Head tilted slightly downward and eyes focused forward, Mikey Garcia seemingly saw nothing other than the obstacle in front of him: Adrien Broner.
Moving up in weight to face “The Problem,” Garcia remained in constant control of their 140-pound showdown Saturday night, turning in a dominating performance to earn a unanimous decision before a crowd of 12,084 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
With his victory over Adrien Broner, a former four-division world champion, Garcia further elevated his status as one of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters.
“This is definitely one of my best performances ever,” Mikey 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, but I was the superior fighter tonight.
“It was the timing, I've always said I have very good timing. It is underestimated when you are outside the ring, but once you get inside the ring with me, I'm a step ahead.”
Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs), a three-division world champion and current 135-pound titleholder, was certainly in command Saturday, landing 244 of 783 total punches (31 percent) to Broner’s 125 of 400 (31 percent. His edge was even more apparent in power punches, with Garcia connecting on 152 of 328 (46 percent) and Broner landing 72 of 161 (45 percent).
The 29-year-old Southern California native calmly dictated the distance between himself and Broner, and stayed in his opponent’s face for almost the entire fight. After a slow first round that Broner won on all three official scorecards, Garcia went to work as he began to pick apart his opponent.
Over the next several rounds, Garcia showed off an impressive arsenal as he used his jab to penetrate Broner’s high guard before slipping shots to the body.
By the latter rounds, it was all but apparent that Broner needed a knockout to win, but even then, Garcia was able to counter the Cincinnati native’s desperate attempts. In the end, Garcia easily prevailed by scores of 117-111 and 116-112 twice.
“We trained for 10 weeks, we had a great training camp and great sparring,” Garcia said. “We knew it was going to be a tough fight so we had to be in great shape. It was part of the strategy to be a little busier than the fights I have previously had.”
“ This is definitely one of my best performances ever. 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, but I was the superior fighter tonight. ” Three-division world champion Mikey Garcia, after earning a unanimous decision over Adrien Broner
Garcia, who earned his 135-pound world title in January with a third-round KO of unbeaten champion Dejan Zlaticanin, said he would weigh his options before considering his next fight.
“Anybody that wants to come join us on Showtime, give us a call, we are ready for anybody,” he said. “Maybe I'll go down to 135, stay at 140 or go up to 147.”
While Garcia has returned to a place among boxing’s elite after returning to the ring a year ago following a contractual dispute that kept him inactive for 30 months, Broner (33-3, 24 KOs) is left to ponder his future after losing for the second time in five fights and for the first time in his career at 140 pounds or less.
“It was a good fight,” said Broner, who turned 28 on Friday. “I come to win and put my heart on the line. It was Tom & Jerry; I had to catch the mouse.
“At the end of the day, I'm still AB, I'm still ‘About Billions,’ I'm still the ‘can man.’ If he wants the rematch in California, we can do it. At the end of the day, I'm still a four-time world champion at four different weight classes, and I'll still be in the history books.”
Charlo gains TKO of Heiland in 160-pound debut
In the co-main event, unbeaten former 154-pound champion Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) had a powerful showing in his 160-pound debut as he scored a fourth-round TKO of Jorge Sebastian Heiland (29-5-2, 16 KOs).
Charlo, of Houston, was crisp and sharp with his powerful jab against the southpaw, who appeared to be favoring an injured left leg almost from the opening bell. Charlo floored Heiland once in Round 2 before a left hook in the fourth sent the tough Argentine to the canvas in a heap. As Heiland stumbled into the ropes in trying to stand, referee Benjy Esteves Jr. waved an end to the bout at the 2:13 mark.
“Sometimes the injury can be a decoy,” Charlo said. “You never want to just jump in in case it's part of his game plan. My coach told me to stay behind my jab like I did, continue to work and it’s going to come.
“I’m ready, bring on the biggest names at 160. … I feel like it’s my turn and I’m going to go get it.”
In other undercard action, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (19-0-1, 17 KOs) earned an eighth-round stoppage of former world title challenger Gerald Washington (18-2-1, 12 KOs) in a heavyweight matchup. Also, former 118-pound champion and three-time U.S. Olympian Rau’shee Warren made his debut at 115 pounds and earned a unanimous decision over former world champion McJoe Arroyo in a title eliminator.
For a complete look at Broner vs Garcia, visit our fight page.