Mikey Garcia knew that Adrien Broner had his back up against the wall and had to turn in the best performance of his career to prevent a redemption story situation. But despite already being one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Garcia also knew that he could use Broner’s name to catapult him into stardom.
And on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) dominated Broner to earn a unanimous decision victory that turned the 12,084 people who were mostly pro-Broner into Garcia supporters.
It was an impressive performance for the reigning lightweight titleholder as he bumped up to junior welterweight against an opponent who carries a bit of prestige as a former four-division champion. But Garcia, a three-division champion himself, completely outclassed Broner every step of the way.
“This is definitely one of my best performances ever,” Garcia said. “I think I controlled the fight in the early rounds, and I kept the activity up. [Broner] is a great fighter who has great skills. I was the superior fighter tonight.”
Although he was coming up in weight and Broner was coming down, Garcia was the aggressor throughout and consistently walked down Broner. Despite being economical in his own right, Garcia was the busier of the two and his technically sound approach that included brilliantly cutting off the ring and precise punching kept Broner from launching into any kind of significant offense over the course of 12 rounds. The judges saw it 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112 but it was terribly one-sided early as Garcia pressed forward, kept Broner’s back against the ropes and whipped combinations into his foe’s head and torso. Broner had more action coming from his mouth than his fists as he shook his head and talked after every Garcia combination.
But talking doesn’t win you rounds and Broner languished while Garcia thrived. CompuBox had Garcia throwing nearly double the amount of punches (783 to 400). But even though both landed at a 31% clip, Garcia landed 119 more punches (244-125). It was the usual fits of inactivity that has doomed Broner in the past and saw him fall to 33-3. He’s 6-3 in his last three fights.
“It was a good fight at the end of the day, I come to fight, I come to win and I put my heart on the line,” Broner said. “But it was Tom & Jerry; I had to catch the mouse.”
That wasn’t necessarily true but any excuse beats none. It’ll be interesting to see where Broner goes from here as he has lost every time he steps up to face a top opponent. Aside from Garcia, Broner also lost to both Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter. He’s bounced back and forth between 147 pounds and 140 but hasn’t really found a weight class to be a perfect fit. As for Garcia, there are plenty of options for his next fight.
“Anybody that wants to come join us on Showtime, give us a call. We are ready for anybody,” Garcia said. “Maybe I’ll go down to 135, stay at 140 or go up to 147.”