Broner: Maidana is my biggest fight

Broner is only 24, but he has already won world titles in three weight classes: junior lightweight, lightweight and welterweight. However, he hasn't exactly taken on a Murderers' Row of opponents to get the belts. His opposition in junior lightweight title bouts, in particular, was weak. His biggest wins are an eight-round destruction of Antonio DeMarco to win a lightweight title 13 months ago and a split decision against Paulie Malignaggi in June in Malignaggi's hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y. In defeating Malignaggi, Broner won the welterweight belt in his first fight in the weight class. (He skipped over the junior welterweight division.)

Broner, of Cincinnati, didn't have to worry about Malignaggi's offense. While he is an excellent boxer, his repeated hand injuries have sapped him of any semblance of punching power.

But Maidana, 30, is a mostly crude blaster blessed with two of the heaviest hands in the ring. He is a crushing puncher.

"The plan is that when I fight Broner, I am going to hit him everywhere and be busier," said Maidana. "I'm prepared to throw many punches in the fight and pressure him. I've also trained to cut off the ring. It's very important to attack the body, the arms and later the head."

It didn't seem unreasonable to ask Broner for his thoughts about going from fighting a feather-fisted Malignaggi to the hammer-handed Maidana, although Broner will have overwhelming advantages in the skills and speed departments on Saturday. Broner, however, was dismissive.

"One more thing that people don't understand is, the guys he knocked out, he was able to hit," Broner said of Maidana. "He's got to hit me first. He has to hit me first, and he's never been hit by me.

"Maidana has to make me respect his power and his boxing skills. When I make my adjustments inside the ring, then I'll do what I have to do to get my victory, but until then, we're just staying sharp."

The fight has been brewing since Broner beat Malignaggi. Maidana is Broner's mandatory challenger and badly wanted to fight him. Maidana called it his "obsession."

Before the fight was signed, Broner and Maidana nearly came to blows at a boxing card in Las Vegas in September, a couple of nights before Mayweather faced Canelo Alvarez.

"I really wanted to beat and knock him out even at that stage, [when] the fight was not done already [set], when the incident happened in Las Vegas," Maidana said. "But after the incident, I tell you the truth, it was a motivation for me, because I'm not used to fights or getting into arguments or coming to blows with fellow fighters. But this guy has something special. He's a provocative character, so it really gave me motivation to focus more on my training."

Broner said he was sitting with "a nice lady" and that Maidana just wanted some attention when he approached Broner.

"Somebody had to tell him to [come over to me], but that's boxing," Broner said. "Did it surprise me? No. No. It's OK. I'm fine with that. That's what I'm used to. I'm happy that he's willing to fight me and that he's ready to fight. I like to see that, so I know he's not going to run from me. He's going to come to fight me."

Maidana knows no other way.

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PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin works out at Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Aug. 30, 2015.
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