Big-mouth Broner aims to do more than talk against Gar­cia

Miami Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

A cham­pion in four weight classes and for­mer Floyd May­weather pro­tege, Broner (33-2, 24 KOs) once seemed ca­pa­ble of un­lim­ited heights. But then came a pair of losses, a cou­ple other lethar­gic per­for­mances and le­gal trou­ble that left his com­mit­ment to the sport in ques­tion.

But a vic­tory in the fight to be tele­vised on Show­time vaults Broner back to­ward where he thinks he be­longs.

“He keeps men­tion­ing how he changed things in camp to make sure that he was 100 per­cent and no dis­trac­tions,” Gar­cia said. “So I don’t ex­pect him to be des­per­ate in­side the ring but I do ex­pect him to be 100 per­cent and ready, and he knows if he beats me he launches his ca­reer back to where he was a star. And he had a few bad per­for­mances but it was all due to things out­side of the ring and this is his op­por­tu­nity to take over what was once his.”

Odds mak­ers didn’t give him much chance when the non­ti­tle fight with Gar­cia (36-0, 30 KOs) was made, and Broner was in­cred­u­lous when he saw him­self listed as a 5-to-1 un­der­dog when the bet­ting line opened. They were the tar­get of some of his tirade dur­ing Thurs­day’s news con­fer­ence, as was the me­dia that he thinks has cov­ered him too neg­a­tively.

Broner has left plenty to crit­i­cize, from twice get­ting stripped of ti­tles for fail­ing to make weight, to le­gal prob­lems that in­cluded jail time last year and an­other ar­rest in April on an out­stand­ing war­rant in Ken­tucky af­ter he was stopped in a bul­let-rid­dled car.

But he said he left the par­ty­ing be­hind by tak­ing his train­ing camp to Colorado and has been on a steady diet of soup and will have no prob­lem mak­ing the 140-pound limit. He said he sim­ply never had in­cen­tive when he missed weight be­fore but he does now, re­veal­ing last week that he’ll be fined $500,000 if he’s over at Fri­day’s weigh-in.

“It’s al­ways been easy for me. I just never did it, be­cause I didn’t have to,” Broner said. “If they tell me they’re go­ing to pay me the same if I fight at (1)43 or 44 … I’m go­ing to fight 43 or 44. But now they’re like, ‘ Oh, you’re go­ing to get fined if you don’t make 40.’ OK, I’ll make 40, no prob­lem.”

And as for those pick­ing against him?

“Let’s see who’s on the pound-for-pound list af­ter Satur­day night,” Broner said.

He turns 28 Fri­day and said he’s started think­ing about life af­ter boxing. But he can put that off by beat­ing Gar­cia, which would give him plenty of op­tions at either 140 or 147 pounds.

“This is def­i­nitely a cross­ing point for me and the next fight for me I can def­i­nitely do some pay-per­view,” Broner said, “and I’ll do num­bers.”

It’s also a big op­por­tu­nity for Gar­cia, who’s won ti­tles at 126, 130 and 135 pounds but lacks main­stream recog­ni­tion, in part be­cause he was idle for 21/ years be­cause of pro­mo­tional is­sues be­fore re­turn­ing a year ago. He’s now call­ing his own shots and ea­ger for op­por­tu­ni­ties back at light­weight, or even mov­ing up to wel­ter­weight.

Stop­ping Broner would jump-start his ca­reer.

“I think this fight is a much higher-pro­file fight than my other fights, even though I’ve had other great fights be­cause it’s cre­ated so much buzz and so much me­dia and fans are an­tic­i­pat­ing a great fight,” Gar­cia said. “I think that’s the rea­son why it can tran­scend me into that next level.”

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