By Kieran Mulvaney
Whenever he chooses to step away from the ring – and he has said recently he would like to fight for two more years – Floyd Mayweather is unquestionably nearer the end of his career than the beginning of it. And every time one of boxing’s leading lights – be it Mayweather, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, or Oscar De La Hoya – begins to approach retirement age, anxious eyes inevitably cast around for a possible successor.
There is no shortage of prognosticators who would argue that Mayweather’s replacement is right in front of our eyes in the form of Cincinnati-based super featherweight champion Adrien Broner. The fast hand speed in the ring, the flashy style outside it – the comparisons are natural and obvious.
It’s an evaluation that Broner clearly enjoys.
“I’m one of the youngest in the game, and I’m already getting compared to one of the best who’s on top right now,” he says. “That just makes me feel more great and makes me work harder.”
Of course, he points out, “Floyd is Floyd and Adrien Broner is Adrien Broner.” But he acknowledges Mayweather’s influence on his career from an early age.
“Everybody who ever made it in this sport had somebody that he looked up to,” he says. “They take something from that person and they make it into their own. That’s what I did, since I was about 12. I saw him when he fought Diego Corrales, and after that I was just stuck. Definitely, definitely, I model my style on his. Every fight he has, I learn more and more and more, and I just put it in my own.”
Not surprisingly, while admiring of Miguel Cotto – “Cotto should be in the Hall of Fame, I think so” – he does not think the Puerto Rican will have any success against Mayweather on Saturday night:
“Floyd is great. What can I say? He does things that you can’t teach. People say I have that same talent. Tomorrow, I don’t see it going past 8 rounds. Anything can happen; this is boxing. But I just don’t think it’s going past 8, whatever happens.”
Broner returns to the ring on May 19, fighting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on HBO World Championship Boxing, and, he says, he’s working on the whole package, from fight plan to ring entrance.
“We’re going to dance our way in and dance our way out. That’s what we do,” he says. It is that showmanship, as much as his boxing, that earns the parallels with Mayweather, and like his mentor he embraces that part of his game.
“That’s the thing,” he points out. “I’m not just a professional boxer. I’m an entertainer. I should be in the movies. I should have a camera on me all day. This is what I do.” So there’ll be an Adrien Broner 24/7 soon? “Nah, they gonna call mine 24/8. They need another day for me,” he smiles.
Now, who does that remind you of?