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Broner’s trainer: Mikey Garcia struggled to make weight

Image: Broner’s trainer: Mikey Garcia struggled to make weight

By Dan Ambrose: Mike Stafford, the trainer for Adrien “The Problem” Broner, says he knows that Mikey Garcia had to struggle hard to get down to the contract weight of 140 pounds for their weigh-in on Friday. Stafford says Mikey was running on the treadmill before the weigh-in to take the last bit of weight off. Mikey (36-0, 30 KOs) made the weight with a half-pound to spare in weighing in at 139.5 lbs. Broner weighed in at 138.75 lbs.

Mikey, 29, looked soft around the middle after making weight though. He looked like he was carrying extra fat. Stafford was amused that Broner came in lighter than Mikey, and he’s the bigger guy. Errol Spence Jr. gave his thoughts on the Broner-Garcia weigh-in, and he says that Mikey is a true 140 pounder, not a 135 pounder. Mikey boils down to 135 to fight smaller guys than himself, but he’s really a true 140 lb. fighter. That might explain why Mikey has been able to get so many knockouts in the 126, 130 and 135 lb. divisions. Mikey boils down in weight and then rehydrates into the 140s. He should have moved up in weight to the light welterweight division a long time ago.

“He looked like he struggled making the weight,” said Broner’s trainer Mike Stafford to “We wasn’t struggling at all. He’s the 135 pounder,” said Stafford about Mikey Garcia. “He should have weighed in less than we did. We weighed in less than him. I told you we could make 135. Mikey had to run this morning. He was on the treadmill this morning to make the weight.”

What I’ve noticed about Garcia is used to knocking guys out quickly in his fights. When he’s not able to knock out a pressure fighter, he starts to fade, and he seems to get nervous and stressed out. If Broner puts pressure on Garcia the entire time and makes it through the first 6 rounds, we could see an upset tonight. I don’t know that you can call it a true upset, because Broner is the more accomplished fighter than Garcia. If this fight had taken place in 2011, boxing fans would very likely be picking Broner to win, as he was destroying everyone in the lighter weight classes at super featherweight in the same way Garcia is now.

If it’s true that Mikey had to struggle to get down to the 140-lb. limit for the fight, then he might be weight drained or sluggish on Saturday night. When a fighter has to struggle to make weight, they frequently end up drained for the fight. More important than Mikey being potentially drained from having to make weight is the excess weight that he’ll be carrying around for the fight. Mikey isn’t the young fighter that was worn down by Orlando Salido in 2013. He’s older now, and he’s likely less capable of moving for the full 12 rounds if he’s not able to handle the pressure from Adrien. What I noticed about Mikey from his fight against Salido is he didn’t like getting hit at all. Mikey was trying HARD not to get hit by Salido. Once Garcia started to take shots, he began to move quite a bit. By the 7th and 8th, Garcia was looking like he was fading. There was a lot of time left in the contest, and it was quite clear that Mikey wasn’t going to be able to keep moving without him gassing out. The holding and the pushing off of Salido wasn’t working to keep him from getting his shots in. Salido kept nailing Mikey with body shots. What may have saved Mikey from being knocked out in the fight was a clash of heads that occurred in the 8th that broke his nose. It wouldn’t have occurred in my opinion if Mikey wasn’t trying to clinch Salido. Facial injuries often happen when you get a fighter that is trying to clinch a lot like Mikey was doing. That wasn’t Salido’s fault that Mikey suffered a broken nose. It was Mikey’s. If he would have just fought the Mexican warrior without resorting to holding so often to negate his inside fighting, he would have been fine. In the end, the injury probably saved Mikey’s hide, because he was very tired from running and being forced to fight at a high pace.

”Mikey and them thought they were going to get $500,000 dollars, and that was the whole plan for them to throw us off; so he couldn’t make weight so they can get money,” said Stafford in complaining about the strict $500,000 weight penalty for the fight. ”It’s a money fight. That shouldn’t have even been in the contract. I don’t make weight, he got to pay me $500,000. Who does that? They know that. That was unfair to Adrien. It was a do or die thing for Adrien. That’s not fair. They shouldn’t have even put that over his head. We’re going to take it,” said Stafford.

