Adrien Broner has had some… let’s say “trouble” in the build-up to his mismatch against Ashley Theophane Friday on Spike. There was the court case he caught for an alleged bowling alley assault and robbery, and then he didn’t bother making the junior welterweight limit. On top of it all he scooped his usual unnecessary petulance, and there was the resulting heat.
So it’s hard to say how much credit he gets for being KOing Theophane. On one hand, he looked better than he had in some time; on the other hand, he looked that way against a lesser opponent. On one hand, he stopped someone who’d never been stopped; on the other hand, it was a debatable stoppage. On one hand, he got the job done; on the other hand, it took him nine rounds. That’s like eight hands, which is more than a fight like this deserved.
Broner looked better than usual in part because he’s struggled against opponents who put pressure on him. When you attack Broner, he waits and waits and waits until you’re done, and pot shots after. Theophane didn’t. Broner took his time for several rounds, only suffering a slip while on the attack in the 2nd, then began to hurt Theophane in the 4th. Around the 6th his work rate dropped off and Theophane started to be competitive, only for Broner to re-take the momentum in the 8th.
In the 9th, a big right hand from Broner wobbled Theophane. He chased Theophane around for a bit, who was still unsteady, and looked to Pabon after a low blow, whereupon Pabon chose that moment to stop things. Theophane wasn’t in great shape so it’s not a detestable call, but knowing Pabon like we do, it’s also rational to reckon it as his usual clownish incompetence.
After the bout, Broner called out Theophane promoter Floyd Mayweather, his former mentor turned critic, with whom he could make an especially tasteless two-way promotion; Mayweather clapped and laughed and hasn’t mentioned Broner as a potential foe should he return to the ring, instead emphasizing Danny Garcia. Also after the bout, Spike aired an episode of “Cops,” which might as well be a documentary about Broner’s career when he’s not mouthing off or having mixed results with his prodigious physical gifts. What version of Broner we get next — and whether his legal woes will catch up to him before there’s a “next” — is anyone’s guess.
(On the undercard, lightweight prospect Robert Easter, Jr. knocked out Algenis Mendez with a big right hand, and fellow lightweight prospect Gervonta Davis took out Guillermo Avila with a fight-ending flurry.)