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Broner insists ‘no beef’ between him and Mayweather

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WASHINGTON (AP) Adrien Broner isn’t giving his next opponent much respect and won’t discuss recently surfacing felony charges. His stance on Floyd Mayweather is harder to pin down.

Two days before he defends his WBA super lightweight title against Ashley Theophane, Broner griped that Mayweather missed the press conference for a fight he helped organize, and mockingly referred to “Hateweather Promotions.”

Later, though, Broner told a scrum of reporters that the link between him and the retired champion isn’t all that frayed.

“To be honest, ain’t no beef between me and Floyd,” Broner said. “I’d do this in front of Floyd. When we’re by ourselves, I talk (stuff) about Floyd. I talk (stuff) to Floyd. But, you know, me up there saying, `Hateweather Promotions,’ I’m just having fun. I hope ain’t nobody take it personally.”

Broner, 26, has drawn comparisons to the retired 39-year-old Mayweather throughout his career for his counterpunching style and bad boy image.

In the ring, he has won world championships in four weight classes, though at 34-2-1 (23 KOs), he lacks Mayweather’s unblemished record.

Outside of it, reports surfaced last week that Broner is wanted in his native Cincinnati for assault and aggravated robbery. Broner declined to comment on the issue. Because the warrants reportedly only apply in Ohio, the fight is expected to go on as scheduled.

Mayweather and Broner have traded barbs since last fall after Broner launched his own About Billions Promotions last summer.

It has grown more heated with February’s announcement of the fight against Theorphane (39-6-1), a Mayweather Promotions boxer.

“It’s obvious that we wear our feelings on our sleeves,” Broner said. “Anything that we feel or anything that we say about each other, we don’t care who hears it. Because at the end of the day, it’s not going to break up our relationship.”

The British Theophane, 35, has won six straight bouts and will try for the victory of his career at the DC Armory in a fight airing on Spike’s Premier Boxing Champions series.

Broner showed no deference to Theophane or general standards of decorum on Wednesday, fumbling with his phone on stage during Theophane’s remarks, before promising a knockout and blasting the journeyman’s lack of stardom.

“I ain’t used to fighting on Friday,” Broner said. “He probably is, on FOX and Friday Night Fights, but I ain’t used to that. So as long as my payday is right, we’re good.”

He also defended his outsized antics, saying quieter black fighters risk being underrated compared to white or Hispanic fighters. And while trying to mend fences with Mayweather, he took a shot at his former managers, Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.

“They’re there for Mexican fighters,” Broner said. “I have nothing against that because Mexicans (are) almost who run boxing. That’s the biggest population, and they watch boxing. I love Mexicans, I have nothing against Mexicans, but at the same time, promote the African-American fighters the same way you promote your Mexicans.”

‘It’s about time’: Trump pardons late boxer Jack Johnson

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WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump on Thursday granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, clearing Jack Johnson’s name more than 100 years after what many see as his racially-charged conviction.

“It’s my honor to do it. It’s about time,” Trump said during an Oval Office ceremony, where he was joined by boxer Lennox Lewis and actor Sylvester Stallone, who has drawn awareness to Johnson’s cause.

Trump said Johnson had served 10 months in prison for what many view as a racially-motivated injustice and described his decision as an effort “to correct a wrong in our history.”

“He represented something that was both very beautiful and very terrible at the same time,” Trump said.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes, for traveling with his white girlfriend.

Trump had said previously that Stallone had brought Johnson’s story to his attention in a phone call.

“His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” Trump tweeted in April. “Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”

Johnson is a legendary figure in boxing and crossed over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, dramas and documentaries following the civil rights era.

He died in 1946. His great-great niece has pressed Trump for a posthumous pardon, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson’s case for years.

The son of former slaves, Johnson defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title in 1908 at a time when blacks and whites rarely entered the same ring. He then mowed down a series of “great white hopes,” culminating in 1910 with the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries.

McCain previously told The Associated Press that Johnson “was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago.”

“Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a stain on our national honor,” McCain has said.

Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War, and Bush pardoned Charles Winters, an American volunteer in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Acts in 1949.

Linda E. Haywood, the great-great niece, wanted Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, to pardon Johnson, but Justice Department policy says “processing posthumous pardon petitions is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on the pardon and commutation requests of living persons.”

The Justice Department makes decisions on potential pardons through an application process and typically makes recommendations to the president. The general DOJ policy is to not accept applications for posthumous pardons for federal convictions, according to the department’s website. But Trump has shown a willingness to work around the DOJ process in the past.

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

Lomachenko stops Linares in 10th, wins lightweight title

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NEW YORK (AP) Vasiliy Lomachenko stopped Jorge Linares in the 10th round of their lightweight championship fight Saturday night, winning a title in his third weight class in just his 12th pro bout.

Lomachenko landed a hard left to the body during a flurry of precision punches that sent Linares went to a knee. Linares finally got up just as the count was reaching 10 but referee Ricky Gonzalez called an end to the fight at 2:08 of the round.

Linares knocked down Lomachenko in the sixth and the fight was all even after nine rounds before Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) put an overpowering end to his first fight at 135 pounds, adding that title to his belts at 126 and 130 pounds.

Linares (44-4, 27 KOs) hadn’t lost since 2012 and used his size advantage to do some damage, but in the end Lomachenko did more in an exciting Madison Square Garden match.

The fighter widely known as Vasyl said this week he prefers to use Vasiliy, his legal name. And now he can be called lightweight champion after picking up the WBA’s version of the belt in front of a crowd of 10,429 that chanted “Loma! Loma!” and waved blue and gold flags for much of the night.

It was Lomachenko’s eighth straight victory by stoppage, but this one was much tougher than a recent stretch of clinics in which his last four fights ended when his opponents’ corners wouldn’t let them take more punishment from the Ukrainian.

Lomachenko had joked he should be called “no mas Chenko” for his habit of making opponents quit, but Linares made him earn this victory.

The Venezuelan was on a 13-fight winning streak and was giving the two-time Olympic gold medalist the test he wanted, one that he said would bring out the best in what many already consider the most skilled fighter in the world.

Each fighter was ahead 86-84 on a judge’s card, while Julie Lederman had it 85-all after nine rounds.

Lomachenko said Thursday he needed to finally be put in danger to show his complete array of skills, and then on display in the 10th round with a series of shots that Linares couldn’t defend, especially the left to his midsection that took the biggest toll.

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