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Don’t Admonish Adrien Broner; Mikey Garcia Put on a Clinic

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Sometimes you see a fighter for the first time and you just know he’s the genuine article. And that’s exactly what I sensed the first time I watched Mikey Garcia 37-0 (30) fight. In fifty-plus years of watching boxing and observing fighters, Mikey Garcia is easily one of the top10 most fundamentally sound and mistake-free I’ve seen. Garcia has a high boxing aptitude and great intuition. Couple that with his determination, toughness and desire to be great, and you have a special fighter, one who must be considered among boxing’s top five pound-for-pound practitioners today.

Leading up to this past weekend’s fight between Garcia and Adrien Broner 33-3 (24), many questioned Broner’s dedication and pondered what type of effort he’d give. When he weighed in at 138.8, more than a pound under the 140 stipulated weight, it was widely assumed Adrien took his training seriously and would at the least, if he didn’t win, give Garcia the toughest bout of his career. But Broner lost a unanimous decision and I don’t think the fight was as close as the officials scored it (117-111, 116-112 and 116-112). I scored it 118-110 (10-2 by rounds) for Garcia.

It was only the third defeat of Broner’s career, the other two coming against Marcos Maidana (UD-12) and Shawn Porter (UD-12), both formidable former world title holders. The difference in the three losses is that whereas Maidana and Porter out-toughed and out- worked Broner, Mikey Garcia outclassed him. Never at any point during the bout was Broner in control, opposed to his tussles with Maidana and Porter, where Adrien had some big moments and looked at times to be their equal.

However, I think in the post-fight fog, Broner is being excoriated more than is warranted.

In my pre-fight article I said….”Broner, 27, is a gifted freelancer who doesn’t go into his fights with a detailed objective. Adrien relies on his speed, over-exaggerated shoulder-roll and ability to put his punches together and pick his spots to win rounds. He fights in spurts and is a little bit of a con in the ring. Garcia, 29, is a fighter who does things the way the textbook calls for them to be done. He doesn’t make technical mistakes, his punches are precise and delivered on balance and his subtle pressure can force his opponents into mistakes if they rush things trying to occupy or disrupt him. On the inside he is terrific and always finds room and angles to punch with authority.”

Mikey Garcia put on a boxing clinic and beat Broner at every turn via out-thinking him and then out-fighting him. As stated before the bout, Broner never approaches his fights with a game plan; he believes his quick hands and feet along with his stop and go flurries will always be enough to carry him through to victory. And against most fighters that’ll usually get the job done…..but Garcia isn’t most fighters.

What Garcia did against Broner was masterful and I’m not sure Broner grasped fully what was happening to him as the fight progressed. Garcia understands timing and distance like few fighters around today, and he also realizes that you don’t have to make an opponent miss by a mile, which leaves you out of position to counter him. All you need to do is make him miss. For 12 rounds, due to him always being in range and at the perfect distance, Garcia made Broner miss by millimeters and then made him pay….and Broner knew it wasn’t by accident. This forced him to over-compensate by virtue of sometimes not punching enough to avoid the counter -or- he cut loose too recklessly, hoping to keep Garcia on the defense.

Adrien Broner is a flashy fighter. He’ll never be confused for being a cerebral fighter, but against Garcia he actually tried to change things up and resort to a plan-B and even plan-C….but that has gone unmentioned since PaulieMalignaggistated it during the broadcast.

Broner began the fight using his legs, moving to the left while flicking out his jab – hoping to counter and pepper Garcia when he tried to close the distance. The problem was Garcia was using a lot of half steps, making Broner believe he was coming into his range. That forced Adrien to initiate too soon. Garcia read it and countered him straight on. Broner wasn’t sure why he was getting hit, at least I don’t think he was. But what he understood was a change was needed. So he then tried the old shoulder lean as he walked to Garcia with his left jab extended as a decoy, once again hoping to induce Garcia to over-commit. And when Garcia saw the switch, he knew Broner couldn’t punch with authority from that position and instead of inching forward in half steps, Mikey baited Broner to pursue quicker than he wanted instead of inching forward and then BAM…..he countered Adrien with counter rights and lefts, and then picked a side to work his left and right hooks, and perfectly placed uppercuts.

