Mikey Garcia won the WBC lightweight title in his last outing with a crushing third-round knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin. He was hoping to fight another of the lightweight title-holders to try to unify belts in the division, but then he received a call from Stephen Espinoza of Showtime Sports.
And that changed the course of boxing history.
Garcia will jump up a weight division to face four-division world champion Adrien Broner in a 12-round non-title fight on July 29 on Showtime at a venue to be announced.
Despite the controversy that surrounds Broner, he’s won world titles at super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight and welterweight. As Garcia weighed his options for his summer fight, he could see no one with more significance than Broner.
“I haven’t fought anybody else who has been champion in four divisions,” said Garcia, who is 36-0 with 30 knockouts. “That’s a big accomplishment in itself there and that’s what I mean. There is no one else available who has that résumé.”
There is a penalty in the contract if Broner, who has a history of failing to make weight, doesn’t hit the contract’s 140-pound limit. But Broner said he’s making a renewed commitment to his career and guaranteed that he would make the weight.
He has done much in his career, and goes into the Garcia fight with a 33-2 record and 24 knockouts, but he’s more known for his controversies and personal problems than his boxing.
He said he wants to change the impression of him he’s created and have a better finish to his career.
“I’ve gotten older and I’m getting more wise,” said Broner, who will turn 28 the day before the fight. “I’m more mature. This next half of my career, I’m just focusing more on doing everything the correct way. The first half, I tried to do everything my way. It worked, but I could have been better, so I want to try to do everything correctly.”
The bout is another in a series of fights with great significance within the sport that Showtime has televised this year.
Espinoza said Broner-Garcia will be the sixth fight on Showtime this year in which two fighters ranking in the top five met each other.
“It’s really indisputable,” Espinoza said. “This year, the best are fighting the best and they’re doing it on Showtime.”