COMMENTARY | Despite co-starring in amusingly vacuous videos and exchanging a steady sprinkling of loving words, there seems to be a growing tension between Floyd Mayweather and Adrien Broner. And while both have said that a Mayweather-Broner bout is not ever going to happen, there's no denying that the mutual admiration society founded by "Baby Bro" and "Big Bro" is not what it used to be.
The change began to take place right around the Broner-Malignaggi fight in June, when Broner got his first real taste of headlining a major event and Mayweather, who watched from ringside, leveled his first criticism of the 23-year-old star.
When asked during the Showtime telecast, Mayweather offered honest criticism of Broner's technique and overall performance. Two days later, Mayweather repeated his assessment.
"I'm proud of Adrien Broner's victory," Mayweather told reporters. "There's a lot of things he still has to learn. Me personally, I feel that he should've got the knockout…He was flat-footed.
"I just feel like with my career, a lot of times they try to compare the two," Mayweather continued. "I love the kid, but you've got to realize, just look at my career. I already fought a guy that was so crafty in Genaro Hernandez at 21 years old. I feel like in the sport of boxing now, a lot of these guys are fighting guys that's handpicked, which I understand because this is a business, also."
It was an honest, but odd public truth told by someone not exactly known for his candor when it comes to his own world and close circle of allies. It's not out of the question that, maybe, Mayweather opted to give Broner a bit of a public dressing down. Broner's already-swollen ego had grown especially large during the entire Malignaggi fight experience and led him to some grandiose bragging and even a thing or two that could've been construed as a challenge to his five-division champ "Big Bro."
"My big brother got his legacy, I got mine," Broner said at a press function days before the Malignaggi fight when asked about the possibility of facing Mayweather. "I want to see him retire undefeated. I don't want to hand him a loss."
Was that a subtle challenge to Mayweather's dominance? Did Mayweather even see that quote?
Whatever the case, the Malignaggi affair saw the debut of a more critical-minded "Money." Prior to then, everything had been wonderful, merry, and bright when it came to boxing's biggest bromance.
"With Broner, I think they're moving him slow," Mayweather recently told DJ Whoo Kid on Siriuss/XM radio. "They're taking their time. They know what opponents to choose for him. But that was a great victory for him against Malignaggi… I like Broner. That's my little brother. I like Broner, a young champion on the rise."
It's noticeable now that Mayweather bristles a bit when asked about Broner and has now taken to shooting down comparisons rather than foster them, even going so far as to make Karate Kid movie references, assuming the role of Mr. Miyagi to Broner's Danielsan.
As of right now, Broner has bit his tongue and has refrained from answering any of the criticisms. But quiet, dignified restraint is not exactly in line with Broner's personality profile.
At some point, ego will take over--- especially if Mayweather looks less than stellar against Saul Alvarez on September 14--- and "Danielsan" may choose to take a chunk out of a declining Mr. Miyagi. After all, that is the nature of the boxing business as the young of the sport become reigning elite by feasting on the carcasses of yesterday's superstars.
Both may publicly deny any desire to mix it up or any desire to even think of it, but the time may come when Mayweather is the only obstacle between Broner and the level of stardom he desperately craves.
It may not happen now or within the next couple of fights, but when these two massive egos finally collide, nobody--- not even adviser to both, the mega-powerful Al Haymon--- will be able to stop the master and the pupil from tearing into one another.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sources: YouTube, ESPN
- Sports & Recreation
- Adrien Broner
- Floyd Mayweather