During the final rounds Broner was desperate and really tried to force the fight. Mikey smartly gave ground, understood Adrien was fighting with urgency and moved just enough to where he was in position to pay Broner back when he stopped to reload. It was a thing of beauty watching Garcia use his perfect footwork to keep him out of harm’s way, but yet in position to counter. There were countless gaps of the fight in which Garcia lulled Broner into punching at air, missing by a morsel, time after time.

Garcia had Broner in a real catch-22. When Broner cut loose, he just missed and was hit cleanly in return. And when he tried to be more judicious with his offense, Garcia walked him down with nothing coming back at him. Broner tried, but once his speed and ability to make Garcia do a single thing he didn’t want to do was nullified, he had to wing it, and nobody is beating Garcia by winging it. If it wasn’t for Broner’s advantage in size and strength, he would’ve really been beaten up. It was obvious watching the fight that Broner was the bigger and stronger fighter physically.

Garcia was brilliant and his superior fundamentals and aptitude trumped Broner’s advantage in physicality. It was also obvious that lightweight is where Garcia belongs. He hit Broner, who isn’t the bravest fighter around when things aren’t going his way, with his Sunday punches and Adrien never looked like he wanted out or feared trading with him.

Adrien Broner is an easy target to rip for many reasons and he has no one to blame for that but himself. But he did take the fight with Garcia seriously and was in great shape. He never stopped trying to win it, but he didn’t have an answer for anything Garcia did. Mikey Garcia is an efficient technician and everything he does in the ring has a purpose, unlike many fighters who do things that serve no purpose but sometimes look unique and cool. Instead of admonishing Adrien Broner for the loss, Garcia should be lauded for his stellar performance. Not many fighters could dominate Broner and nullify all that he tried the way Mikey did, and it wasn’t an accident.

Mikey Garcia dominated Adrien Broner not necessarily because he’s more skilled……he dominated because he is a straight-up better and smarter boxer, from top to bottom, inside and out. Broner is the same fighter every time out. The rudimentary things he never took the time to learn became very apparent against the best technician in boxing.

Garcia fought perhaps the most complete fight of his career against the best fighter he has yet fought in Adrien Broner, but he’s not a junior welterweight, he’s a lightweight. There are some great fights for Mikey Garcia at 135 if he can get Jorge Linares or VasylLomachenko in the ring with him.

It easy to say Broner is a bum, but he’s not….”The Problem” was that Garcia was efficient and purposeful. He was terrific.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

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High Drama at Turning Stone where Ford Rallied to Overcome Kholmatov

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Top Rank Promotions was at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York, tonight with a 9-bout card topped by a pair of world featherweight title fights. The main go for the WBA diadem vacated by Leigh Wood shaped up as a fan-friendly match and exceeded expectations. In a doozy of a fight, Raymond Ford pulled the fight out of the fire in the final minute, halting Otabek Kholmatov to become the third man from Camden, New Jersey to win a world title following in the footsteps of Jersey Joe Walcott and Dwight Muhammad Qawi.

This was a match with several twists and turns. Kholmatov, a 25-year-old Uzbek who resides in south Florida when he isn’t training with the Diaz brothers in the California desert, started fast, forcing Ford to change his tactics and become more of the aggressor. Heading into the final round, Kholmatov was ahead by three points on two of the scorecards while Ford had a 1-point advantage on the other. Moreover, it appeared as if the momentum had shifted back in favor of the Uzbek. But Ford, bleeding from a cut under his left eye, saved his best for last. He landed a punch that began a sequence that ended with Kholmatov turning his back on Ford as he reeled drunkenly into a corner post. There were 7 seconds remaining in the fight when referee Charlie Fitch waived it off.

