By Keith Idec
Adrien Broner took his often-crude comedy routine way beyond the line of common decency Tuesday.
Broner often tells jokes during press conferences, some of which fall flat. While promoting his upcoming pay-per-view fight against Manny Pacquiao, however, the crass Cincinnati native tastelessly made fun of famed trainer Freddie Roach, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
Broner made the uncouth comment during a question-and-answer session with Showtime’s Jim Gray toward the end of a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
Gray asked Pacquiao about bringing back Roach to help train him for the Broner bout, as detailed in the exchange below.
Gray: You’re bringing back Freddie Roach, a Hall-of-Famer.
Broner: Oh, you’re bringing Freddie back?
Gray: You’re bringing back Freddie Roach as a trainer, in your corner. What was the decision?
Pacquiao [to Broner]: You scared?
Broner: Nah, I don’t have nightmares. I don’t have nightmares.
Pacquiao [to Gray]: Freddie is always – [I] include him to my team. So we never lost Freddie. He just, he need to relax sometimes. And now we need Freddie.
Broner: I happy he bringin’ Freddie back.
Broner: Sh*t, so we can get this thing shakin’.
Broner’s obvious, offensive reference to the involuntary tremors Roach endures due to Parkinson’s disease was met mostly with jeers from reporters and others in attendance Tuesday.
The 29-year-old Broner, in a failed attempt to play off what his comment meant, responded to the backlash by asking, “What?”
Pacquiao revealed before a press conference Monday in Manhattan that Roach will rejoin his training team as he prepares to box Broner. Buboy Fernandez, Pacquiao’s childhood friend and a longtime assistant to Roach, served as the Filipino superstar’s head trainer for his last fight, a seventh-round knockout of Lucas Matthysse on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Roach expressed disappointment that Pacquiao didn’t personally inform him that he wouldn’t work with the future Hall-of-Famer for the Matthysse match. The 58-year-old Roach maintained all along, though, that he would welcome a reunion, despite that they hadn’t spoken since the immediate aftermath of Pacquiao’s controversial loss to Jeff Horn in July 2017.
The 39-year-old Pacquiao said Monday that Roach will supervise his training camp once he moves it from the Philippines to Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California, just before Christmas. Fernandez, Pacquiao said, will remain his head trainer.
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) will make the first defense of the WBA world welterweight title he won from Matthysse against Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC). They’ll headline a Showtime Pay-Per-View main event January 19 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.