By Keith Idec
Potential security threats to boxers set to fight Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn have caused organizers of the card to alter the schedule of events leading up to it.
A TMZ.com report Tuesday suggested that a social media beef between Adrien Broner and rapper Tekashi69 were at the root of the schedule changes.
Tekashi69, according to TMZ, is believed to be well-connected to the Bloods, particularly in New York. The rapper, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, is from Brooklyn.
BoxingScene.com has learned that to avoid any possible public conflicts, organizers of the card headlined by Broner decided to cancel an open workout scheduled for Wednesday and moved the site of a press conference set for Thursday. Schedule changes had been confirmed, however, even before promoters became aware of the alarming Broner-Tekashi69 conflict, partially due to animosity among multiple fighters scheduled to fight on Saturday’s card.
The open workout Wednesday was to take place at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. Each of the six fighters set to participate in three bouts broadcast by Showtime on Saturday night – Broner, Jessie Vargas, Jermall Charlo, Hugo Centeno Jr., Gervonta Davis and Jesus Cuellar – were supposed to partake in the open workout.
The press conference initially was to take place Thursday at Highline Ballroom in Manhattan. It has been moved to Barclays Center, which is equipped with metal detectors at each of its entrances.
The weigh-in for Saturday’s card still will take place Friday afternoon at Barclays Center, as planned. The weigh-in will remain open to the public.
The polarizing Broner, a four-division from Cincinnati, is no stranger to danger outside of the ring.
Just about a year ago, Broner told police an unknown assailant fired eight shots into a rented SUV that Broner was driving in Covington, Kentucky, just outside Cincinnati. Broner was arrested that night on an open warrant for disorderly conduct and public intoxication, and police seized that SUV.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. also is a co-promoter of Saturday’s card, along with Lou DiBella and Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions.
Just last week, one of Mayweather’s bodyguards, Greg La Rosa, was shot in the leg during a late-night incident in Atlanta. A spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department confirmed Lo Rosa was part of a three-SUV convoy April 9 that included Mayweather, who was not hurt.
Mayweather wasn’t expected to attend the open workout Wednesday and is not scheduled to attend the press conference Thursday. The retired superstar, whose company promotes Davis, likely will watch the card from ringside Saturday night, though.
The 12-round, 144-pound bout between Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) and Las Vegas’ Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs) is the main event of Showtime’s tripleheader (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
In the co-featured fight, Houston’s Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) and Centeno (26-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC), of Oxnard, California, will meet for the WBC’s interim middleweight title. The three-bout broadcast will begin with Baltimore’s Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) taking on Argentina’s Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) for a version of the WBA’s super featherweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.