By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Everyone expected Adrien Broner to talk trash to Jessie Vargas during their press conference Thursday.
The emotional former four-division champion saved his harshest words for someone other than his opponent, though. Broner unleashed an unprovoked, vicious verbal attack on Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe.
Broner has a well-documented love-hate relationship with Mayweather, whose company is a co-promoter of the card Broner and Vargas will headline Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Showtime). Mayweather didn’t attend Thursday’s press conference.
“I hope y’all give me credit,” Broner said in response to a question Showtime’s Brian Custer asked while moderating the press conference. “I hope y’all don’t just throw it under the rug, because I’m gonna beat his ass. I hope y’all just give me the credit that I deserve. That’s all I want. And I know all y’all against me. Him, right here, Leonard Ellerbe, against me. They wit this bitch-ass n*gga [Vargas]. Leonard a bitch-ass n*gga, too.”
Ellerbe understandably took exception to Broner’s attack.
“You don’t disrespect me like that,” Ellerbe said.
Broner responded, “Man, shut up. You ain’t wit me. You ain’t wit me. You ain’t wit me.”
Ellerbe explained, “I’m with Mayweather Promotions and this isn’t about me. You guys have got a fight Saturday night.”
That didn’t deter Broner.
“Shut that soft-ass sh*it up,” Broner yelled at Ellerbe. “That’s some soft-ass sh*t. Shut that soft-ass sh*t up. All that soft talking. ‘I know you can do it, man. You’ve got to … You’ve got to …’ Man, shut that soft-ass sh*t up. You ain’t wit me.”
Custer attempted to diffuse the awkward situation by asking Broner another question.
“I’m gonna be victorious, man,” Broner replied. “I know they’re all against me. This what they want – they want AB to go out. They don’t want me to be in nice cars. They don’t want me to be in Rolexes. They don’t want me to be in APs. They don’t want me to be in private jets. They want me to lose this fight, go up under the rug and never be talked about again. They don’t want me to see the top of my pinnacle. But guess what, man? I trained my ass off. I’m not losing to no Jessie Vargas, man. Y’all got me f*cked up.”
Mayweather Promotions is Vargas’ former promoter, but the company’s involvement in Saturday’s card pertains to Gervonta Davis. Baltimore’s Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) will square off against Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) in a 12-round fight for the WBA world super featherweight title on the Broner-Vargas undercard.
The 12-round, 144-pound bout between Cincinnati’s Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) and Las Vegas’ Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs) is the main event of a Showtime tripleheader set to start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. The three-bout broadcast also will include a 12-rounder that’ll pit Houston’s Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) against Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC), of Oxnard, California, for the WBC interim middleweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.