Junior welterweight titleholder Adrien Broner has often called Floyd Mayweather his big brother.
They’ve had a close relationship in recent years, even though they have also had their differences from time to time. But Broner looks up to Mayweather, and the retired former pound-for-pound king has been a big Broner advocate.
However, they will be on opposite sides when Broner defends his 140-pound belt for the first time against Mayweather Promotions fighter Ashley Theophane in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card on April 1 (Spike, 9 p.m. ET) at the DC Armory in Washington.
"A lot of people told me I wouldn't be here. I come from nothing. Like cereal and water, nothing,” Broner said at a news conference to promote the fight on Monday at a downtown Washington hotel. “I'm very fortunate to have someone like Floyd to look up to. I don't want to be like Floyd though. I don't want to be like any man. I admire him and respect him, but I'm creating my legacy.
"At the end of the day, Floyd and Ashley aren't on my side. I'm against them. They're coming to dethrone me. They're my enemy right now and I'm going to beat Ashley down.”
Broner (31-2, 23 KOs), 26, of Cincinnati, claimed a vacant junior welterweight belt by 12th-round knockout of Khabib Allakhverdiev on Oct. 3 in Cincinnati in a fight Broner dominated. He will be fighting in Washington, a city where often trains and calls a second home.
He said he intends to give a lights-out performance.
"This is really a big fight for me. I know that Ashley Theophane is going to come to fight, because he has something to prove,” Broner said. “He's going to try to take my world title. This training camp, I've really been perfecting my craft. This is going to be the best performance of my career. It's going to be a highlight-reel performance. I'm not coming to just get a win.
"This fight isn't going four rounds. That's too many. This is going to be quick. I'm not playing. There's nothing Floyd can teach [Theophane]. At the end of the day, it all goes out the window. The trainers and entourage can't help. They can't help Ashley Theophane. Big brother Floyd Mayweather is gone, everyone else is too boring, so I'm taking over the sport."
Theophane (39-6-1, 11 KOs), 35, of England, is getting a title shot despite never having beaten a top opponent. His connection to Mayweather undoubtedly greased the wheels for him to get the shot.
"There are many different things we're working on to neutralize Broner and keep up with his quickness,” Theophane said at the media conference. “I've sparred with a lot of young guys who imitate him and I believe I can match him. He does a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. Adrien Broner can be beat and he has been. We're working hard. At the end of the day this is my career-defining fight.
"We all turn pro to become a world champion. I've been in the gym for months, working on things and staying in shape. I've watched Adrien Broner in the past. I was at the John Molina and Shawn Porter fights and I know he's got talent. But he can be beat. He's vulnerable, very vulnerable.”
Theophane said he not only wants to win for himself but also for Mayweather to repay him for taking him under his wing.
"I'm representing Floyd Mayweather. He has my back and he believes in me,” Theophane said. “He believes I can win and that's extra motivation. It's been a long journey as a professional and I have to thank Floyd for giving me this chance.”
Mayweather presided over the media conference and added, “Adrien is a very young and explosive fighter. He's a force in boxing right now. Ashley Theophane is a guy that came from the U.K. with a dream. His dream was to be world champion one day. Same dream I had. He's a very humble, hungry and dedicated fighter.
“I don't think this is going to be an easy fight for Adrien. I'll tell both guys to push themselves to the limit and give fans what they want to see.”