Adrien Broner awakened Monday and took a look at the Internet. What he didn't see was the thing he most enjoys reading about, hearing about, talking about: Himself.
The former world champion loves nothing more than to make waves, to create headlines, to be the center of attention.
And so, since there wasn't any active major discussions about him, he did something about it.
Broner is training in Washington, D.C., working out with his buddy, IBF super lightweight champion Lamont Peterson, preparing for a Sept. 6 bout in Cincinnati against Emmanuel Taylor on Showtime.
So he let it leak that he might be fighting Peterson on Oct. 18. That led to a flurry of activity on boxing websites around the world.
And after seeing his name all over Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and on boxing websites everywhere, Broner was satisfied.
"People say I'm a professional boxer, and I am," Broner said. "But that's only a part of who I am. I'm also a professional entertainer. I'm a guy that needs the lights and the cameras focused on me. So on Monday, when nobody was talking about Adrien Broner, I gave them something to talk about."
It wasn't true, but it forced reporters to mention his name and his upcoming fight with Taylor.
In a sense, it was genius. It also showed growth. Broner is still one of the most outrageous athletes in the world and he's proven time and again that nothing is too outlandish or too far for him to try.
It was all in a bid to get attention. But filming yourself sitting on a toilet flushing $100 bills isn't really the way to build a legitimate following or promote a fight.
But getting people to talk about your fighting style and your upcoming fight, even if it's by means of talking about a fantasy fight, is progress for Broner.
Despite winning three championships in three weight classes, he doesn't have a defining win. He's never been identified as the best without question in any class he's been in.
He's gotten a few gift decisions and he was hammered in his biggest fight, a December loss to Marcos Maidana.
Broner is still haunted by that loss, and repeatedly brings it up.
He's asked if his May victory over Carlos Molina in Las Vegas was satisfying and he turns it into a referendum on his fight with Maidana.
"Everyone wants to know about how that hurts my legacy," he said of the loss to Maidana in one of 2013's best fights. "But you know what? I did a whole career of [expletive] before I ever took that fight. You know? If I'd have retired at 23, I'd already done enough to be in the Hall of Fame. I'm not settling for what I've done already, but this is all extra. I've done enough to be a Hall of Famer based on what I've done now."
Hardly, but if there is one thing Broner has in abundance, it's belief in his own ability. And he makes a good point when he talks about his relative inexperience.
Broner is only a month past his 25th birthday and may not even have hit his physical prime.
"Time is on my side," he says, correctly. "My goals are high, just like my big brother Floyd Mayweather. I don't settle for minor [expletive]. I have a long way to go in this business. I'm nowhere near through. I have a lot left to do."
At times, he still seems unpolished in the ring and he's hit far too easily for a guy who has his quickness. But he is quick, can punch and showed tremendous toughness in his losing effort to Maidana.
Maidana is one of the sport's hardest pound-for-pound punchers and, particularly early, he was drilling Broner with hard, clean shots. It says much about Broner's toughness that he was still fighting hard in the final round, trying to win.
That gets lost in all of the nonsense he's pulled and amid his grandiosity, but never doubt Broner's heart.
"I'm going to be honest with you," Broner said. "Look, I believe I showed a lot more in that fight, taking that loss, than I did in my biggest wins. I got off the canvas and turned the fight around. I fought my ass off when it would have been easy for me to go, 'Oh, this isn't my night. Maybe the next time.' I didn't do that. I fought.
"I would beat Maidana nine times if we fought 10 or 99 times if we fought 100. But he got me on that one night, but I took my beating and I didn't give in."
Surprisingly, the loss humbled him enough to realize he needed to make some changes. All the jewelry and the fancy clothes and the rap stars mean little if he doesn't do his job in the ring.
In that sense, the loss was an eye-opener for him.
"I'm happy that fight went that way because, phew, I'd be dead right now if I won that fight," he said. "[Expletive] was getting out of hand. Everything was crazy, everything was getting out of hand. Me with the fame I had and the name I have, and I was only getting more famous. Everybody was starting to know me. It was getting hectic.
"You couldn't tell me [expletive]. I'll be honest: At that point in my life, I thought my [expletive] didn't stink. That's what it was. It was a reality check. There are times in your life when you have to calm down and do things right, and that was the time for me."
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