Ford, with his promoter Eddie Hearn in attendance, improved his ledger to 15-0-1 with his eighth win inside the distance. It was the first pro loss for Kholmatov who had knocked out 11 of his previous 12 opponents and went to post a small favorite.

Co-Feature

The ESPN announcing crew created the impression that the IBF title fight between Luis Alberto Lopez and Reiya Abe was a 50/50 fight, but the oddsmakers who installed Lopez an 8/1 favorite knew better. Mexicali’s ever-improving Lopez, in his third defense of the title he won in England with an upset of Josh Warrington, dominated from the onset before ending matters in the opening minute of the eighth round.

Abe, 25-3-1 heading in, was making his first start outside Japan. It was all uphill for him after his right eye started to swell shut in the second round. Lopez, who improved to 30-2 (17 KOs) continued to stalk him and finally cranked up the juice in round eight, forcing referee Mark Nelson to step in and save Abe from future punishment. Nelson, to his everlasting credit, took the fight out of the hands of the ring doctor who was remiss in allowing the match to continue as long as it did.

UNDERCARD

A bloody welterweight contest slated for “10” between Atlanta’s Brian Norman Jr (25-0, 19 KOs heading in) and Detroit’s Janelson Bocachica (17-2-1) was called off after three rounds and declared a “no decision.”

Bocachica, blood streaming from a cut in the corner of his left eye, put Norman on the canvas with an overhand right in the opening frame. Norman hadn’t previously been knocked down. Over the next two rounds, Norman suffered a bad cut in the corner of his right eye and Bocachica suffered a cut on his hairline that bled profusely. Replays showed that Bocachica’s cuts were the result of accidental head buts and that Norman’s cut resulted from an elbow.

In a spirited 6-round junior welterweight match for Empire State bragging rights, Syracuse’s Bryce Mills (15-1, 5 KOs) turned away Buffalo’s Gerffred Ngayot, winning a unanimous decision by scores of 58-56 and 60-54 twice.

Mills, 22, brought a large contingent of fans and he rewarded them with a busy-bee performance that animated the crowd. A native of war-torn Congo who has lived in western New York since the age of six, Ngayot declined to 6-2.

In the first stoppage of the evening, Troy Isley, in his second fight with the noted trainer Brian “Bomac” McIntyre in his corner, halted Fresno’s Marcos Hernandez at the 1:30 mark of round seven. A counter right hand did the damage. Hernandez (16-7-2) stumbled face first to the canvas and although he beat the count, referee Mark Nelson properly said “enough.”

This was the best performance of his pro career by Isley (12-0, 5 KOs).

Twenty-year-old Las Vegas bantamweight Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz improved to 11-0 (3 KOs) with a unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Edwin Rodriguez (12-8-2). This was Cashflow’s first fight training under the aforementioned “Bomac.” A 30-year-old father of four who has never been stopped, Rodriguez was never in serious danger.

Tokyo Olympian Rohan Polanco, a Dominican who has been training in Massachusetts, advanced to 12-0 (7) with a dominant 8-round decision over Tarik Zaina. The scores were 78-72 and 79-71 twice. Polanco scored knockdowns in each of the last two rounds, the first more of a push but the second legitimate and he would have likely won by stoppage if the bout had lasted 10 seconds longer. It was the first pro loss for the Morocco-born Zaina (13-1-1) who fights out of Tijuana.

Las Vegas middleweight Nico Ali Walsh (10-1, 1 NC 5 KOs) won a workmanlike 6-round decision over Cincinnati’s Charles Stanford (7-6). The judges had it 59-55 and 60-54 twice.

Ali Walsh was making his second start with Ismael Salas in his corner. Stanford, 37, fought 15 days ago at Madison-Square Garden on the undercard of Foster-Nova, losing a 6-round decision to an undefeated opponent.

In the lid-lifter, heavyweight Brandon Moore (14-0, 8 KOs) won a ho-hum 8-round decision over flabby Utah trial horse Helamon Olguin (9-7-1).

