By Jake Donovan, photos by Stephanie Trapp
It's safe to assume the first quarter of 2016 hasn't been one for Adrien Broner's personal time capsule.
The defending super lightweight titlist came in just above the 140 lb. super lightweight limit for his title defense versus England's Ashley Theophane. The visiting challenger came in right at the divisional mark for their headlining bout Friday evening at D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C., with Spike TV to televise (Friday, 9:00 p.m. ET) as part of its Premier Boxing Champions series.
Broner had already stripped down to his birthday suit prior to his first attempt at making weight, coming in at 140.4 lbs. The 26-year old from Cincinnati - who has spent the past two months training at HeadBangers Gym, where Thursday's weigh-in ceremony was held - has two hours to drop 0.4 lbs. in order to avoid having to vacate his title.
(UPDATE: Broner has vacated the title in lieu of shedding the extra weight. The belt is now at stake only for Theophane, who becomes the new champ with a win. Should Broner emerge victorious, the belt remains vacant).
On its own, it's not a major deal - especially if Broner (31-2, 23KOs) comes correct in the next two hours. However, it's the latest occurrence in a long string of antics surrounding the otherwise talented boxer who has captured major titles in four weight classes. The main event portion of the weigh-in was moved from the start of the session to the tail end, a move that is often made when a major fighter is struggling to make weight.
The entire promotion has been clouded by Broner's legal troubles, as a pair of arrest warrants have been issued by Hamilton County law enforcement officials. The charges stem from an incident that allegedly took place in the wee hours of the morning on January 21 at Madison Bowl in Cincinnati. Broner is being charged with felony assault and aggravated robbery.
A condition for his even being licensed by the DC Boxing & Wrestling Commission for this weekend's show was a legally sworn commitment to surrender himself to authorities upon his return home to Cincinnati following Friday's bout. Bail has already been set at $100,000, of which Broner will be required to post the standard 10% bond.
As it pertains to boxing, Friday marks the first defense of the super lightweight belt he acquired in a 12th round knockout of Khabib Allakhverdiev at home in Cincinnati last October. His previous title reigns came at super featherweight, lightweight and welterweight - though only making a grand total of two successful defenses between the three reigns.
Broner's super featherweight title reign began and ended at home - winning the belt in Nov. '11 at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati and making one successful defense three months later in St. Louis. He was stripped of the title prior to his July '12 clash with Vicente Escobedo in Cincinnati, coming in well over the 130 lb. limit and with the fight threatening to be cancelled until his opponent was financially motivated to proceed with the non-title fight.
His lightweight run was emphatic yet brief, making one defense before moving all the way up to welterweight. He captured a 147 lb. title in a 12-round win over Paul Malignaggi in June '13. He conceded the crown to Marcos Maidana six months later in his first career loss before dropping down to 140 lbs., which he previously skipped over in pursuit of bigger paydays at welterweight.
Two of his three fights in 2015 saw scale issues, coming in at 141 lbs. for his eventual win over John Molina Jr., which aired live on NBC in primetime as part of the official launch of the PBC model. It was later learned that the 140-pound bout came with a contractual allowance of +/- one pound. However, his weight struggles caught up to him, drying out to barely make weight for an eventual 12-round loss to Shawn Porter last June.
He has since rebounded with the aforementioned win over Allakhverdiev, only for a world of problems to have since surfaced.
Theophane (39-6-1, 11KOs) enters the first title fight of his hard-luck career. Regardless of whether Broner comes back to make weight or is forced to vacate his title, the belt will still be on the line for the visiting Brit, due to his having come in at 140 lbs.
Adrien Broner, 140.4 lbs.* vs. Ashley Theophane, 140 lbs. - 12 rds, super lightweight
Robert Easter Jr 133 lbs. vs. Algenis Mendez 134.2 lbs. - 10 rds, lightweight
Gervonta Davis 131.2 lbs. vs. Guillermo Avila 130.6 lbs. - 10 rds, super featherweight
J’Leon Love 169.8 lbs. vs. Michael Gbenga 169.6 lbs. - 10 rds, super middleweight
Anthony Peterson 137.8 lbs. vs. Samuel Kotey Neequaye 138.6 lbs. - 10 rds, lightweight
Demond Nicholson 164 lbs. vs. Joshua Okine 160.4 lbs. - 8 rds, super middleweight
Kareem Martin 147 lbs. vs. Somner Martin 147.2 lbs. - 6 rds, welterweight
Shyngyskhan Tazhibay, 148 lbs. vs. Riarus Dudley, 147.2 lbs. lbs. - 4 rds, welterweight
* Broner failed to lose 0.4 lbs and was stripped of WBA belt.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox