By Jake Donovan
Until he’s able to post a few big wins under his belt, Adrien Broner knows he will have to live with the endless comparisons to Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Both fighters won their first belts at 130 before moving up in weight. Mayweather was far more accomplished at the weight, but avoided a disaster in barely getting past Jose Luis Castillo to win the lightweight crown in their first fight.
The parallels are further apparent in this weekend’s headliner in Atlantic City. Broner (24-0, 20KO) moves up in weight to challenge for Antonio DeMarco’s lightweight belt in what will serve as Broner’s sixth straight fight on cable giant HBO.
Broner’s focus is squarely on this weekend’s fight, a dangerous challenge as he takes on arguably the world’s best lightweight in DeMarco (28-2-1, 21KO). Still, the media remains more interested in the future than his present.
Ever the entertainer, Broner elected to feed the kitty.
“I’m pushing forward to (surpass Mayweather),” Broner says, when asked if he aspires to be as great as or greater than one of his current boxing idols. “I know it’s some big shoes to fill and I only wear size 6½.
“But this is a career where you take it a fight at a time. DeMarco is in front of me and I got nothing but tunnel vision right now.”
Saturday’s fight comes on the heels of a tour as 130 lb. titlist, which ended on the scales when Broner was unable to make weight for his hometown (Cincinnati) showcase against Vicente Escobedo in July.
Broner knew at the time that his next fight would be at lightweight, not bothering to get down to the contracted limit. The move resulted in a considerable amount of his $300,000 purse forfeited just to proceed with the fight, which was a one-sided affair until Escobedo quit in five rounds.
DeMarco represents arguably Broner’s greatest challenge to date. A win for the 23-year old lends greater validity to claims of his potential greatness, How high he’s willing to climb isn’t immediately known, though he isn’t yet eager to join in on discussion of a fantasy matchup against the sport’s current pound-for-pound king should their paths ever cross.
“I know Floyd very well. He’s a down to earth guy and I love him. No homo. Floyd is like a big brother to me. If it has to happen, then it has to happen. But he’s like a big brother to me. Who wants to fight their big brother?”
Broner’s hope – for now – is that when all is said and done, such a fight won’t have to happen in order to measure up against boxing’s all-time greats.
“I’m trying to be better than anyone who ever laced up a pair of boxing gloves. That pretty much sums up everything.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox