It's been more than six months since Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired from the sport of boxing, but he is somehow still appearing throughout sports media headlines. Despite the irony of making that statement and writing yet another article on the topic, it is worth keeping an eye on the Mayweather's next move. As history tells us, professional boxers (present party especially) have a tendency to unretire, and in the case of Floyd Mayweather, there is an unfortunate reputation of selling the public short. He did it when he came back against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009, did it more recently in the "Fight of the Century" against Manny Pacquiao, and did it once more by closing out his career with Andre Berto. Now he may be doing it again with Adrien Broner.
Last Friday, controversial boxing figure Adrien Broner scored a 9th round TKO victory against the lightly regarded Ashley Theophane on a PBC card aired on the Spike television network. The Cincinnati fighter had a number of things on his mind going into the fight, the first being a run-in with the law a week prior for an alleged assault and robbery, and then losing his WBA strap at the scales during the weigh-in. But what perhaps appeared to frustrate him most was his recent falling-out with former idol and mentor Floyd Mayweather Jr., as Broner had some choice words for him during the post-fight interview.
"Somebody I look up to and somebody I admire talked all bad about me. I don't know how you all like it. I didn't like it. I learn shit from physical activity, so me and Floyd, we got a feud," said Broner. "Now I'm a man at the end of the day, and I come from the streets, the trenches man, from the bottom, from nothing. I'm talking about water and cornflakes. I come from nothing, and I will never let a man disrespect me like that. So he got to see me. I don't care if we sparring or if we fighting, let's get it on."
During the tirade, Mayweather can be seen in the opposite corner laughing and making light of the whole situation. He later gave an interview with his chosen media outlet FightHype about the matter.
"Well today is April Fool's, so that was the biggest joke of the night actually," Mayweather started. "I want him to continue to go out there, fight and win, and what's important for Adrien is not just winning. Life after boxing. That's what's very, very important. I can remember when I was young, I never had a Floyd Mayweather to steer me the right way. Don't be like me Adrien. Be better than me."
While much of the response resonates with the overused Mayweather sentiment of "wishing nothing but the best" for his critics, some of his words are actually sound practical advice. Life after boxing is important, and being better than Mayweather outside the ring (while maybe not in the way Mayweather meant it) is also important. But would Broner actually follow the suggestion? Not likely.
The falling-out of the pair has been building up for some time now. The first signs were when Mayweather made subtle jabs at Broner's training discipline and gym conduct after his loss to Marcos Maidana, and then later against Shawn Porter. When Broner's most recent outing against Theophane was in the works (Theophane is also a fighter promoted by Mayweather), he took a shot at the promotional company by saying "Fuck the Money Team". This resulted in in Mayweather telling Broner he "needed to grow up," which subsequently led to a partially sad/partially comedic 10-min YouTube response from Broner .
The two appeared to patch things up over the following months until Broner made a scene at a local Walmart this last March by throwing change into the air and walking away, a distasteful attempt at flaunting his questionable wealth, akin to when he flushed 20-dollar bills down a toilet. When Mayweather was later asked his opinion on the matter, he responded by saying that Broner "has a lot to learn" and actually pointed out some very accurate logical contradictions in the whole fiasco.
"The person gave him his change back, I guess he had bought something and he threw the money or the change up in the air like, 'Why are you giving me change back? You don't know who I am?' Actually, a lot of people in the store didn't know who he was. They was looking like, 'Who are you?' And then, it's so crazy, if you're at such a high status and you reached a certain level, you're supposed to have people going to Walmart for you. You go to places like Walmart to save money."
That then resulted in Broner "accidentally" calling Mayweather Promotions "Hateweather Promotions" during the final press conference against Theophane, which in turn really set Mayweather off, who in an interview shortly after, dug into Broner at all angles, from his "About Billions" persona to questioning the legitimacy of his career, then finally calling him a "snake" to close things off. This pretty much was what inspired the challenged issues by Broner last weekend and brings us up to date.
So while much of this is beginning to feel like a drawn-out soap opera saga between two athletes, there is some actual importance to all of this. Broner's fight against Theophane brought in a viewership of 1,013,000 viewers with an average of 873,000 viewers during the entire broadcast, which is a record for the PBC series on Spike. That is all to say that despite the absence of any real sporting significance to the fight, people still tuned in. And Adrien Broner is not a very good fighter. He's flat-footed, throws his punches wide, and doesn't know how to effectively use the shoulder-roll defense that his former mentor employs. He is basically a slower and less effective imitation of Floyd Mayweather Jr., and an imitation will always fall short of the real thing. Athletically speaking, a potential showdown between the two would be one of the biggest mismatches in boxing, and probably be one of the only instances where I'd use the Mayweather sentiment of being "easy work" for the former champ. However, given the storyline and the exchange of words thus far, the fight would probably sell.
As mentioned earlier, it's unclear as to whether or not Mayweather will remain retired. He seemed pretty adamant about calling it quits after beating Ricky Hatton in 2007, but came back two years later to reap hundreds of millions of dollars from the sport of boxing. There is still a lot of money on the table for Floyd Mayweather, and a fight against Adrien Broner would certainly fit the high-paying low-risk fights that he is accustomed to taking. I don't think, or at least hope, Mayweather would succumb to such a fight for the sole sake of making money, but then again, I never would have thought that Andre Berto would be his last opponent in the ring either.
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