Adrien Broner, the talented and oft troubled Ohioan looking to get the respect he believe he deserves, and Mikey Garcia, the California resident who is edging up pound for pound rankings but is soon to be making a leap into unknown territory, met up Thursday at the final press conference before they meet up for real, at Barclays Center, Saturday night.
Lou Dibella is the promoter for the 140 pound tango, the first for Mikey, a bout which is not lost amid the hubbub of the forthcoming collision of worlds between boxer nonpariel Floyd Mayweather and MMA trash talker extraordinaire Conor McGregor in the minds of true-blue boxing fans.
The sweet science fans are quite eager to see if Broner is indeed reborn and will turn in the sort of showing he insists he can and will…or if Garcia is all he’s being cracked up to be, by network suits and writers and the fans who have tabbed him a heavy favorite.
“Doors open at 5 PM,” Dibella said at the mic at the Dream Hotel in Manhattan, and he said that no BS, this is a stacked card, from the get go.
Broner’s trainer Mike Stafford got his say, after Leonard Ellerbe called him talented and under appreciated. Stafford lauded the turnout, and said the whole card is great. He thanked Team Garcia for accepting the challenge, and that yes, Broner looks trim, but he thinks AB always looks good. He said AB went back to Colorado Springs to get back to old school basics, and he didn’t want to over promise.
Ellerbe said that he told AB that he was a 5 to 1 underdog and Broner exclaimed, “What the fuck!?” That had Broner turn the corner mentally, Ellerbe said, and he found that opening line “disrespectful.”
“It’s going to come down to the experience level and who wants it the most…Adrien Broner is a dog,” he said, acknowledging that Broner sometimes steps in piles outside the ring, but inside the ring, he’s an ace.
Broner got the mic and thanked God first. “Y’all got it fucked up. Y’all trippin that five to one, that’s just ridiculous! C’mon, five to one! That’s just too disrespectful. I heard now it’s almost like a dollar and you get a dollar and probably a dollar and three cent,” he said. That’s because, he theorized, the smarts saw how he’s training in Colorado. “He ain’t no fuckin Maidana..and they know that…he ain’t nowhere near Maidana,” the Cincy guy said. “This motherfucker ain’t gonna beat me…and I’m dead serious and after I make it look easy, I want all you motherfuckers out here writing this badass stories on me to put something good up. The same way you write all these stories when I get caught up, goin’ to jail, and do these thirty days, do these ten days, I want ya’ll motherfuckers to go and write some good shit about me! For real…it’s because of ya’ll the world sees me the way they see me. I’m me, but, I’m gonna be me, I ain’t gonna change because there’s no camera in my face. But I ain’t no bad guy. Ya’ll got people thinking I’m just some fucked up person,” he said, explaining that he’s not, and that he’d (not on Saturday) help Mikey if Mikey asked.
“I ain’t really talkin that much shit, I just wanna fight,” AB said, “and I just want Garcia to bring his A game. I’m gonna beat his ass, though. Fuck around and stop him, I don’t know, if it present itself, I’m gonna take it. I just beat an aggravated robbery but I’m just going back and taking this one, fuck it!”
Garcia’s bro, trainer Robert, kept it short. He wanted everyone to enjoy a great night of boxing. Bro Mikey, who Dibella said has looked sharper post return from hiatus, was as usual humble. He expects much support in Brooklyn, and thanked the fans who show love, his East Coast crew. “The fans and the media are expecting a great show, it speaks for itself,” he said of his upcoming scrap. He called Broner “great,” refusing to engage in false trash talking, it’s not his way. “I think AB’s going to bring out the best in me,” he said. “I’m here to take over, win this fight, make sure that everybody sees another side of me Saturday night.” His best hasn’t been showcased, he said. Maybe this one if the first in a trilogy, he said.
The headliners took some press queries. Mikey said the stakes are high, because a win for either “takes us to that next level in boxing.” Broner said he came from “Section 8,” so a loss means more.
It seems like some don’t want him to get to “super stardom,” he said, and maybe that’s because of racism. Maybe because he’s so outspoken, also, Broner said.
What about not being Maidana? Mikey said he doesn’t measure himself against the Argentine. The chatter heated up, then, with both promising the other they’d lose. You have lost before and will lose again, Mikey cracked to AB.
“Just don’t blink,” said Broner, in closing.
Dibella early on handed the mic to Mayweather Promotions Ellerbe, fresh off his showing at Everlast’s TALKBOX. The CEO promised a stellar main event and then handed to Brett Yormark, the Barclays boss. He wished Broner a happy 28th birthday, which he will celebrate Friday. “It’s not just about the main event, the whole night of boxing is going to be incredible,” he said, before telling Jermall Charlo that he too is an identical twin. (Charlo tries 160 for the first time, against Jorge S Heiland who is taking two steps up in this tango.)
Stephen Espinoza, the Showtime boxing boss, took to the mic. Dibella in his intro noted that a billion people will watch the Aug. 26 event pitting Floyd against Conor McGregor, and thanked Espinoza for still paying attention to non Floyd fights.
“No boos this time? C’mon, I was kind of getting used to that,” Espinoza joked, referencing that press tour of two weeks ago, where he was abused (I think good naturedly) by McGregor as being a “weasel.”
He said that the Saturday slate is showing the network’s committment to the sport. They will show, at 5:30 PM, live, the Carl Frampton-Carlos Gutierrez fight, streaming on Facebook and YouTube. Then, they will stream the US debut of Katie Taylor, and then the heavyweight scrap pitting Jarrell Miller versus Gerald Washington. “That one is I think one of the sleeper fights of the entire card,” Espinoza said. Then, on Showtime, viewers will watch ‘Mall Charlo-Heiland, followed by Broner vs Garcia. He gave Broner and Garcia “all the credit in the world” because neither man had to take this challenge. The bossman said that his network has been primarily responsible for the solid nature of scraps this year.
Dibella talked up the undercard, including Taylor, who he called “a tremendous athlete.” Taylor, in the top 2 or 3 as most popular boxer in Ireland, according to Dibella, said that she was privileged to be appearing on the card. “I hope to make a good statement here the weekend,” she said.
Miller, who Dibella called “300 pounds of fun,” spoke up and said all will soon know who he is. He said he’s never taken an ass whuppin, as Washington did versus Deontay Wilder.
Washington, ex footballer at USC, said “I will welcome you to the game, for real.” They jawed and Washington cracked that Miller “has had enough to eat” after BBM called Washington “fried chicken.”
Miller said that he started his own promotional company, and he wants to educate kids. “You loved Mike, you loved Riddick, you going to love Big Baby,” he said, with arm around Dibella.
Heiland in Spanish told the assembled that he appreciated the welcome and promised to give a great account of himself in Brooklyn. Jermall in his turn said he gives props to AB and Garcia for stirring buzz. “I’m ready for 160 just like I was ready for 154,” he said.
My take: Broner as usual had everyone wondering what he'd say next. He packed it in, showing that he's taken criticism personally, leaving us wondering if he'd use that fuel positively. Also, opening up the worm can that maybe people don't root for him to ascend because of racism was provocative stood out. Broner can make you pay attention, can't he? You love him, maybe more of you hate him, but you pay attention to him.