Record: 33-2 (24 KO) ... Streak: W3 ... Last 5: 4-1 ... Last 10: 8-2 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'6" / 69" ... Age: 27
Thoughts: Once upon a time, people imagined Cincinnati star Adrien Broner to be “the next Mayweather,” a pound-for-pound contender, a potential great fighter for the generation.
He’s not. That’s just one man’s opinion and all, but I’m confident stating it. He’s not what was sold. He is an entertaining, ballsy fighter. He’s been beaten twice, by Shawn Porter and Marcos Maidana, and has had close calls against Paulie Malignaggi, Daniel Ponce De Leon, and most recently, Adrian Granados. He had more struggles than expected against Ashley Theophane and Emmanuel Taylor.
Broner’s a weird fighter. At 135 and below, he showed flashes of brilliance. At 140 and 147, not quite so much. He’s not the stylist many thought he was — he’s really more of a brawler, which sometimes betrays him, and at times separates him from opponents with more pedestrian physical gifts. Often those things in the same fight. Sometimes in the same round.
Broner isn’t elite, but he’s good. And he’s fun to watch. And he’s made himself a star despite setbacks. He’s never let losses overwhelm him — both times, he’s come back and won three in a row. Will he make it four this time? He is, once again, in against a higher level fighter than he’s been beating since his last loss.
Record: 36-0 (30 KO) ... Streak: W36 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'6" / 68" ... Age: 29
Thoughts: Garcia has shown the potential to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but his recent history has kept him largely out of that conversation. His lengthy split with Top Rank took him out of the ring from January 2014 until July 2016, and wins over Elio Rojas and Dejan Zlaticanin just aren’t enough for many to throw him into that mix yet.
He beat Rojas at 140, but that was against a fighter who had also been inactive. Rojas is a former titleholder and has talent, but he was on the shelf, too, and Garcia, well, is better. Always would have been too good for Rojas. Zlaticanin was unbeaten and a solid lightweight, and Garcia, making his official debut at 135, ripped him and knocked him out in three rounds to win the WBC title.
Now Mikey’s taking a step back to 140 to face Broner. Why? Because it’s the biggest fight out there for him, the one that can most raise his profile. Whatever else you think of Broner, he’s a headline stealer, he’s someone who draws attention, he’s someone people tune in to watch. Beating Broner wouldn’t be anything that hasn’t been done, but it’s never been done (officially) below 147 pounds, either. Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter may not have Garcia’s skill, but Garcia doesn’t have their pure physical power, either. He’s probably not going to be bullying AB.
So that’s what makes this an interesting fight. Sure, Adrien has struggled under 147 before and come away with wins, but he’s never officially lost, and the style he’s lost to is not one Garcia is known to employ.
Matchup Grade: B-. It’s a marquee fight and interesting. It might be good and competitive. In fact, I could imagine a war developing if Broner gets his way and Garcia’s power doesn’t translate against him. But there’s also a chance this turns out to be a real disappointment. It’s just as easy to imagine Garcia picking him apart with skill and patience. But you should tune in for this fight. It has potential.
- Jermall Charlo vs Jorge Heiland: A solid enough move up to 160 for Charlo (25-0, 19 KO), the former junior middleweight titleholder coming off of wins over Cornelius Bundrage, Wilky Campfort, Austin Trout, and most impressively, Julian Williams. Heiland (29-4-2, 16 KO) is probably best known for going to Dublin and knocking out Matthew Macklin in 2014. Charlo should be favored, and I expect him to be impressive in victory here. Heiland could well be outgunned. Grade: C+
- Rau’shee Warren vs McJoe Arroyo: Warren, the four-time U.S. Olympian who never medaled, is coming off of a loss to Zhanat Zhakiyanov, while Arroyo, perhaps the “lesser” of the Arroyo brothers, is coming off of a loss to Jerwin Ancajas. Neither is a shameful defeat or anything. This is a good matchup for both, risky and meaningful. A win keeps the winner in the title picture. A loss hurts. Grade: B
- Jarrell Miller vs Gerald Washington: Can I be bluntly honest? This is an American pretender eliminator. I don’t mean to insult either man, really. Both are big, tough, strong guys. Washington is a good dude who works hard and hung around with Deontay Wilder for a bit. Miller is a fun fighter to watch, a huge, heavy man who most recently weighed in just under 300 pounds for his last fight 11 months ago. Is either guy a real threat to the division’s best? Nah, but this could be a fun time. Grade: C