WASHINGTON -- Adrien Broner had a very bad week, but he at least finished it with a bright spot: a dominating, ninth-round knockout victory of Ashley Theophane on Friday in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card at the DC Armory.
Broner then called out retired superstar Floyd Mayweather, who was ringside, though Broner has major legal problems to address first, and Mayweather would have to come out of retirement.
Broner was supposed to be making the first defense of the vacant junior welterweight title he won via 12th-round knockout of Khabib Allakhverdiev in October. But Broner registered 140.4 pounds at Thursday's weigh-in, 0.4 over the division limit, and he was stripped of the title.
He never attempted to drop the small amount of weight and drank immediately after getting off the scale. For the fight to go on, Broner agreed to pay $50,000 from his purse to Theophane, who weighed 140 pounds and was eligible to win the vacant belt.
Theophane was never in the fight. With a sold-out crowd of 8,172 cheering him on, Broner, who considers Washington, D.C., a second home, manhandled Theophane.
"I always could do better, but I did what I had to do to get the victory," Broner said. "Everybody who fights me comes with their A game, and he came with his A game, but even that wasn't good enough."
Losing the title on the scales was the least of Broner's problems. There was doubt last weekend that the DC Boxing and Wrestling Commission would license him.
Nicknamed "The Problem," Broner has two outstanding warrants for his arrest in his home state of Ohio for felony assault and aggravated robbery in connection to an incident during the early morning hours of Jan. 21. He is accused of assaulting a man and robbing him of $12,000 at gunpoint outside a bowling alley. Broner, who allegedly lost the money to the victim during a night of high-stakes betting on bowling games, allegedly knocked him unconscious outside the bowling alley after a confrontation and took the money.
Broner was licensed only after commission officials cleared his appearance with Ohio authorities, who have made a deal with Broner, 26, and his attorney that the fighter will return to Cincinnati and turn himself in on Monday. Bail has already been set at $100,000.
"I've been going through a lot this whole week, and to come in here and bottle everything up and stay focused and get it done; I want to give a pat on the back to myself," Broner said.
Broner then called out Mayweather, Theophane's promoter.
They have been close -- Broner often calls him his "big brother" -- but they have also had something of a love-hate relationship of late. Broner called Mayweather Promotions "Hateweather Promotions" this week and vowed to knock out his fighter. Then Mayweather did an interview with a boxing website in which he verbally attacked Broner.
"Somebody I look up to and somebody I admire talked all bad about me," Broner said as Mayweather laughed and clapped ringside. "I don't know how you all like it. I didn't like it. I learn s--- from physical activity, so me and Floyd, we got a feud.
"I'm a man, at the end of the day, and I come from the streets, from the bottom. I come from nothing, and I will never let a man disrespect me. He got to come see me. We got to get it on."
Spike announcer Scott Hanson asked Mayweather for his reaction to Broner's comments after the telecast went off the air. His response was, "I don't play kid games with Adrien Broner."
Inside the ring, Broner, who has won titles in four weight classes, handled his business like a professional against Theophane (39-7-1, 11 KOs), 35, of England, who trains at Mayweather's gym in Las Vegas. Theophane was a significant underdog and got the fight more because of his connection to Mayweather than because of merit. He had never beaten a notable opponent, though he came into the fight having won six fights in a row.
Even so, Broner (32-2, 24 KOs) outclassed him. Broner's hands were much faster than Theophane's, and he made him pay, routinely lining him up for right hands. In the third round, it was a hard left hand that hurt Theophane with a minute to go and sent him into a corner, where Broner teed off with several shots until he managed to escape.
Broner predicted a fourth-round knockout and came close to getting it when he hurt Theophane with a powerful left uppercut and landed a right hand moments later, as Theophane's right eye began to close.
"It wasn't the fourth round, but I knocked his ass out," Broner said.
Broner went after a fading Theophane in the ninth round. He was all over him, and Theophane's legs were visibly weak when Broner nailed him with an overhand right, a left to the body that appeared below the belt and another right that sent Theophane staggering across the ring, all of which caused referee Luis Pabon to wave the fight off at 1 minute, 10 seconds.
The crowd booed loudly at what appeared to be a fast stoppage, but Theophane's legs were gone.
Easter destroys Mendez
Lightweight prospect Robert Easter took a big step up in competition and dominated former junior lightweight titlist Algenis Mendez en route to a booming, one-punch, fifth-round knockout.
Easter (17-0, 14 KOs), 25, of Toledo, Ohio, with a nearly 6-foot frame, towered over Mendez and let his fast hands go throughout the fight. He landed stiff jabs and right uppercuts and was in command all the way.
Easter had big fourth round, in which he rocked Mendez (23-4-1, 12 KOs), 29, who is from the Dominican Republic and fights out Yonkers, New York, with a left hand to the chin and then sent him staggering into the ropes with another left hand.
In the fifth round, Easter hammered Mendez, who was against the ropes, with a clean right hand to the head in the fifth round. Mendez dropped immediately, and though he barely beat the count, he was totally out of it, and referee Billy Johnson waved the fight off at 2 minutes, 43 seconds.
"It felt great," Easter said. "Coming into this fight, I knew I had to keep my range. I knew he was a slick fighter and a former champion. I stepped on the gas, and I knew I was gonna catch him."
In the televised opener, 21-year-old lightweight prospect Gervonta "Tank" Davis (15-0, 14 KOs), a southpaw from Baltimore whom Mayweather regularly raves about, hammered Guillermo Avila (16-6, 13 KOs), 23, of Mexico, in a sixth-round knockout victory.
Davis, who dominated the entire fight, hurt Avila in the third round with a series of clean punches along the ropes, including a straight left hand that opened a nasty cut under his left eye. Davis continued to pound him in the fourth round, teeing off with hard, clean shots, and nearly stopped him in the waning seconds.
Late in the fifth round, Davis landed a flush left hand down the middle that dropped Avila to his backside. He stopped him in the sixth round by crushing Avila along the ropes with a series of flush right uppercuts that rocked his head back and forth before referee Michelle Myers stepped in at 29 seconds.
"I knew he was a strong opponent. He kept bouncing back, and I actually thought he was going to get up at the end too," Davis said. "He is very experienced, and I thank him for taking the fight. He brought out the best in me. There is always room to get better and better, but this is another step toward my dream. I'm happy I could get this victory for my team, Floyd Mayweather and everyone that supports me."