The first thing that you have to understand about Adrien Broner, is that he idolized Floyd Mayweather in a way not unlike how Kobe Bryant did Micheal Jordan. But the thing about Bryant is that– lost in his fanatical admiration of Jordan, he believed (no matter how preposterous) that he was better than Jordan, and went out of his way to prove that.
I remember being a young jerk catching the 1998 NBA All-Star game and being blown away by how an 18 year-old Kobe challenged a 35 year-old Jordan with his own style. Through his mannerisms, or, the way he talked, walked, acted, played basketball, or even chewed gum- he reminded you of Jordan in a way that let you know that he’d studied Jordan intensely.
But make no mistake about it, Kobe Bryant was very much his own man. He never wore a pair of Jordan’s or drank Gatorade. He wanted to carve out his own legend, going so far as arrogantly changing his jersey #8 to #24 – or, a notch better than Jordan.
Adrien Broner will never (hold up, lemme repeat), NEVER come close to being better than the all-time great Mayweather. He won’t even be Kobe Bryant to Floyd’s Jordan if you will. But he is his own man. And though his style has drawn comparison to Floyd’s (particularly earlier in Broner’s career), it had nothing to do with Floyd’s tutelage or guidance. Broner wasn’t taken under Mayweather’s wing like his April 1 opponent Ashley Theophane. In fact, it was he who caught Floyd’s attention because of his incredible belief in himself while mimicking his style with a larger-than-life personality.
The first time I saw Adrien Broner was actually in Las Vegas at the Ricky Hatton vs. Paulie Malignaggi fight in November 2008 on the undercard. He was a virtual Floyd clone and really stood out that night. There was no TMT at that time, and Mayweather was not supporting him- or even there. He was a regular, everyday Joe gym member of Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym and talked (and fought) his way onto the undercard of Manny Pacquiao vs. Oscar de la hoya in December 2008.
Truth be told, he didn’t really get Mayweather’s attention until he stopped Vincente Martin Rodriguez via 3rd round TKO in November 2011 to win the WBO super featherweight championship, his first world title. This was on the Canelo Alvarez vs. Kermit Cintron undercard, after which, Mayweather took Broner ‘under his wing’ and began referring to him as his “Lil Brother’. But he’s never been a TMT product, created his own brand (ABPromotions), and came up with the ridiculously outrageous moniker for himself “About Billions”.
After being dropped and thrashed by Marcos Maidana– a man Mayweather encouraged him not to fight (and struggled with mightily himself we might add, needing two 2014 fights to hurdle the B fighter “Chino”), ‘The Problem’ was out-worked by Shawn Porter in June 2015. Broner (31-2, 23KO’s) immediately rebounded to win the WBA super lightweight title vacated by Danny Garcia, beating Khabib Allakhverdiev via UD this past October.
Instead of being genuinely happy for him, ‘Money’ (his big brother mind you), basically took a dump on this win, telling the press that ‘The Problem’ beat a mediocre fighter in Allakhverdiev – who himself had been coming off of a loss – and that ‘he wouldn’t be proud of winning a title that way’. I guess Floyd was proud of leaving the sport 49-0 with a boring win over an Andre Berto? Same Berto who didn’t deserve a flu shot last year, let alone a title shot against Mayweather.
So I had nothing but respect for Broner when he destroyed Mayweather in this video of unscripted truth. Broner is highly emotional in the 10 minute snapchat-like video mugging of Floyd, because he should be. All of which brings us to Washington D.C. and the Tuesday press conference to promote his April 1 bout with TMT fighter Ashley Theophane. Real Combat Media was on hand to record video and caught a classic Broner on the podium, going in heavy on TMT and Mayweather himself.
“I respect Floyd. I respect Nate… I respect Ashley. But at the end of the day- they’re not on my motherf****** side,” dropped Broner. “They’re not coming up here saying ABPromotions. So, I gotta say “F*** them guys”. Because right now, they’re coming to dethrone me. And for me to go into the fight like they’re my friends? No. They’re my enemies right now.”
‘The Problem’ wasn’t done.
“That’s what it is. Point blank- period. Hell yea, I’m gonna beat the sh** out of Ashley.” said Broner, hilariously pointing back at Theophane while talking. “I got respect for Nate [Jones]. If Nate need anything, he know he can call me and get it. I’ll send it right to him. But at the end of the day, he training Ashley to beat me, so f*** Nate too right now. You feel me? And that’s just what it is.”
Floyd, in totally suspect attire (some sort of futuristic, Maroon 5, bull-riding gear and boots bound for MTV’s “Ridiculousness”), really didn’t have anything to say worth repeating after Broner, well, undressed him.
Its also the truth that Floyd is using Broner to get his fighter (Theophane) a title shot and build up the TMT brand. That’s business, but ‘The Problem’ makes change out of ‘Money’ everytime he talks about him. What’s even more admirable about what Broner is doing by taking on Theophane, is he’s risking his very career, for a loss to the unknown Theophane will essentially finish him in boxing. With a victory, he just may be able to secure a showdown with WBO super lightweight boss Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford in June, as Top Rank’s Don Bob Arum has expressed interest to bitter rival Al Haymon.
Take a bow Adrien Broner. If anything, the streets know you’re a true champion for this.