By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Mikey Garcia was as superior to Adrien Broner on Saturday night as the opening odds suggested he would be.
The unbeaten WBC lightweight champion picked apart a cautious, largely inactive Broner for much of their 12-round, 140-pound fight before a crowd of 12,040 at Barclays Center. By the time their mostly mundane main event ended, the undefeated Garcia had a won a wide unanimous decision.
Judges Eric Marlinski (117-111), Don Ackerman (116-112) and Steve Weisfeld (116-112) all scored the fight for Garcia by big margins.
Garcia’s convincing victory aside, the bout between an unbeaten three-division champion and a polarizing former four-division champion didn’t deliver the type of action most fans and media expected.
Another disappointing performance left Cincinnati’s Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) with a third 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat in 3½ years against a top opponent. Argentina’s Marcos Maidana and Las Vegas’ Shawn Porter previously beat Broner by large margins in their December 2013 and June 2015 fights, respectively.
Garcia, of Oxnard, California, improved to 37-0 by boxing effectively and intelligently. He also proved he could take the heavier Broner’s most powerful punches.
“This is definitely one of my best performances ever,” Garcia said. “I think I controlled the fight in the early rounds and I kept the activity up. [Broner] is a great fighter who has great skills. I was the superior fighter tonight.
“It was the timing. I’ve always said I have very good timing. It is underestimated when you are outside the ring, but once you get inside the ring with me, I’m a step ahead.”
Garcia opened as a 5-1 favorite after the fight was officially announced June 1. Those odds gradually dropped to around 2-1 before the fight began Saturday night, but Garcia proved that odds-makers had it right from the beginning.
“It was a good fight,” Broner said. “At the end of the day, I come to fight, I come to win and I put my heart on the line. It was Tom & Jerry – I had to catch the mouse.”
According to unofficial CompuBox statistics, Garcia landed 244-of-783 overall punches, 119 more than Broner (125-of-400).
CompuBox counted 152-of-328 power punches and 92-of-455 jabs for Garcia. Broner landed 53-of-239 jabs and 72-of-161 power shots, according to CompuBox.
Broner tried to land a fight-changing punch throughout an action-packed 12th round, but Garcia fired back hard shots of his own and secured his wide win.
Garcia regained control of the fight in the 11th round, after Broner had some success in the ninth and 10th rounds.
Broner had his moments in the 10th round, during which he landed a left hook that knocked Garcia off-balance and followed with a straight right hand.
Way down on the scorecards, Broner got Garcia’s attention late in the ninth round. That’s when he hit Garcia with back-to-back body shots, a right and a left, that slowed down Garcia.
An aggressive Garcia attacked Broner in the eighth round and landed hard shots as Broner backed against the ropes.
Garcia spent the seventh round landing combinations against Broner, who continued to move around, without throwing many punches. Garcia drilled Broner with a right hand toward the end of the seventh round, but Broner took it well.
Garcia was the busier, better fighter during the sixth round, when he landed punches in combination and Broner’s punch out-put remained low.
It wasn’t until the start of the fifth round that Broner began throwing punches with any regularity. Garcia fired back later in the fifth, when they traded several stiff jabs.
Garcia also snapped back Broner’s head with a straight right hand, when there were about 25 seconds to go in the fifth round
Garcia landed a left hand that got the crowd’s attention at about the 1:25 mark of the third round. Broner shook his head to indicate to Garcia and the crowd that he wasn’t hurt.
A few moments later, Garcia tried to land a bunch of power shots to Broner’s head, but Broner mostly blocked those with his gloves. A right uppercut by Garcia appeared to land, though not flush, during that sequence.
Garcia landed a hard right hand to Broner’s body with about 20 seconds to go in the second round. Broner spent much of that round moving away from Garcia, just as he did during the first round.
Broner and Garcia used most of the first round to feel each other out, with Garcia pushing the action and Broner backing away from him.
Garcia moved up from 135 pounds to 140 to battle Broner because it was bigger than any fight he could’ve taken at lightweight and he didn’t want to wait around for title unification fight.
Broner – who has won world titles at 130, 135, 140 and 147 pounds – moved down from 147 pounds to face Garcia.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.