Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia clash in the Barclays Center on July 29 in a crossroads affair. Broner is desperate to keep his faltering career on track and secure more lucrative paydays from PBC paymaster Al Haymon. Garcia, meanwhile, is now working loosely with Richard Schaefer and sees this second phase of his career as an opportunity to make some big money.
Broner hit out at media recently for making him the betting and predictions underdog for the fight. But, given his history of not making weight and general unpredictability before, during and after fights, plus his constant brushes with the law, it’s easy to see why Garcia is the safer option.
It’s hard to think that Broner was once being touted as one of the brightest prospects in world boxing just a few years ago and even a possible heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather. Marcos Maidana brutally burst that bubble in 2013, much to the delight of Broner haters worldwide. Campaigning at 147lbs and struggling to slim his frame down to 140lbs, Broner is competing too high in weight. His second loss came to Shawn Porter in 2015 when ‘The Problem’ failed to throw significant leather until the final round. His days of ballooning up in weight and bullying his opponents are over, as rugged Adrian Granados proved in his last fight.
In typically contradictory fashion Broner went on to tell PBC press: “I don’t care about being an underdog. I don’t make my money off that.”
Mikey Garcia has not been without his out-of-the-ring troubles either. Boxing in the first part of his career under Bob Arum’s Top Rank banner, Garcia fell out with Arum over contractual issues when seemingly on the cusp of a mega-fight with golden goose Manny Pacquiao. Opting to sit out rather than fight under unfavourable terms, Mikey left millions on the table, which he is now keen to soak up after returning in 2016 with a knockout of Elio Rojas in New York. Garcia followed that up in January of this year with a chilling stoppage of Dejan Zlaticanin.
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Hitting Broner in the pocket for not making weight is the only way to keep him honest and a $500,000 fine threat has the Cincinnati native hovering around 144lbs, a week out from the fight. Being tight at the weight will only make it more difficult for a notoriously immobile and static counter-puncher to find the energy to move around and outwork Garcia. Broner throws minimal combinations, pot shots with single punches and doesn’t like to work for the duration of rounds. Saying that, he can be very accurate, punches hard and has sublime natural talent when he wishes to use it.
The fight represents a step-up in levels for the PBC, which has been flagging lately and receiving some stick from outspoken media outlets. Showtime will pick up the main event and a reasonably solid undercard has also been organised by matchmaker John Beninati.
Jermall Charlo moves up to middleweight to box Jorge Sebastian Heiland. UK and Irish fight fans may remember Heiland stopping Matthew Macklin in Dublin a few years ago and the Argentine has been trying to secure a WBC title shot ever since. It’s extremely unlikely that he will be able to defeat the excellent Charlo, who was last seen pounding undefeated Julian Williams into submission and also boasts a win over Austin Trout.
Rau’shee Warren has a tough return assignment after losing to Zhanat Zhakiyanov when he drops down to super-flyweight to fight McJoe Arroyo. Jarrell Miller and Gerald Washington clash in an intriguing heavyweight encounter. Katie Taylor makes her American debut while Aussie Billy Dib also appears.
So, in conclusion, how do we expect the main event to go? Garcia is a naturally talented fighter and will be in better shape with sharp fundamentals and very heavy hands. Broner has a good chin so won’t fall early and is a good bet to last course. The consensus though seems to be nudging towards a late stoppage for Garcia as a bloated Broner ships heavy punishment on the ropes.