Stafford isn’t happy about the $500K weight penalty for the fight, and you can’t blame him. That was something that obviously put in the contract to impact Broner, who has a recent history of weight problems. With the Broner-Garcia fight not being a true title match, there was no point at all in there being a big $500,000 weight penalty. This isn’t a pay-per-view match. I know the World Boxing Council threw in their WBC Diamond light welterweight title recently for Broner and Garcia to fight over tonight, but that’s not a true title of any distinction compared to the more established belts. I see the WBC Diamond strap as a trinket title. The weight penalty was part of the contract before the WBC Diamond trinket title was thrown in. Broner should have insisted that the weight penalty not be part of the fight contract. That was a mistake for Broner, the more popular fighter, to agree to the weight penalty. That move made Broner look like he was the B-side fighter. Mikey needs Broner more than vice versa in my opinion. Broner could have walked away from the fight when they started talking weight penalty. That’s what I would have done. I bet that Mikey and his team would have changed their tune and forgotten about the weight penalty if Broner walked away, because it’s not as if they have a lot of options for big fights. A fight against Vasyl Lomachenko might not ever take place. Mikey and Lomachenko have both been talking to the media about them fighting each other, but it’s been over a year and still nothing has happened. Mikey could wait years for a fight with Lomachenko to take place. By then, he’d be in his 30s, and possibly slowing down.

Mikey Garcia’s trainer Robert Garcia believes that Broner’s handlers made the mistake of letting him get too low for his weight. Broner weighed in at 138, and he took off a little bit too much weight in coming in 2 pounds under the 140-lb. weigh-in limit. Robert is likely counting on Broner being weakened from having dropped too low in his estimation. We’ll see if Robert is right about that when Garcia and Broner get inside the ring tonight.

“That tells me that whoever is handling his weight, they let him go too low,” said Robert Garcia in addressing Broner’s weight at Friday’s weigh-in. “Why would he come in at 138 pounds when the contract is for 140.”

I don’t think the weight is going to be an issue for Broner unless he took too much weight off during training camp. We don’t know how much Broner weighed when he started training camp. If Broner took off 30 or more pounds during this latest camp, then there’s cause for concern. That’s a lot of weight for a fighter to drop. If that’s pure fat that Broner trimmed off to get down to his fighting weight, it might hurt him tonight. We’ll have to see. Taking off a lot of fat is never good for a fighter going into an important fight like tonight’s Broner vs. Garcia fight. What Broner has going for him in this fight is he’s the bigger and stronger guy, and he has the superior fight experience. Broner’s past opponents Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter would probably easily beat everyone that Mikey has fought. There’s no one on Mikey’s resume that you can say would beat Porter and Maidana. Salido wouldn’t beat those guys. They’d be too big for Salido.

“I’m going for Adrien Broner,” said Errol Spence. “I think 140 is probably his real weight class,” said Spence about Mikey. “135, 140, I don’t think he had an easy time making weight. Everybody comes down in weight hard.”

Mikey is definitely a light welterweight and not a lightweight. He’s doing what we’ve seen Saul Canelo Alvarez and many other fighters do in the past in draining down to fight in a weight class that is below his natural weight. Mikey fighting guys at 135 gives him his best chance of excelling. If Mikey had to fight in his true weight class at 140 against guys like Terence Crawford, he probably wouldn’t do nearly as well. I rate Crawford as a much better fighter than Mikey. Crawford would easily beat Mikey if the two of them were to fight each other. I don’t know why Mikey hasn’t pushed for that fight. On second thought, I can understand why Mikey hasn’t pushed for the Crawford fight, because he would lose to him. We’re talking about a better overall fighter with Crawford. Mikey is more of an economical slugger, who does well against smaller guys than himself.

“He looked amazing at 135. Hopefully, he’ll look amazing now,” said Spence in talking about Broner. ”Adrien got a lot of dog in him. When Adrien walks towards him, it’s going to be an amazing fight.”

Spence understands what Broner needs to do for him to beat Garcia. He says that he’ll be pressuring Garcia in the second half of the fight. Spence goes on to say that he sees the Garcia-Broner fight as a “chess match” early on with both fighters being cautious of one another. But once Broner gets his offense in gear, he’ll be looking to take Garcia out. It’ll be a risky thing for Broner to wait until the second half of the fight to start pressuring Mikey. In Mikey’s fight against Salido, he built up an early lead and then started running from him to try and milk the lead. Mikey might try and coast if he can take most of the early rounds. He’s obviously not crazy. Mikey isn’t going to want to trade with Broner if he’s unable to hurt him with any of his shots in the first half of the fight. Once Mikey realizes that his power didn’t carry up with him to 140, he’s going to be focusing on using his boxing skills to win the fight. That means we’re going to see a lot of movement, holding and nullifying tactics from Garcia, as he tries to win a points decision over 12 rounds.

