Garcia vs Broner kicks off the summer boxing calendarNext weekend will see one of 2017’s biggest showdowns take place as the highly regarded Mikey Garcia takes on Adrien Broner, one of boxing’s most perplexing characters. Now, I could have chosen a few other words to describe Broner, such as inconsistent, and definitely controversial. But, for me, perplexing is right on the mark, since I can never decide how to feel about this guy, his career to date, and how high his ceiling might be.

Adrien Broner (33-2, 24 KO)

Birthplace: Cincinnati, US … Age: 27 … Height/Reach: 5’ 6”/69” … Stance: Orthodox … BB Ranking: Unranked … Last Three: Adrian Granados (SD 10), Ashley Theophane (TKO 9), Khabib Allakhverdiev (TKO 12)

Is Broner a super talent or merely an overhyped fighter? Have recent performances been affected by those ceaseless antics and distractions outside of the ring? Has stardom and an inflated ego killed his hunger and serious ambitions? Man, I just don’t know. If anything, I’d have to say it’s a mixture of everything.

Forgetting all the colourful things Broner says and does, I think – and genuinely hope – that he has a whole lot more to show us on fight night, and in general in boxing. If he hasn’t been taking the sport too seriously lately, then, with a meeting against Mikey Garcia just around the corner, the need to get serious couldn’t be much greater. This is a legitimately dangerous fight against a methodical, smart puncher.

Broner insists that he is laser-focused, and that a gruelling Colorado training camp, which he’s not endured for some time, will make the necessary difference. If that is true, that Broner is one-hundred percent motivated, and that he is planning to bring his absolute A-game, then maybe we’re in for a thrilling fight. Maybe one that Broner could win. And, with Broner a 5-1 underdog, that would be one hell of an upset, no matter the method of victory.

Broner – however you view his chances – stylistically seems like a good dance partner for Garcia. His style is more athletic (or can be on a good night), and he has demonstrated genuine class as a slick, mean boxer, capable of proving slippery behind a decent enough shoulder roll, which marries well with explosive counters and hurtful combinations. Also, let’s not forget that Broner should have some speed advantages.

Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KO)

Birthplace: California, US … Age: 29 … Height/Reach: 5’ 6”/68” … Stance: Orthodox … BB Ranking: No.2 (135 lbs) … Last Three: Dejan Zlaticanin (KO 3), Elio Rojas (TKO 5), Juan Carlos Burgos (UD 12)

When it comes to Garcia, the guy couldn’t be any more different from his upcoming opponent. Garcia is assured yet notably humble in front of cameras, and his lifestyle seems pretty squeaky clean – so far as I know – outside of the ring. Certainly when compared to Broner, who has been hopping in and out of jail with some regularity in the headlines.

So, even before mentioning what Garcia can do in the ring, a lot of folks seem to like the look of him in this fight. And that’s fair enough. From where most fans, boxing scribes and analysts sit, Garcia looks like a disciplined, clearheaded guy, with the better team and general support network. Moving on to his actual fighting abilities, there’s not really too much to criticize. He’s unbeaten, has taken down some quality fighters, and has done it in style for the most part.

Garcia has heavy hands, with his one-punch power all the more dangerous owed to high ring intelligence and impressive timing. He’s patient yet urgent enough to usually appear to be the general who is pressing the action and looking to do damage with economical, singular blows. And so it is no accident that Garcia has come very close to entering the Pound for Pound Rankings, both now and before his 2014-2016 promotional dispute hiatus.

Is this much-debated fight a mere stepping stone for Garcia, who might arguably have the edge on Broner, both mentally and physically? Or, is this a night that will see a reformed, reenergized Broner fiercely compete, and even bring the upset? Either way, the pressure on, and a whole lot more for Broner it would seem, given he’s in a fight that isn’t a last chance saloon per se, but one that requires him to perform well if he wants to hang around in more marquee events.

What say you, fight fans? Who are you backing in Garcia vs Broner? How will the action unfold? And, based on what you’ve seen and heard in the build-up, is Adrien Broner still worthy of wearing ‘The Problem’ moniker in this showdown? Or even the ‘About Billions’ variety?

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