Dan Rafael: Hair
February, 23, 2012
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
We’ve got “Tebowing” in the NFL and now we have “The Brush” in boxing.
Junior lightweight titleholder Adrien Broner’s absurd hair brush antics after fights are hilarious to me. It’s the funniest shtick going.
I know some folks hate it and can’t wait to see Broner get drilled because of it, but I’ll give this to the 22-year-old kid: He knows how to get people talking about him.
If you’ve never seen what Broner does it’s pretty simple, and so annoying to some: After winning a fight, but before he begins his post-fight TV interview, he’ll call for his father to brush his hair. Gotta look nice for the cameras right?
It’s become Broner’s thing and he has done it time and again, with a twinkle in his eye that some people just don’t get.
Broner is a showman. He loves to be flashy and stand out. Yes, he loves the attention.
After he destroyed overmatched Vicente Martin Rodriguez in the third round to win a vacant 130-pound belt in November Broner, as usual, called for his hair to be brushed on national television before beginning his HBO interview with Max Kellerman. (I guess he couldn’t do it himself because his gloves were still on.)
Broner (22-0, 18 KOs) makes his first title defense against Eloy Perez (23-0-2, 7 KOs) on Saturday night (HBO, 10 ET/PT) in the opening bout of the “Boxing After Dark” season premiere headlined by the welterweight bout between Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana at the Scottrade Center in Alexander’s native St. Louis.
You can count on seeing The Brush if Broner, the favorite, wins.
The Brush is such a divisive boxing issue (that’s sarcasm, people!) that it was a major topic of conversation during a recent teleconference that Broner and Perez participated in to promote the fight.
“I feel like everything's got to be neat and everything's got to be right before I put on my performance, so I brush my hair,” Broner said, apparently with a straight face. “It's just something that came up. I felt like getting my hair brushed. I feel like I need to be fixed up. So that's why I did it. They loved it, so I'm going to keep doing it for the fans.”
Keep in mind that Broner, following in the rich tradition of Cincinnati boxing, is a fabulously talented young man. He does not need The Brush, but it does keep things lighthearted in a tough business.
“Everybody's got their ways of doing things and for me I've got to stay fresh, fly and flashy,” Broner said. “So I'm going to make sure I'm fresh, fly and flashy in the ring too. I'll never change. This is how I grew up. No matter if I'm in the ring or on the streets this is going to be Adrien Broner, so you either like it or love it. And if you like it or love it doesn't matter, I'm still going to be Adrien Broner. So this is just me.”
Perez is not impressed by The Brush.
“He's the world champ. People look up to him. People look up to the champs and he should be a role model, and you have your dad combing your hair on national television,” Perez said. “Respect your dad. He's the one that gave you life. If I asked my dad to ever comb me he'd smack me across the head. But I'm just a respectful kind of guy, you know? I own that. I own my life. But, Adrien Broner, whatever floats his boat, whatever he does to pump him up, more power to him. And it's been working for him. There's nothing much else to say about it.”
When Broner was asked if he would stick to The Brush or perhaps change his prop, he was quick with his response just as he is quick with his hands.
“Listen, man, if you were in the ring you might be brushing my hair,” he said. “Listen, man, I love it, the fans love it. so that's just me. It's not a gimmick. That's just me. I didn't make this up. I didn't plan it out. This is something I felt like needed to be done, so I just do it to brush my hair.”
The Brush lives.