“He looked good,” said Paulie Malignaggi about Broner at Friday’s weigh-in. “I think he made weigh really good.”

Malignaggi isn’t worried about Broner being weight drained like some are. He believes he looked good, and he’ll fine tonight when he gets inside the ring.

“You really think I ain’t got power,” said Broner when being interviewed after the weigh-in on Friday. “You ain’t ever seen me before.”

Broner doesn’t like how everyone has been talking about Mikey’s power only, and forgetting that he’s a good puncher as well. With 24 knockouts on his resume, Broner is a puncher. He gets his knockouts in a unique way than Mikey though. Broner wears his opponents down with an accumulation of hard blows. Mikey is more of a one-punch type of knockout guy. When facing the elite, it’s better to be the type of knockout guy that can throw more punches. Fighters that typically don’t throw a lot of punches to get their knockouts tend to get tired when they’re finally forced to throw a lot of shots. We may see that with Mikey tonight. If he can’t knockout Broner throwing 10 punches per round, he’s going to in a situation where he’ll need to increase his punch volume. Given that Mikey isn’t used to throwing a lot of shots, he could get outworked and beaten down by Broner.

“Him doing down to 138, I think that showed he is ready for the fight,” said Shawn Porter about Broner. “He looked good. He worried me a little bit with all the bouncing around. He showed everyone, which is what you want to see from a fighter before the fight at the weigh-in.”

Broner lost to Porter by a 12 round unanimous decision in 2015. That was a fight that Broner looked like he wasn’t mentally and physically ready for. Broner reacted badly to the pressure that Porter was putting on him. Instead of holding his ground and coming straight to Porter, Broner used a lot of holding and moving. It was a bad strategy for him. Broner changed things up in the 12th round and went on the attack of Porter. Not surprisingly, Broner dropped Porter and was dominating him as the fight ended. It was too late though for Broner, as he’d given away too many early rounds. What the fight showed is that Broner is better when he goes straight at power punchers instead of backing off and trying to spoil. Broner didn’t learn his lesson from his loss to Maidana in 2013. In his defeat to Maidana, Broner backed up to the ropes and let Maidana get his shots off. Maidana knocked Broner down twice in the fight. Later in the fight when Broner started to come forward in the 11th and 12h, he hurt Maidana and was getting the better of him. The good news about tonight’s fight, as far as Broner is concerned, is Mikey fights nothing like Porter and Maidana. Mikey isn’t a pressure fighter. He’s a boxer/puncher. He doesn’t throw a lot of shots, as he’s not capable of doing that. Mikey likely has stamina issues that prevent him from throwing a lot of shots. But more importantly, Mikey does not like getting hit. Fighters that throw a lot of shots get hit more than ones that throw fewer and move a lot.

“He looked good,” said Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe about Broner. “He’ll get a couple of meals in. He’ll be the bigger, stronger fighter tomorrow night, and they’ll see what a mistake they made not to pick him,” said Ellerbe. “He looked a little soft,” said Ellerbe about Mikey. “I’m picking a late round stoppage. I think Broner stops him late in the fight. I think he’s got a chip on his shoulder, and he wants to prove all these critics wrong. He’s in the perfect position to do it because he controls what happens tomorrow night, not the media. He’s in control when he steps up. It’s just him and Mikey in that ring tomorrow night,” said Ellerbe.

I think Ellerbe is right about Mikey looking soft around his body. Mikey didn’t work hard to burn off the fat during training camp. He probably thought he had 5 extra pounds to work with, so he didn’t bother putting in a lot of effort to take off the weight. This could turn around and bite him on the backside tonight when he gets inside the ring with Broner.

“I’ll come out victorious,” said Mikey.

Mikey is sounding very confident, isn’t he? I hope he doesn’t go to pieces tonight if Broner doesn’t fall apart immediately like the opposition his promoters have been matching him with his entire career. Ellerbe says Mikey has been carefully matched by his promoters to put him in with the right guys that would make him look good.

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