By Jake Donovan
It was barely a month ago when Ashley Theophane shared a press conference stage with Adrien Broner to formally announce their forthcoming super lightweight title fight, which takes place Friday evening at D.C. Armory in Washington D.C. Broner had plenty to say on that occasion – including his insistence that the main event battle won’t last much longer than nine minutes (equating the scenario to the amount of time it lasted upon “losing his virginity”).
Theophane (39-6-1, 11KOs) has done his best to allow most of Broner’s trash talk to go in one ear and out the other, but all athletes choose to grab select sound bites for bulletin board material. The 13-year fight veteran has remained all business throughout his career, more so during this promotion as he’s played straight man to Broner’s clown prince.
In putting up with his opponent’s shenanigans, all he asks in return is for the defending titlist to honor previous pre-fight promises.
“I want this man to live to his words that he’s going to stop me… by round four,” Theophane told a gathered crowd during Wednesday’s press conference at trendy Hamilton Live restaurant in Washington D.C. “That means he’s not going to run around me, that he’s going to war. That’s what I want, to go to war. We’ve trained for 12 hard rounds.”
The credentials of the 35-year old Theophane – born and raised in London but who now trains out of Las Vegas under the Mayweather Promotions banner – have been called into question ahead of Friday’s bout, which tops a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Spike TV tripleheader. The hard-luck veteran has won six consecutive bouts heading into Friday.
However, his ring ledger doesn’t come close to matching that of Broner, who has collected belts in four weight divisions. His most recent triumph came last October, scoring a 12th round stoppage of former champ Khabib Allakhverdiev to win a 140 lb. belt, while Theophane enters on the heels of a less-celebrated 10-round win over Steven Upsher Chambers.
Given the background, he understandably comes in as a heavy underdog. It’s a role with which the British boxer is comfortable playing, but expects to have to disprove his critics more so than seek out mutual respect from another prizefighter.
Opposing boxers are likely to pass out from holding their breath before waiting on Broner (31-2, 23KOs) to come correct in that regard. On this particular occasion, the man standing on the other side of the ring will just use it as more fuel for his inner fire.
“I’m glad he thinks this is a joke,” Theophane insists. “It’s not a joke. AND THE NEW!”
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox