There usually isn’t a lot of excitement at a Manny Pacquiao news conference as the star fighter typically delivers a laundry list of thank yous to everyone from the arena staff to the promoters, fans, media and God.
Adrien Broner made sure there was something to talk about Wednesday as the fighters took the stage for the final time in advance of Saturday’s WBA welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand.
Near the conclusion of the hour-long parade of dignitaries taking their turns reciting talking points into a microphone at the David Copperfield Theater, Hall of Fame broadcaster Al Bernstein took the stage as host for a question and answer session.
Bernstein asked Pacquiao several questions, before turning his attention to Broner and asking an innocuous question about what a victory would mean to him. That’s when things went off the rails as Broner channelled his inner Big Sean.
“I ain’t even going to lie to you, I don’t (expletive) with you, bro,” Broner said to the startled 68-year-old Las Vegan. “You talk too much (expletive) about me on Twitter and I’m just letting you know. I’m just being real, bro. I already feel like you’re against me. I’d rather have Roy Jones or Stephen A. Smith ask me some questions.
“I don’t (expletive) with you.”
Bernstein was caught off-guard by the outburst and the festivities were hurriedly wrapped up.
“I’ve been doing this 37 years,” he told the Review-Journal after the news conference. “If I had to count the times I’ve had an acrimonious exchange with a boxer, I’m going to say it’s happened maybe four times. My feeling is I’m ahead of the game.”
Bernstein was confused as to the source of the animosity. He says he remembers sending a tweet last year about how Broner may have cost himself world title defenses by moving up in weight for bigger challenges too quickly, but not much beyond that.
“I don’t see that as a personal criticism and it’s not something I repeated over and over,” Bernstein said. “It was one time. I’m not sitting there tweeting about Adrien Broner.”
The exchange isn’t something that’s going to cause Bernstein a great deal of consternation, but he does wish it hadn’t happened.
“My job there is to bring information to people,” he said. “It’s not about me. If me being there created that, I feel bad about it. Not that I feel responsible, but the idea is to give information and that didn’t happen.”
Broner and Pacquiao will meet for Pacquiao’s belt on Saturday. Bernstein will call the action on the pay-per-view broadcast.