Lem's Corner: Notebook
By Lem Satterfield
ADRIEN BRONER HASN’T SEEN HIS NEWBORN DAUGHTER DUE TO TRAINING
Adrien Broner (31-2, 23 KOs) has a little more motivation to beat Ashley Theophane (39-6-1, 11 KOs) when they meet at the DC Amory on the PBC on Spike on Friday night in Washington D.C.
The recent birth of his second daughter and seventh child earlier this month has given him more motivation to win.
Broner was in the midst of training for Theophane when Aalayah Broner was born on March 7 in his hometown of Cincinnati. Aalayah’s birth is the same day as Broner’s unanimous decision over 140-pound rival John Molina in last year’s PBC opener, and was just 24 days from her father’s scheduled 2016 debut against Theophane.
"It’s tough. But with technology, it’s helped me a little. I can FaceTime and see my baby girl sleeping,” says Broner, a 26-year-old father of two girls and five boys. “It takes the breathe out of me sometimes, because I want to be there to pick her up. But I have to do what daddy’s got to do. I’ve got to make this money."
Broner had a similar experience on February 15 of last year, when his fifth son, Adrieon, was born. Unlike this year, Broner remained close to his native Cincinnati, where he witnessed Adrieon’s birth.
“I try to FaceTime as little as possible because the more I see her the more I want to be home, and right now, I have to focus on this fight and keep myself in the right state of mind. I’m not just doing this for me. This is bigger than me because my babies mean everything,” said Broner, whose oldest child is 8.
“The main thing is tunnel vision and get the job done. After this fight, I’m definitely going to go home and see my daughter for the first time, hold and hug my kids and let them mess my house up and just be the family guy. Right now Daddy’s at work. But after this pain, there’s going to be pleasure.”
GERVONTA DAVIS COMES FULL CIRCLE
Gervonta Davis always has had a big head, literally. It is so huge that an amateur coach nicknamed him “Tank.”
However, it doesn’t translate to his ego.
Ask Davis about his turbulent upbringing in the violent streets of West Baltimore and you’ll get a massive dose of humility.
He was a childhood street fighter who spent time in foster care and group homes before being lured into a local gym by an uncle. He went on to excel in the amateurs where he won the 2012 Golden Gloves.
“There were several guys in my gym that came before me that should have been there before me, but unfortunate things happened,’’ he said. “They were in the wrong place, at wrong time. Thankfully, none of those things happened to me.”
“There’s a lot of bad stuff that comes from Baltimore, but if they see that one person can do it, then the next (one) can do it, and so on and so on. Hopefully, the whole city will come and watch me fight on April 1. The only thing that I can do is to bring light to Baltimore.”
Davis (14-0, 13 KOs) will be after his sixth straight knockout victory against Guillermo Avila (16-5, 13 KOs) on Friday’s undercard of the Adrien Broner-Ashley Theophane WBA junior welterweight championship fight at the D.C. Armory in Washington D.C. on Premier Boxing Champions on Spike (9 p.m. ET/PT).
Davis will return to the site of his professional debut, an 89-second stoppage of Desi Williams in February 2013. Broner was supporting him from ringside that night.
“Adrien Broner was one of the guys who walked me into the ring that night, and I’m glad that he’ll be headlining this card,” said Davis. “Being that I made my pro debut at the D.C. Armory, I’m really glad to be fighting there again and I’m excited to be fighting close to home on April 1. I know lots of people from my city of Baltimore will be coming to support me for this fight.”
ROBERT EASTER CALLS ALGENIS MENDEZ ‘A STATEMENT FIGHT’
Robert Easter Jr. (16-0, 13 KOs) will face former titleholder Algenis Mendez (23-3-1, 12 KOs) in the 10-round 135-pound co-main event of the Adrien Broner-Ashley Theophane match at the DC Armory on PBC on Spike on Friday night (9 p.m. ET/PT).
It’s a long way from the unbeaten fighter’s introduction to boxing that began with tissue paper on his fists and Vaseline on his face.
“I would go to the gym with my father and run around when I was like 4 or 5 years old,’’ said Easter, a 6-foot, 25-year-old lightweight from Toledo, Ohio. “I would come home, go to the bathroom, wrap toilet paper around my hands and put Vaseline on my face and shadowbox for hours. It was natural for me. It was like I was born into boxing.”
Easter’s amateur success led to a near run-in with Broner at a junior Olympics tournament in Cincinnati.
“I was 10 and luckily Adrien was 11 and we were fighting in two different divisions,” said Easter. “I fought first and I stopped my guy, who was actually from Cincinnati. Then I saw this broad shouldered kid with these nasty braids in his hair. He looked like an adult beating up on kids.”
Broner and Easter formed a bond that remains strong today.
Easter is in pursuit of his fifth straight knockout against Mendez, winner of two straight since losing his 130-pound title by unanimous decision to Rances Barthelemy in 2014.
“This is my statement fight with what I’m gonna do to this guy. I feel like I’m supposed to be here. I’m not nervous,” said Easter. “I’m anxious about what I’m going to do. This is going to be a clean stoppage. He has a big head, so I'm not planning on missing at all. It's going to be a short fight. I hope he's prepared to go to sleep. He will go night-night.”
J’LEON LOVE ESCAPES THE STREETS
Super middleweight J’Leon Love (21-1, 11 KOs) thought he would be in jail or dead by now and feels “blessed” to be alive, let alone entering Friday night’s clash with Michael Gbenga (17-24, 20 KOs) on the undercard of the Adrien Broner-Ashley Theophane show on PBC on Spike at the DC Armory in Washington D.C.
“I’m a product of the streets. Everything I know is the streets. The only thing I knew was the hustle. I sold crack, heroin. There was no being a world champion,” said Love, 28, an Inkster, Michigan native now living in Las Vegas.
“From the age of 13 or 14 it was about money, money, money. My older brother is now deceased due to the streets. Now I’ve taken what I learned in the streets into the corporate world.”
Love credits his mother, Venita Love, as well as family members for helping him to escape the city’s crime-ridden streets as a teenager.
“If something happened to my Mom, there would be no J’Leon Love. She’s the blood that runs through my heart,” said Love. “I have a daughter, now, who is 6, and I have to be the right example for her. I really don’t know how to be a father, so I’m still learning on the job.”
Even so, Love has taken partial responsibility for nine of his nieces and nephews left fatherless by the death of his brother in 2013.
“At one point, I was the one person who could do more than anyone else for my brother’s kids, but it’s not just me anymore,’’ he said. “They have a good Mom, and it’s also my aunts, uncles and everybody willing to help. God has it all written out for me, but sometimes, you have to fumble around before you figure that out.”