready for Saturday night. I’m ready to get the weigh-in over with, get under the lights on Saturday night and put on a show. It’s going to be an entertaining fight. A lot of people are saying a lot of things about me based on the Josh Taylor fight. So, it’s kind of like I’m battling two things.
“Easter just needs to come with it on Saturday night. I always knew this fight with Robert Easter was going to happen. I don’t know why, but I just always knew that we would meet again in the ring. I think it’s because we were both in Ohio – he was in Toledo and I was in Cleveland – and I just always thought I’d get this fight. I just didn’t think it would happen like this in a bubble.”