Adrien Broner (above), a former 130-pound champion, is moving up to lightweight to try for a second title in two weight divisions on Nov. 17 against Antonio DeMarco. (AP)
NEW YORK -- Adrien Broner didn't back down from his recent comments that African-American fighters don't get enough credit Wednesday at HBO's midtown headquarters.
The former WBO junior lightweight champion said he was unaware of the backlash stemming from an interview with Ring Magazine, where he intimated that African-American boxers are held to a harsher standard than fighters of other racial backgrounds.
"I was telling the truth," the 23-year-old Broner said. "It’s something that I know. It’s something that I’ve seen. That’s why I work so hard. One mistake and I can fall so far."
Broner, who is moving up to fight WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco on Nov. 17 in Atlantic City, said black fighters don't enjoy the same brand of unconditional support as fighters from other races.
"African-American [fans], we really don’t follow each other in boxing as much as the Hispanics, the Mexicans, the Puerto Ricans," Broner said. "I’m just saying, they support their fighters. It’s so hard for us to support our own because coming up where we come from, they don’t want to see the next man doing better than them. That’s just how it is. I’m so used to it. I really don’t let it get to me."
Broner said he was disappointed with how the comments were packaged.
"It’s like a lot of writers do, they mix it up," Broner said. "The way he wrote it up, he was saying it like I was a racist or something."
Broner (24-0, 20 KOs), who became the youngest American world champion with a third-round knockout of Martin Rodriguez in 2011, has long been considered one of the sport's most promising young stars. He drew a 3.4 rating and 1.4 million live viewers for a July 21 knockout of Vincente Escobedo, HBO's top-rated Boxing After Dark telecast of 2012. When asked what he could do to improve the disconnect between African-American boxers and fight fans, Broner -- no stranger to Mayweather-style showmanship -- was quick to respond.
"We just have to connect with them," he said. "They want to see excitement. They want to laugh. They don’t want to just go in and see a bloodbath boxing match. They want to be entertained and that’s what I give them. I’m not just a professional boxer, I am a professional entertainer too. I love to entertain."
-- Bryan Armen Graham