MIAMI, FL -When Andre Ward recently retired it opened up the WBA, WBO and IBF light heavyweight titles and when Badou Jack vacated his WBA "regular" title the division became even more wide open. Red hot contender Sulli...
FOUR-DIVISION WORLD CHAMPION ADRIEN BRONER AND UNDEFEATED THREE-DIVISION CHAMPION MIKEY GARCIA MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL HIGHLIGHTSNotiFight
NEW YORK – Two of the world’s best 140-pound boxers in the sport – Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia – participated in a media conference call on Thursday to discuss the news that they would square off against one another on Saturday, July 29, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®.
A three-division world champion at the age of 23, and one of the youngest four-division world champions in boxing history, Broner remains one of the most accomplished and popular athletes – and perhaps the most polarizing – in the sport today. Broner (33-2, 24 KOs) is unbeaten at or below 140 pounds with his only two losses coming against welterweight world champions Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter.
The 29-year-old Mikey Garcia is undefeated (36-0, 30 KOs) and coming off a WBC lightweight world title he won in January. Garcia is moving up in weight for the second time in just three fights to challenge Broner.
Adrien Broner vs. Mikey Garcia is presented by Premier Boxing Champions. A venue has yet to be determined for the highly anticipated matchup.
Also joining the call was Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports.
Here is what the principals had to say on the call on Thursday:
“I mean, I’ve done a lot. I’ve done a lot in the sport already at a young age. I’ve watched Mikey Garcia come up before and at the same time I came up. I always want to fight the best. The best fight the best and that’s what’s going on today. This fight is going to be a tremendous fight and I’m bringing my A-game. I know a lot of people are probably counting me out.”
Q: Can you give me your perspective of how this fight was brought to your attention? How easy was the fight to make?
A: “I just see two fighters that got chips on their shoulders and I’m ready to put on another great show of boxing. I’m tired of sitting around and watching everybody else fight each other. I want to fight the best too, so let’s do it.”
Q: Can you just give me your impressions on what it will take to make 140 pounds and to do it so you’re competitive and strong at that weight against Mikey, who’s going to put on a couple of pounds?
A: “Making the weight is not going to be a problem. My last fight is coming from 180-plus. I’ve kept my weight down and I’ve actually been trying to fight somebody earlier than July. But since it’s July, I’ve kept my body in okay shape and I won’t have a problem making the weight.”
Q: Do you see you being more experienced against bigger guys as an advantage for you going into a fight that most people would consider a pretty tough fight?
A: “I don’t look at this fight like that. Mikey is a great opponent and a great fighter. As long as I’m at my A-game, I’ll be okay. That’s just how I feel. I’m taking my career more seriously and I’m just ready to put on a great show.”
Q: Were there discussions about the fight being contested at a higher weight?
A: “I have no problem with making the weight. I have a reason. This fight gives me a reason to make 140 pounds. I will make the weight, no problem. Just like when I fought for the title, I made the weight easy.”
Q: What have you seen from Mikey Garcia as far as his development goes since coming back?
A: “A kid who’s still growing in boxing just like me. We all make our mistakes and we try to get better every fight. You have two men that are in their prime and at the highest level of their career and they want to fight each other. So, let’s do it”
Q: Do you feel that having fought at a higher weight in the past is an advantage for you? Does it help you in any way?
A: “I’m not coming into this fight looking at having an advantage because I’ve fought at a higher weight. At the end of the day, I’ve got to be 100 hundred percent and that’s all I’m worried about.”
Q: Does a challenge like this motivate you more?
A: “I love it. I’ve faced adversity so many times in this game. Sometimes I fell short, but I got right back up and kept fighting.”
Q: How much credit do you sense you’re getting for embracing this fight?
A: “Honestly, in all due respect to every reporter out there, I feel like I really don’t get as much respect as I should because of my last fight…the guy that I fought [Adrian Granados], he was a guy a lot of people skipped past…and I’m like, ‘You know what, I’m going to fight him.’ Everybody felt like I wasn’t taking a tough fight. I knew he was tough and I fought him and beat him and now I’m taking another tough fight after that in Mikey Garcia.”
Q: How important was it for you to take a tough fight like this?
A: “I want to fight them all. In the beginning of my career I was very anxious to fight everybody and as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to just take my time and roll down the hill slow and get them all… And this is where it starts.”
Q: Do you feel like fighting [Garcia’s] style is going to require a lot of patience on your part?
A: “If you ask me, I’m the guy that’s very defensive. I really don’t get hit that much. Only when I decide to stand in the middle, but I’m very hard to hit myself. I think this fight is going to be two boxers with high IQ’s who are going to put on a great show of boxing.”
Q: Is it going to be a fight determined by footwork and ring generalship, would you agree with that?
A: “I wouldn’t say all of that. Everybody doesn’t fight the same every night when they go in the ring. Once I get in there and make my adjustments and once he gets in there and tries to make his adjustments, we’re going to let the fight play out.”
Q: Do you feel like Mikey is a stiff puncher and is that something that you have to be careful of with his punching power?
A: “Anybody is a puncher whether… It all hurts. I’m one to tell the truth. I don’t want to get hit by nobody. I don’t care if it’s Paulie Malignaggi…I don’t want to feel none of their punches.”
Q: “What do you say about your power at this weight when you get the proper training in and you’re on weight and you’re on target?
A: “Just check my record. I’m undefeated. There’s only a couple literally, where people lasted. Everybody knows in the boxing game: Once Adrien Broner is focused and I’m on track and doing everything correctly, nobody will beat me. Only I beat myself and I’m tired of coming up short and selling myself short.”
Q: If you are focused for this fight and you get down to 140, can you just talk about how you’ll feel when that happens and what you feel your power is when you do that?
A: “Independence day in July. I’m bringing fireworks.”
Q: Realistically, how difficult will it be for you to make weight at 140 pounds and do you think Garcia has the upper hand or advantage?
A: “No, I’ll make weight easy. Honestly, there is no disadvantage or advantages in this fight. This fight will come down to the best prepared boxer.”
Q: What is it about the sport of boxing that has put a chip on your shoulder? What are some of the things about the sport and the business side of it that you don’t like and that you’d like to see change?
A: “It’s really not the business side because the business is going good. I love Stephen to death, that’s my uncle. But as far as the sport, I just feel like they don’t put enough respect on my name. With all of my accomplishments in this game, I’m the one the kids want to be now. Because coming up, everyone wanted to be like Floyd and now coming up all the kids want to be like Adrian Broner. It’s okay though, this fight is just to show people that I’m still here and that I still got what it takes to take over the game of boxing after Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.”
Q: You’re boxing a lot more than you did in the last year, has anything changed for you?
A: “A lot changed, I’ve gotten older. I’m getting wiser, more mature. This next half of my career, I’m just focused on doing things the correct way. The first half I tried to do things my way and it worked but I could have done better, but I want to try and do everything correct.”
Q: Will you be training in Colorado as usual?
A: “Colorado Springs. My last four fights I haven’t been in Colorado. The last fight I’ve done in Colorado was the Maidana fight. I’ve been in DC. I’m going back to where I can focus on just strictly boxing because I want this to be one of the best performance of my career. I feel like my back is against the wall and it’s time to fight out.”
Closing comment: “Get some cameras my way, I’m ready to perform.”
Q: Tell us why you took this fight at 140 and what your plans are on July 29.
A: “It is the biggest fight available for me right now. Originally my plan was to unify at 135. If that was not available I would look at a big name to defend my title at lightweight but that wasn’t quite available. Adrien Broner is a much bigger name and a bigger star who has accomplished a lot in the sport. So, it just made more sense to go and pursue the Adrien Broner fight than a regular title defense.”
Q: Is the move up to 140 a temporary stop? Do you want to come back to 135 to defend title or do you just figure there are bigger names at that  weight class?
A: “I would like to come back down to lightweight and unify the titles or defend my title before making a permanent move up. But, because this fight was available right now and it’s a much bigger fight than anything else at the lightweight division—like I mentioned earlier, that’s why we’re moving up to 140. If unification matches are available at 135 later this year, then that’s what I’m going to go after.”
Q: Did you think to yourself ‘I’d like to fight Adrien Broner’? Was it brought to your attention or did you maybe mention it to one of your people? How was it brought to your attention?
A: “We had already talked about a possible matchup between us two, but later in the year. When we couldn’t find anything else available that made sense, nothing big enough at lightweight, then we looked at the 140-pound division or someone that could possibly make a big name. And, Adrien Broner’s name came up along with Stephen [Espinoza] who had also brought it up to me, we were able to look into Adrien Broner and gladly everything worked out. His team accepted and I think this is the biggest fight that we can both get right now in our careers.”