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

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Jake Paul KOs Ryan Bourland but Amanda Serrano’s Fight Falls Out

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Jake Paul brought his brand of boxing to Puerto Rico along with Amanda Serrano but it wasn’t all roses and champagne despite another first round knockout by the influencer boxer on Saturday.

Puerto Rican seven-division titlist Serrano was forced to pull out of the featherweight world championship match due to a damaged cornea.

Doctors would not allow her to fight.

“I wanted to fight,” said a tearful Serrano.

No matter, Paul (9-1, 6 KOs) carried the show with a devastating knockout win over American cruiserweight Ryan Bourland (17-3, 6 KOs) before a sold-out crowd of more than 18,000 fans at Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan.

Once again Paul fought a legitimate pro boxer and once again he mowed down another prizefighter via first round knockout. The continuously improving Paul who moved around like a seasoned veteran while punishing the body of Bourland.

Body shots followed by a blazing combination of blows proved too much for North Dakota’s Bourland. After several volleys of blows it was apparent that Paul had hurt the cruiserweight with a left hook to the chin and then a follow-up barrage had Bourland in a save-me-defensive stance. The referee stepped in and stopped the action at 2:37 of the first round.

“I was hoping for more rounds,” said Paul after the speedy knockout. “I’m just to glad to be in Puerto Rico.”

Now making his residence in Puerto Rico, the new age fighter stood behind Serrano as she explained to the crowd that she was not able to fight Germany’s Nina Meinke in the main event due to an eye injury. Apparently, it may have occurred during the braiding of her hair two days ago.

“I want to say I’m so sorry,” Serrano said in tears. “I’m a warrior and I would never agree to cancel a fight.”

Nina Meinke who was poised to challenge Serrano was surprised but supportive of Serrano.

“I’m so sorry. I’m absolutely gutted,” Meinke said.

Paul, whose company Most Valuable Promotions backs her, said that every fan in attendance could get refunds. He also said they would try and re-schedule Serrano versus Meinke in the future.

Other Bouts

Despite 12 rounds of holding and clinching WBO light flyweight titlist Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez (28-3-1) retained the title by unanimous decision over number one challenger Rene Santiago (12-4). It was a strange decision that saw Santiago land the clearer and more accurate punching. Both fighters are from Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico’s Krystal Rosario (3-0) won a very close scrap against Los Angeles fighter Gloria Munguilla (5-1) by majority decision. Rosario was bigger, faster and stronger but Munguilla was able to connect at times with more flush punches.

Actor Wanna Walton (1-0-1) and Californian Joshua Torres (0-1-2) fought to a majority draw after four rounds in a super featherweight fight. Neither fighter fired many blows in the four-round affair.

Christopher Diaz (28-4, 18 KO+s) needed one round to figure out Headley Scott (18-2) before dropping him with a leaping left hook in the second round. After Scott beat the count Diaz connected with another left hook to end the fight.

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 274: Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney in Hollywood, Jake, Amanda and More

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HOLLYWOOD, Ca.- Adorned in a white suit, Ryan “King Ry” Garcia arrived on a big white horse followed by a handful of fair maidens dressed in various colors and some twirling hula hoops into the Avalon Theater on Vine Street on Thursday.

Inside the historic theater that once served as the Hollywood Canteen during World War 2, where actors like Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis and Rita Hayworth greeted soldiers, but this time it was the boxing media waiting.

Garcia (24-1, 20 KOs) will challenge undefeated Devin Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) for the WBC super lightweight world title on April 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. DAZN pay-per-view will stream the Golden Boy Promotions card.

It doesn’t get more Hollywood than this.

Inside the 97-year-old theater, once the two opposing factions arrived, the pageantry turned into a war of words, taunts and accusations.

This is boxing.

Aside from the taunts and words of derision tossed at each other, the Haney father and son combination admitted that Garcia was the one fighter willing to fight Devin.

“He (Garcia) raised his hand when no one else did,” said Bill Haney the father.

Devin Haney sat next to his father on the stage anxious as ever to prove his talent in the prize ring. After his victory over Regis Prograis that followed wins over Vasyl Lomachenko and George Kambosos, the former undisputed lightweight world champion is now dwelling in the super lightweight division and holds the WBC version.

