The newest promotional outfit in town has secured its second high profile boxer in less than a week.
Former four-division titlist Adrien Broner has officially signed with BLK Prime Boxing, the platform formally announced during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. Broner joins the upstart outfit just four days after it was confirmed that three-division and reigning WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford (38-0, 29KOs) would headline the company’s first major Pay-Per-View.
“This is a special time for me,” Broner said during the brief announcement. “I’d like to thank God. I’ve had my ups and downs in the sport. God always finds another way to give me another chance to take
I want to give my man a shoutout to my man Desmond. I call him my uncle Desmond, the CEO of BLK Prime. I want to thank him for this opportunity. I think with my brand, with About Billions, with BLK Prime, we’re gonna take over boxing and reach heights that’s never done before.”
The announcement did not include a fight date for Broner. It was confirmed that he will not appear on the December 10 PPV headlined by Crawford in a title defense against David Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17KOs) from CHI Health Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
Cincinnati’s Broner (34-4-1, 24KOs) has not fought since a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over Jovanie Santiago last February 20 in Uncasville, Connecticut. That bout was his first since a loss to Manny Pacquiao in their January 2019 secondary welterweight title fight, which sold roughly 400,000 units atop a Showtime Pay-Per-View telecast.
At his best, Broner long served as one of the sport’s most watched fighters. His polarizing personality drew more attention than his in-ring achievements, where he has won major titles at junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight.
Broner’s last win in a title fight came in October 2015, when he stopped Khabib Allakhverdiev to win the vacant WBA ‘Super’ junior welterweight title in his Cincinnati hometown. His first title defense ended at the scales, when he missed weight ahead of an eventual ninth-round stoppage of Ashley Theophane in April 2016 in Washington, D.C. He is just 2-2-1 in that time, with out-of-the-ring troubles slowing his activity to a crawl.
Broner was due to return to the ring on August 20, where he was to face fellow former titlist Omar Figueroa atop a Showtime tripleheader in Fort Lauderdale, Arizona. The 33-year-old boxer withdrew from the event just prior to fight week, citing mental health concerns which he professes to have since resolved as he has resumed training camp in Florida.
Prior to the signing, BLK Prime—previously only known as a subscription-on-demand service—made waves in securing Crawford as its first signing. The development came in the form of a stunning revelation that Crawford broke off months-long talks with WBA/WBC/IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (28-0, 22KOs) for a superfight initially targeted for November 19 in Las Vegas and then pushed back to February 2023.
The fight is no longer in play and with the grim possibility of never coming back around. For now, Crawford is all in to help BLK Prime Boxing launch its brand and now has a new ride-or-die to assist with the cause.
“It’s all gonna start with my stablemate, now my stablemate, my boy from Nebraska, Terence Crawford,” noted Broner. “I will be in attendance, fresh fly and fancy.”
BLK Prime representatives have teased that more signings are coming in the weeks to follow.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox