- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Adrien Broner was knocked down twice, roughed up and lost his welterweight title to Marcos Maidana by decision in a December upset.
Maidana parlayed the huge victory into a lucrative unification fight with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Broner? He will return on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard on May 3 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in an attempt to rebuild himself after the bruising defeat.
Broner, who is close to Mayweather and calls him his "big brother," is dropping down from the 147-pound welterweight division to the 140-pound junior welterweight class to take on Carlos Molina in a scheduled 10-round bout in one of the featured fights on the pay-per-view, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
The opening 10-rounder on the pay-per-view will feature super middleweight J'Leon Love squaring off with Marco Antonio Periban, Schaefer said.
On Monday, Schaefer announced that former unified junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan (28-3, 19 KOs) will face former welterweight titleholder Luis Collazo (35-5, 18 KOs) in the co-feature.
Broner (27-1, 22 KOs), 24, of Cincinnati, is also a former lightweight and junior lightweight titleholder, but he skipped over the junior welterweight division when he left lightweight behind, immediately going to welterweight and winning a world title from Paulie Malignaggi last June. But in his first defense he met Maidana and was overwhelmed.
"Adrien jumped up all these weight classes and maybe he did it too quickly," Schaefer said. "He is going to try to settle in at 140 and see how he feels, so that is what this fight is about, and also to have great exposure on his 'big brother's' card.
"Should Broner win? He should. But based on what happened in the last fight we will have to see."
Molina (17-1-1, 7 KOs), 28, of Norwalk, Calif., has not fought since Khan stopped him in the 10th round in December 2012.
"With Molina you have a guy who realizes the opportunity he has with this fight," Schaefer said. "To fight on a Mayweather card against a fighter with a big name like Broner, Molina won't need more motivation than that. He realizes what a win can do for him. He'll be ready. This is one of those cases where Broner will be going in as a big favorite but will he be underestimating Molina?
"These are the dangerous fights. I'm referring to the [March 15] Danny Garcia-Mauricio Herrera fight. We saw what happens when you go into a fight too overconfident and a fight becomes much closer than it's supposed to be."
Garcia, the junior welterweight champion, was a huge favorite against Herrera and escaped with a majority decision in a fight many thought Herrera won.
Love (17-0, 10 KOs), 26, of Detroit, is a Mayweather protégé coming off a dominant 10th-round knockout win against Vladine Biosse on Feb. 28. Mayweather has said repeatedly that he believes Love will win a world title, but he will have to get by the rugged and experienced Periban first.
Periban (20-1-1, 13 KOs), 29, of Mexico, is typically in hard-hitting fights, although he is winless in his last two bouts. He lost a majority decision to Sakio Bika challenging for a vacant super middleweight world title last June and followed with a draw against Badou Jack, another Mayweather-promoted fighter, in September.
"Periban is an exciting fighter and he will take it to Love," Schaefer said. "He throws a lot of punches. I think it's a 50-50 fight and entertaining fight to open the telecast with. What Floyd doesn't do is baby his fighters. He puts them in real fights, and with Marco Antonio Periban, he is putting J'Leon Love into a real fight."
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