By David P. Greisman
On paper, the fight between Adrien Broner and Ashley Theophane on April 1 is a mismatch. Broner is a four-division world titleholder who is 31-2 with 23 KOs while Theophane is a 35-year-old veteran whose 39-6-1 record includes several signs that he’s reached his ceiling.
Those defeats include two losses earlier in his career, then a decision dropped to Ali Oubaali in 2008, a split decision loss to Danny Garcia back when Garcia was still a prospect in 2010, a unanimous decision loss to Darren Hamilton in 2012 and a split decision loss to Pablo Cesar Cano in 2013. Since then, he’s rattled off six straight victories, including a unanimous decision over Steve Upsher Chambers last September.
But Theophane’s promoter, Floyd Mayweather, doesn’t just go by the records. He’s shared a ring with Theophane in the gym.
“Ashley, very humble, very hungry, very dedicted fighter. I don’t think this is going to be an easy fight for Adrien,” Mayweather said at a Feb. 29 press conference at a hotel in Washington, D.C., miles from where the bout will be held at the D.C. Armory
“He’s been in there with big punchers before — uh, what’s the kid’s name?” Mayweather said later, turning to longtime Mayweather executive Leonard Ellerbe for help remembering. “Danny Garcia is a very, very big puncher. You go look at the Danny Garcia fight and there’s Ashley, some people say Ashley won the fight. A lot of people say Ashley won the fight. This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I think Ashley is going to go out there and do what he has to do.”
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