Adrien Broner was pissed off and motivated, upon learning he was an early 5-1 underdog to Mikey Garcia. But the closer it got to fight night, the lower the odds were, by virtue of Broner training away from the trappings of his success, in the lowkey serenity of Colorado Springs, CO. He said all the right things, looked the part, came in 1 1/4 pounds under the contracted limit of 140 pounds and seemed lighter, nimbler on his feet than he had in years. Didn't matter though, and when it was all said and done, Garcia treated Broner just like a 5-1 underdog, in route to a career enhancing, unanimous 12-round decision win.
Garcia (37-0, 30 KO’s) speaks openly about pre-fight visualization, and his performance couldn't have been much more aesthetically pleasing on an HD, theater sized screen. He patiently stalked Broner (33-3-1 NC, 24 KO’s), initially, figuring out "A.B.'s" rhythm, timing and the trajectory of his shots. By round 3, Broner was biting on every single feint or the slightest bit of movement from Mikey.
Broner landed a left jab to the body and was swiftly countered with a wide, looping left hook from Garcia, which backed him to the ropes. Broner kept his defensive guard extra high and tight, as Garcia attempted to punch thru, around and under it. Without question, Broner landed his fair share of shots, but Garcia was usually first to the point of attack and he typically landed the last lick in exchanges.
Prior to the 7th, there was urgency in Broner’s corner from trainer, Mike Stafford, and for the first time all fight, Adrien forced Mikey to operate off his back-foot. But this didn’t last long as Garcia resumed control jabbing his way thru Broner’s high guard, following up with right hands and left hooks to the body. Broner responded by shaking his head “no”, suggesting he wasn’t bothered by the shots. Garcia returned the taunts in the 8th, boldly following Broner around the ring, both hands by his side, daring “A.B.” to take a swing, even flinching at him.
As was the case in his two previous losses, Broner finished a bit stronger than he started, but it was too little too late. As the final bell rang, ending the bout, it was obvious to the live audience at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, the viewing audience on Showtime and Broner himself that Garcia was the victor. The judges score cards confirmed this, awarding Mikey the verdict unanimously, 117-111 and 116-112 (twice).
Hard to fathom where Broner goes from here. Clearly, he has no business at 147 pounds, is probably incapable of making the 135-pound lightweight limit at this stage of his career, yet just lost to a naturally smaller man at his optimal weight class of 140. The three best guys Adrien’s faced have all beaten him, unanimously in fact, utilizing a pressure oriented, volume punching attack which clearly unnerved him. Coach Stafford pushed all the right buttons between rounds, as noted earlier, Broner had a secluded, focused, serious training camp (for a change) and got his weight down properly. Regardless, it was all immaterial. Henceforth, “A.B.” might stand for “About Building” the careers of other fighters, in the form of a gatekeeper, or merely an opponent for others to pad their record with.
For Garcia, the sky is literally the limit: He still possesses the W.B.C. title at 135 pounds, where former champion and reigning WBA lightweight titlist, Jorge Linares, is an attractive option for a unification bout. The matchup hardcore fans salivate over is Garcia vs. 130-pound stud, Vasyl Lomachenko. This pairing could vault both men into the realm of pay-per-view headliners and would go a long way in ultimately determining who the absolute best fighter in the world is, pound for pound.
Showing no ill effects in his inaugural foray at 140, unified world champion, Terence Crawford, is another tantalizing option for Mikey. The only roadblock impeding Garcia from facing Lomachenko and/or Crawford is the fact they’re both promoted by Top Rank, headed by Bob Arum. Team Garcia made the decision to go on a 2 ½ year hiatus, rather than continue their relationship with Top Rank, and Arum is precisely the type to hold a grudge. Promoter’s usually keep the best interests of their own wallet top of mind, as opposed to the sport of Boxing. How anxious would you be to pit your two top dogs against an ultra-talented canine that left your kennel, under bad circumstances? Guardedly optimistic is the proper tact, as it pertains to Mikey vs. Lomachenko/Crawford.
Garcia’s also mentioned the possibility of moving up to 147, but having just entered the weight class South of there, that seems like a stretch at this juncture; maybe in a year or two. Without a doubt, Mikey possesses the skillset to be successful at welter, but he’d be at a distinct size disadvantage every time out.