By Keith Idec
If you’re looking for a fascinating fight sometime between the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch June 17 and the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin showdown September 16, you should circle July 29 on your boxing calendar.
BoxingScene.com has learned that a deal is nearly finalized for undefeated Mikey Garcia to fight Adrien Broner on July 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Garcia, the WBC lightweight champion, is expected to move up to at least 140 pounds to battle Broner, whose last fight was contested at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds.
Broner, a former four-division champion, was supposed to box Adrian Granados at a catch weight of 142 pounds February 18 in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati. According to Granados, the weight limit was changed to 147 a few weeks before the fight to accommodate Broner.
Showtime is expected to televise the Garcia-Broner bout.
In a Tweet posted Monday, Garcia wrote that he has begun training camp for a fight. He didn’t mention his opponent, but said that an announcement would be made soon.
Broner (33-2, 24 KOs) and Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) were expected to return to the ring this summer, but in separate bouts. In recent weeks, however, negotiations began to match them against one another.
The 29-year-old Garcia had hoped to participate in a lightweight title unification fight against WBA 135-pound champion Jorge Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) or WBO champion Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs). When neither of those matches materialized, Garcia was intrigued by the idea of boxing Broner.
The former featherweight and super featherweight champion has scored a pair of impressive knockouts since he ended a 30-month layoff last summer caused by a contractual battle against Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., his former promoter.
The Oxnard, California, native knocked out Montenegro’s Dejan Zlaticanin (22-1, 15 KOs) in the third round to win the WBC lightweight title January 28 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. In his first fight following his lengthy layoff, Garcia stopped Elio Rojas (24-3, 14 KOs) in the fifth round of a junior welterweight fight July 30 at Barclays Center.
The 27-year-old Broner, meanwhile, defeated Granados (18-5-2, 12 KOs) by split decision in his last fight, a 10-rounder that took place at Xavier University’s Cintas Center three months ago. The embattled Broner has encountered several issues away from boxing since defeating Granados, but those legal entanglements aren’t expected to prevent him from facing Garcia.
The Cincinnati native was sentenced Monday to serve three days at the Kenton County Detention Center in Covington, Kentucky, on a contempt charge. The charge stemmed from Broner’s failure to make multiple court appearances related to a disorderly conduct charge caused by a 2014 incident, to which he pleaded guilty Monday.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.