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Adrien Broner finds motivation as underdog to Mikey Garcia

Adrien Broner, left, and Mikey Garcia at a

Adrien Broner, left, and Mikey Garcia at a news conference at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2017, to promote their fight on July 29. Credit: Amanda Westcott

It’s an understatement to say Adrien Broner’s nickname — “The Problem” — is well-earned. Twice he has either lost a title or a shot at a vacant title at the weigh-in by failing to make weight, and the flamboyant fighter knows his social habits outside the ring have compromised his performance at times.

There’s no title at stake when Broner (33-2, 24 KOs) meets WBA lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs), who is moving up from the 135-pound class to face him at the 140-pound junior welterweight level on July 29 at Barclays Center, but Broner admitted there is plenty of money at stake.

“Weight is not a problem,” said Broner, who last fought as a 147-pound welterweight in a February win over Adrian Granados. “Now, I’ve got a reason to make 140. They’re talking about me giving up a half million if I don’t make weight . . . Listen, I’m very generous, but we ain’t giving up no half mil.”

The opportunity to face a superb boxer like Garcia and get his own career back on track obviously got Broner’s attention. Rather than train in his familiar stomping grounds of Cincinnati or Washington, D.C., where he admits being tempted by “distractions,” he and trainer Mike Stafford are returning to Colorado Springs to train as Broner did when he was an amateur.

“In Colorado Springs, there’s nothing to do but look at mountains and box,” Broner said.

Just 14 months ago, Broner was the WBA 140-pound champion, but even though he won a defense against Ashley Theophane, he lost the title by coming in a half-pound over the limit, and he didn’t even bother to try and lose that weight and get on the scale a second time. But now, Broner knows he must get serious.

“After my last fight, I told the team, I told my coach, I told my Mom, I told everybody, I was like, ‘It’s time to go back to the drawing board, go back to what we know. Get to work,’” Broner said. “Just know, man, that a focused Adrien Broner is very, very dangerous for anybody.”

Garcia has been installed by oddsmakers as a 5-to-1 favorite, which Broner said “is like a spit in my face,” but he takes Broner’s decision to train in Colorado as a sign that he’s serious.

“People think that he’s inconsistent, and maybe that’s why they consider me a favorite,” Garcia said. “But he can box, he can bang, and he has speed and power. He’s one hell of a fighter. You can’t deny that.”


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