3 More Rounds

Broner Battles Theophane, Outside Drama

Photo: Esther Lin / Showtime

Photo: Esther Lin / Showtime

Adrien Broner (31-2, 23 KOs) fights Mayweather associate Ashley Theophane (39-6-1, 11 KOs) on Friday night from the D.C. Armory in our nation’s capital (Spike, 9PM EST), where the WBA junior welterweight title will be at stake for Ashley Theohane – Broner lost the title after failing to make the 140-pound limit.

Adrien Broner is also still facing a felony arrest warrant for assault and robbery in his native Ohio. Through some legal jiu-jitsu, he’ll be able to make that Friday fight and further the narrative of a prizefighter whose career is just as much about his personal pursuits, as it is his pugilistic one.

Broner vs. Theophane on paper is a solid fight, but one whose primary public interests rest in the personalities and shifting alliances of those in the ring and those attached to the fighters behind the scenes. Theophane was a plucky gatekeeper plying his craft in the United Kingdom prior to becoming a chief sparring partner and associate of Floyd Mayweather. Broner, of course, spent much of his early career trying to emulate the exploits of Mayweather’s Money “persona”, going as far as referring to Floyd as “Big Brother”.

But, those alliances shifted, and Broner had a public falling out with Mayweather in late-2015 on the medium that is the voice of the modern boxer… social media. Thus, Broner and Theophane became a fight which Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions venture could sell, as both fighters fall under his large purview. And, thus, we’re here…

Photo: Dave Nadkarni / PBC

Photo: Dave Nadkarni / PBC

“I wish we could’ve done the AB (About Billions) vs TMT (The Money Team) thing all the way through the card, because we got somebody for all of them mother*ckers,” stated Broner. “I’m kinda pissed Floyd ain’t here. So I wanna say thank you to About Billions Promotions, Headbangerz Promotions, Hateweather Promotions — I mean, Mayweather Promotions.”

Adrien, one whose never apt to make things boring, took the theatrics a little further, with the now-infamous bowling alley brawl which allegedly occurred and which resulted in him facing felony charges. Boxing in 2016, one supposes.

As for the fight itself, Broner comes in as the heavy favorite. Broner has never been one to beat “A level” opponents, but he’s never had trouble with the “B level” either. A champion caught between good and great. Theophane has yet to prove himself more than a solid, competent technician who caught a break when he struck up a friendship with Floyd Mayweather. Theophane has clear boxing skills, which once gave fits to a young Danny Garcia in an effort that notched Theophane a close split decision loss. But, Ashley lacks a clear punch and has yet to distinguish himself against a top-level opponent the caliber of Adrien Broner.

Broner is a fighter who has shown flashes of brilliance, but whom has frankly eaten his way out of the divisions where he’s most likely to thrive. Adrien was a brilliant junior lightweight who carried speed and devastating power into the ring, which ignited buzz of him being the next heir to the boxing box office throne. However, weight became an issue and Broner infamously ballooned up into the welterweight ranks before being promptly thrashed by Marcos Maidana in late 2013.

Now, settling at 140ish, Broner seeks to reaffirm his past momentum, which again took a hit when he suffered a loss at the hands of Shawn Porter. Broner appears to have the power and class to make easy work of Theophane, but assuming that scenario is also ignoring the obvious outside distractions which have plagued Broner both recently and long-term. Theophane may not be a true top junior welterweight, but he’s certainly deserving of at least a crack at a title and has made issues for more-heralded fighters in the past. The Brit’s defensive prowess and counterpunching exploits are also features which can’t be completely downplayed.

Ultimately, no one will be surprised if Broner stops Theophane and, on the flipside, no one would be aghast if Theophane manages to scrap by a decision victory against a distracted opponent. It’s the narrative of Broner’s career at this present time. Certainly gifted, but heavily flawed.

Leave a Reply