Q: Did your team try to get the weight at even lower than 140 or they bring it to you at higher than 140 and you were able to settle on the division weight limit? How did the discussion of what weight would this would be at go?
A: “I made it clear that I’m still a lightweight and my best division right now is at 135. So, I would not go any higher than 140 pounds for this fight with Adrien. I made that very clear from the beginning, that if there was any discussion or talks about a fight with Adrien Broner it would not be anything higher than 140 pounds. I’m glad Adrien Broner and his team agreed to that weight.”
Q: Was there any hesitation from Broner’s team about that weight?
A: “Not that I’m aware of because I had heard that he also stated that he was coming back to 140 pounds.”
Q: What weight do you think Broner has been best at?
A: “Everything changes as the body grows and matures. When he was at 130 and 135 he was very strong, very fast. Then, at welterweight he made that big jump to welterweight and also looked very, very good. But in recent fights he’s had some other issues outside the ring, distractions and stuff that might be cause for some of the lack-luster performances on some of his fights. But, the skills are there and the talent is still there. So, I can’t comment on a specific weight class and he’s also fighting bigger men in bigger fights at welterweight and 140 pounds, and that’s also maybe some of the reason why he’s unable to finish the guys or look tremendous like he used to. But, you can’t deny the talent.”
Q: Where do you think your advantage comes in this fight? What area do you think you’re clearly better than he is?
A: “I just think I’m a skilled fighter with very good power as well and I think it’s a pretty even fight, pretty even match. But, I feel that I have a slight edge when I comes to just natural boxing skills, technique, the ring generalship; the timing and the distance-range where I control the range of the distance of a fight.”
Q: What makes Broner the “big fight”?
A: “I haven’t fought anybody else that’s been champion in four divisions. So, that’s going to be an accomplishment in itself there and that’s what I mean. There’s no one else available that has that resume.”
Q: Do you feel that you coming up in weight is an advantage or disadvantage in this fight?
A: “I don’t know that it’s an advantage or disadvantage. I think it’ll be a new to see Broner at 140 because that’s probably a better weight for him and that will actually allow me to perform better too. But, I don’t see myself as having an advantage because the fight is at 140. I feel that I should still be at 135 and I still plan on coming down to 135 pounds but we’ll just have to see on the 29th and see how I feel there.”
Q: How excited are you that a big fight like this is finally here?
A: “It’s exciting to be able to dictate and guide my career in a way that I want and I’m able to secure this fight without having much resistance on either party. So, that makes it easy and I look forward to securing bigger fights after this also.”
Q: Any concern that Broner is not going to make weight for the fight?
A: “There is some concern and that’s why I made it clear that I wouldn’t go any higher than 140. But, he agreed, his team agreed, and it seems like he’s confident that he’s able to make 140. I think last time he didn’t make it, maybe he wasn’t taking it as serious. Maybe, he was coming from some personal issues and problems. So, I think now, he’s probably more focused and ready to regain control of his career and make a big name again. He should be taking it very serious and if he feels confident in making 140, then that’s great. That only makes for a much better fight. If he’s going to be training better and preparing himself better to make the weight, it’ll just make for a bigger fight.”
Q: If he doesn’t make the weight, is the fight still something that you would consider?
A: “We would have to consider options and consider other factors to see if it’s still something that benefits me. Right now, we targeted 140 pounds, he agreed on 140, so that’s what I’m looking at. If later, before the fight, something does come up with issues than I’ll make a decision at that point.”
Q: Where were you, as far as making unification fights, before the Broner fight became a realistic possibility? Have fights with Linares or Flanagan been very difficult to make at that point? Or were you hoping that those fights could’ve been made this summer?
A: “I still hope we can get something like that before the end of the year but it just wasn’t happening this summer. Linares’ team said that they would like maybe a voluntary title defense of his titles just like the WBC had already agreed that it was okay for either one of us to take a voluntary title defense. With Flanagan, I heard it was a very good possibility to get done but I think he’s also got a fight with Verdejo, possibly as a mandatory and that’s something that we would have to wait for results for. So, it was a little more complicated to be waiting and to try to get those unification matches. But the Adrien Broner fight came up and it was a lot easier to get that than anything else.”
