By Jake Donovan
Given all that surrounds him heading into Friday’s title fight showdown with Ashley Theophane at the D.C. Armory in Washington D.C., few would have been surprised had Adrien Broner opted to skip out on the final pre-fight press conference held Wednesday afternoon.
For a good 90 minutes, it appeared as if the reigning super lightweight titlist was going to be a no-show for the session. Looming ahead of the forthcoming Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Spike TV headliner is an arrest warrant awaiting Broner back home in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 26-year old boxer is being charged for felony assault and aggravated robbery surrounding events that allegedly took place at Madison Bowl in Cincinnati this past January.
Needless to say, media sessions have been kept to a minimum heading into Wednesday’s press conference. Broner was a very late arrival, but on site nonetheless – even if in spite of his own instincts.
“To be honest I didn’t come to talk today. I wasn’t going even gonna come to this bulls*** today,” Broner (31-2, 23KOs) claimed during his time behind the mic.
Of course, he had plenty to say – though not much at all about Friday’s fight with Theophane (39-6-1, 11KOs), which serves as the first defense of his super lightweight title. Having previously claimed alphabet hardware in three weight classes, Broner added the 140 lb. strap to his collection with a 12th round knockout of Khabib Allakhverdiev last October in Cincinnati.
The aforementioned win aired live on Showtime, which – between its flagship station and Pay-Per-View arm – has showcased five of his bouts since 2013. His previous two ring appearances prior to claiming a 140 lb. title came live in primetime on free-to-air NBC.
His upcoming clash with Theophane tops a PBC on Spike TV tripleheader on Friday evening, coming after having spent most of his prime in Saturday night showcases.
“This fight is… Friday? I had to check myself, I’m not used to fighting on Friday nights like Ashley,” Broner mockingly stated, pointing to his challenger’s biggest TV moments coming on the now defunct ESPN2 Friday Night Fight series. “To be honest, I don’t even want to talk about this fight.”
It’s an approach Broner has taken even before his legal troubles came to surface.
The bout itself was born not from demand but the ongoing rivalry between the brash boxer and recently retired former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, whose Mayweather Promotions serves as the event’s lead promoter. Broner’s About Billions Promotions is the co-promoter, with his stablemate Robert Easter Jr. appearing in the co-feature versus former 130 lb. titlist Algenis Mendez.
His original hope when the show was first formed was to extend such rivalry beyond the evening’s headlining act.
“I wish we could have done AB vs. TMT (The Money Team, the oft-used term by Mayweather to describe his boxing family) all the way through the card,” Broner noted. “We got plenty for all them mother***ers (at Mayweather Promotions).”
The comments were met with a playful grin from Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, who has taken the lead throughout the promotion. Noticeably absent from the session was Mayweather himself, despite assurances made to his public relations team that he would be present, as he was during the initial kick-off press conference in late February.
“I’m kind of pissed that Floyd’s not here, but it’s all good,” Broner stated. “I do thank everyone that’s here, even the folks at Hateweather Promotions… oh my bad, Mayweather Promotions.”
Whether attracted to his brash personality or in spite of Broner’s actions, the event is reportedly approaching sold-out status. Andre Johnson of Headbangers Promotions – the third promoter involved in the event and named after Barry Hunter’s Headbangers Gym in D.C. – revealed during the session that barely 200 tickets are left for public sale.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox