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Adrien Broner faces Ashley Theophane at DC Armory in Washington, DC

Adrien BronerBy Allan Fox: The April 1st title defense by WBA World light welterweight champion Adrien Broner (31-2, 23 KOs) v Ashley Theophane (39-6-1, 11 KOs) will be taking place on a Friday at The DC Armory in Washington, DC.

With the fight taking place on a Friday night instead of on a Saturday, it gives you an idea of what kind of title defense it’ll be for Broner. It’s difficult to perceive it as a competitive affair because the 35-year-old Theophane hasn’t done much to earn the shot in the traditional manner.

Theophane has won his last opponents, but he hasn’t beaten any contenders. He did lose to a former world title challenger Pablo Cesar Cano by a 10 round split decision in 2013. This is the sane Cano that was beaten by Paulie Malignaggi, Erik Morales, Shane Mosley and Fernando Angulo.

In the co-feature bout on the Broner-Theophane card, undefeated lightweight Robert Easter (16-0, 13 KOs) will be facing former world champion Algenis Mendez (23-3-1, 12 KOs) in a scheduled 12 round bout. This fight might be a better fight than the main event.

It’s unclear what network will be televising the Broner-Theophane fight. It’s such a mismatch, it’s doubtful that Showtime would want to air it. This mean that the fight will likely be shown on Premier Boxing Champions on one of the free network channels like NBC, CBS, Bounce TV, Spike or ESPN. It’s hard to imagine the fight bringing in good ratings because Theophane isn’t a well-known fighter in the United States, and it’s not seen as a competitive match-up.

It’s a voluntary defense for Broner, and he’s hand-picked his own opponent in selecting Theophane, who isn’t wanted all by any of the sanctioning bodies. When a fighter hand-picks his own opponent like Broner has done here, it’s got low ratings written all over it. That’s why Broner needed his management to step in and do the right thing by picking someone more palatable to the U.S. public.

Hopefully, this isn’t the start of something new with Broner as far as him taking on weak opposition.

Broner, 26, showed a slightly combative attitude last October after winning the vacant WBA light welterweight title with a 12th round knockout over Khabib Allakhverdiev. After the fight, Broner said “I’m going to fight whoever I want to fight whenever I want to fight. They say my big brother Floyd Mayweather has a fighter that he thinks can beat me. I think his name is Ashley.”

You can argue that Theophane might be just the beginning of Broner fighting “whoever I want to fight whenever I want to fight.” The problem with Broner fighting whoever he wants to is that he’ll stunt his career if he chooses to continue to fight unranked 2nd tier fighters like Theophane far into the future.

While the World Boxing Association can’t do anything to prevent Broner from hand-picking lower level guys when making his voluntary defenses of his WBA title, he’ll still be required to fight the WBA’s No.1 mandatory contenders every three fights. There’s no getting around that. But if Broner is going to milk his WBA 140lb title, then he can forget about ever becoming a pay-per-view attraction.

That’s the real negative. Broner can get simple paydays and hold onto his WBA title for longer if he chooses weaker opposition, but he’ll miss out on becoming a pay-per-view attraction because the boxing world aren’t excited about seeing mismatches between champions and unknown unranked non-contenders.

Theophane recently beat Steve Upher Chambers and Mahonri Montes. Chambers is the same fighter that the past his best Andre Berto beat in September 2014.

Broner was beaten last year by Shawn Porter by a 12 round decision in June of 2015. Broner fought really poorly in that fight in constantly holding, moving and fouling Porter. It was easily the worst performance of Broner’s career. The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak for Broner. In 2013, Broner was soundly beaten by Marcos Maidana in a fight in which Broner was dropped twice. Broner then came back to beat Carlos Molina, Emmanuel Taylor and John Molina. By the time that Broner had defeated Molina, he was starting to get a little cocky looking. That cockiness was knocked right out of him by Porter. Now it looks like Broner is back to his usual highly confident self after defeating Khabib Allakhverdiev last October.

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