“I was killing myself trying to make the weight,” said Haney about moving up to the 140-pound super lightweight division.

Haney has long been familiar with Ryan Garcia since their amateur days as they met in the boxing ring six times as youths.

“They fought six times in the amateurs with both of them winning three apiece. Now they meet with championship gold and the chance at being the face of American boxing on the line,” said Oscar De La Hoya, the promoter and head of Golden Boy Promotions. “In other words, this one counts!”

Garcia and Haney have taken similar paths.

Garcia fought professionally numerous times in Mexico where it is legal to fight under the age of 18. So did Haney. Both faced unknown opponents, sometimes last-minute changes forced them to fight foes that were not originally scheduled.

As pros, the two similarly and eagerly sought to face the best opponents possible despite their inexperience. Both proved more than capable.

Garcia quickly amassed a surprisingly large following of fans through social media and through his exploits of sudden knockouts from his uncanny speed.

“Everything I have today, I earned it,” said Garcia. “Nobody gave me a handout, I never had money, I’m really a small town boy.”

Haney proved able to defeat veteran world champions feared for their technical expertise with his own buttery-smooth fighting prowess.

“I am happy to be here. I worked hard to be here. I sacrificed a lot to be here, and at the end of the day, the world will see it on April 20,” said Devin Haney.

Next month in Brooklyn the two longtime foes will be performing. Will it be the biggest grossing pay-per-view of the year 2024?

Jake and Amanda

Jake Paul and Amanda Serrano are boxing’s best tag team.

Several years ago, Paul recognized that Serrano, a seven-division world champion Puerto Rican was capable of much more than fighting on the small stage.

Genius.

Paul signed Serrano to his Most Valuable Promotions company and together they have been able to draw a mixture of fans long ignored by other promoters.

Welcome to the age of the influencers.

For the past several years Paul has fought MMA stars, boxers and other social media influencers. And when he signed Serrano she fought Katie Taylor in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden where their fight drew more than a million pay-per-views.

Paul (8-1, 5 KOs) meets Ryan Bourland (17-2, 6 KOs) in an eight-round cruiserweight fight on Saturday March 2, at Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico. DAZN will stream the card.

He will be co-piloting the fight card with the great Amanda Serrano (46-2-1, 30 KOs) who will be defending the undisputed featherweight world championship against Germany’s Nina “the Brave” Meinke (18-3, 4 KOs).

Once again Serrano and Paul will share a very good fight card that also features female super flyweights Krysti Rosario-Ortiz (2-0) and Gloria Munguilla (5-0).

Others on the card include Javon “Wanna” Walton, a featherweight out of Atlanta, Georgia. If he looks familiar there is a reason. He was featured in the Sylvester Stallone film Samaritan and also appeared in the HBO series Euphoria.

Walton has always boxed and now will be a part of the Paul and Serrano team.

Paul has that magic touch for attracting fans to boxing.

Just today Most Valuable Promotions signed Indian prizefighter Neeraj Goyat. The welterweight fighter was recently seen on social media approaching Paul in his training camp and daring the fighter to meet him in the boxing ring. The short video clip attracted more than 150 million views.

Paul, ever the think-out-of-the-box promoter, signed Goyat immediately.

“In just 2.5 years, MVP has organized some of the world’s most significant boxing events, and I’m excited to work with MVP to elevate the status of professional boxing in India and bring attention to boxers from India globally,” said an excited Goyat.

“His viral callouts of Jake Paul certainly got our attention,” said MVP co-founder Nakisa Bidarian.

Out-of-the box thinking.

Fights to Watch (all times Pacific Time)

Sat. DAZN 1:30 p.m. Amanda Serrano (46-2-1) vs Nina Meinke (18-3).

Sat. ESPN+ 2:10 pm Otabek Kholmatov 12-0, 11 KOs) vs. Raymod Ford (14-0-1, 7 KOs); Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) vs Reiya Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs)

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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