By Keith Idec
Two weeks after admitting Adrien Broner’s failure to knock out Paulie Malignaggi disappointed him, Floyd Mayweather Jr. made it clear how he feels about Broner being carefully constructed into a star.
“With Broner, I think they’re moving him slow,” Mayweather said while he was a guest Monday with DJ Whoo Kid. “They’re taking their time. They know what opponents to choose for him. But that was a great victory for him against Malignaggi. But Malignaggi, he’s a hell of a boxer. I like Broner. That’s my little brother. I like Broner, a young champion on the rise.”
After some back and forth with the host, Mayweather added, “But Broner’s a great young guy. He has a lot to learn. He has a lot to learn, but he’s a great young kid. I’m a veteran. I’ve been around the sport 17 years, dominating.”
The unbeaten Broner became a three-division champion at the age of 23 when the Cincinnati native defeated Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KOs) by split decision in their 12-round fight for the WBA welterweight title June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Mayweather, considered by Broner to be a “big brother” and “mentor,” watched the fight from a ringside seat. Two days later, however, Mayweather surprised some reporters and boxing observers when he criticized Broner’s performance during the first stop on a 10-city, nine-day tour to promote his Sept. 14 fight against Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs).
“I’m proud of Adrien Broner’s victory,” Mayweather told reporters in a ballroom in a Times Square hotel June 24. “There’s a lot of things he still has to learn. Me personally, I feel that he should’ve got the knockout.”
The 36-year-old Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) and Broner (27-0, 22 KOs) have repeatedly stated that they won’t even consider fighting each other, despite that they’re both undefeated welterweight champions. Mayweather wasn’t subtle, though, in assessing the ascension of a developing champion that some might consider competition for boxing’s pound-for-pound king.
“I just feel like with my career, a lot of times they try to compare the two,” Mayweather said. “I love the kid, but you’ve got to realize, just look at my career. I already fought a guy that was so crafty in Genaro Hernandez at 21 years old. I feel like in the sport of boxing now, a lot of these guys are fighting guys that’s handpicked, which I understand because this is a business, also.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.