Q: At 140, tell us how you think your power will translate?
A: “I think the power is still there. It just depends on how well my opponent can take a punch. I am fighting a bigger guy with Adrien Broner, who has fought at welterweight and faced some of the better welterweights there, so the power may not show because he might be able to take a better punch. But, I moved up from featherweight all the way to lightweight and I still carried punch. My last victory as everybody knows, I knocked out Dejan Zlaticanin who had never been dropped and who was undefeated. I dropped him cold. The power is there it just depends on how well a guy can take a punch.”
Q: How comfortable are you at this weight? Do you walk around heavier than this or is this a big cut for you?
A: “It’s not a big cut honestly. It’s actually a very simple weight cut. But I think what I’m going to be working on is not necessarily just focusing on power but I’m going to continue working on my footwork, having my speed, my reflexes, so that I can carry that. The power, I believe is going to be there regardless but I want to make sure that I carry my speed and I don’t want the weight to affect me in any way and slow me down.”
Q: Is he going to be the best boxer you’ve faced?
A: “On paper he has the biggest resume, he’s the most accomplished fighter that I’ve faced. But as far as the better boxer, I’m just going to have to wait and see on the 29th and see how good of a fighter he really is because he’s definitely got the talent and the skills. Let me see what I can do on July 29th.
Q: How do you expect the fight to play out?
A: “It’s going to be a good, competitive fight, a very close fight because like I said, you can’t deny his skills, you can’t deny his accomplishments. But at the end of the night I feel that I am a slightly better boxer. Just a little bit better than he is and I’ve just got to prove it on the 29th. I did tell you that he loses, he’s lost and I don’t lose. That’s where I have that confidence. I don’t believe anybody around my division can beat me right now and I don’t think Adrien Broner is going to be one to give me those kinds of problems. We’re going to obviously train hard and prepare. We can’t take him lightly but I still believe very, very strongly that I’m the better fighter.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President & General Manager SHOWTIME Sports
“It’s been a great year for boxing. More specifically, it’s really been a great year for SHOWTIME boxing. Boxing is enjoying a rejuvenation, a reinvigoration. The sport has a lot of momentum and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING has been the primary engine for that. Through this weekend, when we’ll be featuring Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara, SHOWTIME will have telecasted 18 live boxing events this year alone. That includes 14 world title fights. The fight we’re talking about today will be the 19th live telecast on SHOWTIME this year.
“Broner vs. Garcia will be the sixth time that we’ve featured a consensus top-5 fighter versus another consensus top-5 fighter. It’s really undisputable - this year the best are fighting the best and they’re doing it on SHOWTIME. In a year filled with memorable fights on SHOWTIME, I think July 29th could be among the most eagerly anticipated fights on the schedule. Two of the most talented, most well-known, most popular fighters in the sport today facing each other in the primes of their respective careers.
“On a personal note, this was a very easy fight to make. The conversation started roughly a week ago about the same time all of these rumors became public. And here we are a week later, including a holiday weekend, announcing a fight. And I’m proud to say that both of these very talented fighters showed no hesitation whatsoever in doing this.
“In the short time since this fight has been rumored and announced, there’s something I’ve seen that I think that’s unique in my experience in this position. There are large groups of people on each side of this fight that think it’s an easy fight. A lot of people say, ‘easy fight for AB.’ There’s an equally large group of people on the Mikey Garcia side that say ‘easy fight’ and I’ve never seen that on a fight before. That’s what makes this such an intriguing matchup.”
Q: “Did all of the other successful fights contribute to you being able to get this particular fight done.”
A: “These fighters are top-tier athletes. And they don’t get to this level of accomplishment without being competitors. We saw it with Shawn Porter at Errol’s fight. When these guys see these big fights happening, their juices get flowing and they get salivating. More than anything, it’s really the fighters. The fighters are the ones who are taking these tough fights and in many cases asking for the tough fights. Originally, we were looking for scheduling a fight for Mikey and a fight for Adrien at some point this summer. And then at a certain point, we realized that for either of them at 135 or 140, there wasn’t a bigger fight than fighting each other. Once everyone understood that, everything clicked. This is the biggest fight that each of them can make right now realistically and that’s really what got it done and made all the other issues: weight, money, all that other stuff melted away because these are two world class competitors who want to do the biggest fight possible.”