The WBC World lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (36-0) will have ‘The Problem’ to deal with that is Adrien Broner (33-2) at the Barclays Center in New York in the event titled ‘The 140-Pound Showdown’.
There’s no title on the line as Garcia steps up to 140lbs for the first time in his career, having already won World titles at featherweight, super-featherweight and lightweight – all of this during his last six fights!
Broner, the controversial 27-year-old from Ohio, first burst onto the scene six years ago as ‘the new Floyd Mayweather’.
He went from super-featherweight (WBA) to lightweight (WBC) to welterweight (WBC) and back down to super-lightweight (WBA) in the space of 11 fights.
During that time there were also numerous spats (between him and the real Floyd Mayweather), public arrests, surprise losses to Marcus Maidana and Shawn Porter, and ongoing controversy that seems to follow this man around reliably.
He has gone up and down in weight like a yo-yo in recent years. His second from last fight saw him miss the 140lbs limit against popular Londoner Ashley Theophane, which consequently meant that he was stripped of his WBA World title.
Two of his last eight fights resulted in defeats, as well the loss of many fans and their faith in the hype that he was the next Mayweather. He shouted his mouth off but couldn’t back it up, in the end.
The first beating was to Maidaina when he believed in his own promotion too much and came up short and unsuspecting against a tough, experienced fighter that he completely underestimated.
The second humbling was at the hands of Porter where he slacked off for 11 rounds and only decided to throw the best punch of the fight in the final round, which, although took ‘Showtime’ completely by surprise as he sat stunned on the seat of his pants, was way too little and way too late to have any effect.
As for Garcia, 29 from Moreno Valley, he is looking to push on and tackle Jorge Linares if he wins, adamant that 140lbs is the heaviest he can go.
A successful amateur career saw him turn professional and, 31 fights later, become crowned a world champion with the WBO World featherweight strap, to which he then added the super-featherweight version two fights on.
Career-hampering contractual issues with Top Rank and a falling out of love with the sport saw him take 18 months out but the second wind took just two more fights to be crowned the WBC World lightweight champion.
Garcia works superbly well behind his jab, can judge distances intelligently, and has a formidable defence and fluid movement to avoid too much trouble.
His last opponent, Dejan Zlaticanin, was a guy with a good chin who could take punishment but Garcia went through the Montenegrin like sliced cheese. It was all too easy when it shouldn’t have been, proving how powerful and naturally talented he really is.
Despite his fearsome 80 per cent KO ratio, the Californian admits Broner is the toughest test of his career to date. His forthcoming foe can box, is razor sharp, counters incredibly well, and can climb off the canvas and find a way to win.
Although I heavily favour Garcia’s boxing ability over Broner’s, I am a questioning the variables involved in that this is the heaviest that Garcia has ever attempted and, by his own admissions, is the highest in weight he can possibly go.
Usually, with a Broner appearance imminent, the questions are whether he will turn up and perform and do a job or whether he will just coast along to look good for the cameras with his customary flashiness. However, in this fight, he is being labelled as the underdog, which he resents, and with his previous losses and exodus of loyal fans, I think that this will be the best Broner we can expect to see.
If Broner is going to stand any chance of defeating Garcia on Saturday then he’s going to need to be smart, sharp and switched on, and that means he cannot let Garcia penetrate him with his power shots in the same way that he allowed his last opponent, Adrian Granados, to land, when he was hit far too much and taken to a split decision in his hometown.
I’ve heard in interviews that Garcia will plan to take the fight to Broner but I can’t see him piling on the pressure in the same way that Porter and Maidana did. They were overly aggressive, rough and awkward, and had every success in their gameplans in doing so. But that’s not Garcia’s style.
It’s a tough one to call but I still favour Garcia to win as the better and more skilful fighter of the pair, in my opinion.
Although I believe Broner will turn up to this one, as there’s so much at stake for him – his whole career, practically – I still think he will only shine in segments and not manage to do enough work to grant a win.
Therefore, I will settle on a Garcia points win.
Jermall Charlo v Jorge Sebastien Heiland
Jermall Charlo (25-0) is making his middleweight debut against Jorge Sebastien Heiland (29-4-2) on the same event in Brooklyn.
The Argentinian southpaw has never won World titles but has fought for the interim WBC World title back in 2010 – his first career-loss – and holds a prominent win over World title challenger Matt Macklin.
The South American has a quartet of losses on his ledger but has, notably, never been stopped. So, in comes IBF World super-welterweight champion with a 76 per cent KO ratio, on a mission to get Gennady Golovkin’s attention.
El Gaucho de Pigüé cannot match Charlo in any department and, I believe, has been hand-picked for the 27-year-old Texan to make a big statement by being the first man to stop him to really announce his arrival at 160lbs in style!
Against all logic, I will stick my neck out and predict a stoppage win to Charlo between rounds five to seven, despite history suggesting otherwise.