By Jake Donovan
You have to hand it to Adrien Broner. Even in the presence of the man around whom his own routine is shaped, the undefeated super featherweight still finds ways to keep it ‘me-first.’
But then, maybe it’s just one more way that Broner attempts to emulate Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In the buildup to his vacant title fight showdown with Vicente Martin Rodriguez, Broner openly admitted to his disdain for watching fight footage of upcoming opposition.
“When you get in ring, you don't fight the same fight,” explained the 22-year old of his stance on watching fight tape (or fight DVD these days). “You fight everyone different. Watching tape is pointless. If you ask me, I’d rather pop in a tape of Floyd and see what moves I can steal, than watch tape of my opponents. It’s pointless to me.”
Those who even casually observe the game take note of the manner in which Broner carries himself, and how similar it is to that of Mayweather. It was on display again Saturday night in his hometown of Cincinnati, where he had his way with Rodriguez en route to a third round knockout and status as an alphabet titlist in a 130 lb. division that is rapidly heating up.
In attendance for the occasion was none other than Mayweather himself, a treat for boxing junkies considering that the undefeated pound-for-pound king doesn’t make it a habit to attend fights very often. The last trip he made was – he insisted – by accident when he decided to take a ringside seat for Victor Ortiz’ upset win over Andre Berto.
It turned out to be one hell of an accidental turn, as the foundation was immediately laid for Mayweather’s return to the ring after a 16-month absence when he knocked out Ortiz in four rounds this past September.
With rumors abound of who he will next face, Mayweather casually strutted into the U.S. Bank Arena to watch a possible future star in Broner. Both fighters share the same advisor, boxing powerbroker Al Haymon.
The connection perhaps in part explains his decision to travel cross country on Thanksgiving weekend for a night at the fights. Whatever the reason, he sat back and grinned while watching Broner serve up his own two-piece with a biscuit against Rodriguez in a brilliant – albeit brief - performance.
Given his affinity for the future Hall of Famer, one would assume that Broner would be more taken aback by his idol showing up ringside for his first world title win – fittingly enough for a fight at the same weight class in which Mayweather won his first championship.
Instead, Broner acted as if it was Mayweather’s pleasure to see him. Such was the tone in his response when asked during a modified post-fight press conference whether or not he and Floyd shared words following the biggest win of his career.
"Yeah, I talked to him; what you want me to say?” was Broner’s blunt response, as reflected by Boxingscene.com’s Bill Emes who was at ringside (though not the questioning reporter).
Perhaps Broner was insulted by the suggestion that the night was bigger due to Mayweather’s presence, even if that’s not what the questioning reporter had in mind.
Going into the fight, his in-ring rituals – which include having his hair brushed by his father Thomas – stood out as unique, with fans hoping the Cincinnati-bred fighter was more confident than arrogant.
His post-fight interview with HBO color commentator Max Kellerman debunked that theory, as his did his brief remaining comments when addressing the ringside media afterward.
“Hold on, no disrespect to Victor Ortiz, but I'm not a surfer. I don't ride on other peoples waves. I'm happy he (Mayweather) came to see me, but (Saturday night) was about Adrien Broner.”
Never let it be said that Adrien Broner is a hero worshipper – unless of course, he regards himself as his biggest hero.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]