Mikey Garcia unanimously outpointed Adrien Broner on Saturday night to remain undefeated.
Garcia controlled his first fight at 140 pounds, particularly with body shots he was able to sneak in below Broner’s defense, and won 117-111 on one card and 116-112 on the other two.
A former champion in three lower weight classes, Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) never seriously hurt Broner but dictated the action for most of the 12 rounds, landing nearly twice as many punches according to post-fights stats.
“This is definitely one of my best performances ever. I think I controlled the fight in the early rounds and I kept the activity up,” Garcia said. “(Broner) is a great fighter who has great skills. I was the superior fighter tonight.”
Broner (33-3, 24 KOs) lost a fight he probably needed to win to prove he is worthy of still being considered one of boxing’s headliners and capable of beating some of the sport’s best. It was better than some of his recent performances, but not good enough against a fighter of Garcia’s caliber.
“At the end of the day I’m still a four-time world champion at four different weight classes and I’ll still be in the history books,” Broner said.
Broner, who turned 28 on Friday, had won titles in three divisions by 23 and later added a fourth. But losses and lethargic performances even in his wins, along with legal problems outside the ring, stalled his career that once rose so rapidly.
Garcia, meanwhile, remains on a roll and continued his dominant run over the last year since returning from a 2 1/2-year layoff while he battled contractual issues. He can now weigh options that could be presented to him in multiple weight classes. He said he’d like to go back to 135 pounds in search of regaining a title, but was open to staying at 140 or even moving up to 147 if the right opportunity was available.
He consistently backed Broner into the ropes and landed hard body shots. Broner repeatedly shook his head that none of them hurt and he fought back well, but they were enough to win the majority of the rounds.
Garcia, 29, had stopped 19 of his last 21 opponents. He had to settle for just beating Broner, but perhaps his knockout power will return if he drops back down in weight.
Garcia cracked Broner with shots all over in the seventh, his most dominant round of the fight, but Broner actually began to perform better from there.
He scored well to the body in the ninth and had a crowd that was chanting “Mikey! Mikey!” a couple rounds earlier cheering for him. But Garcia went back to work in the 10th with precision punching, pumping his fist as he returned to his corner after the round.
There was no title at stake — they fought for a manufactured prize called the WBC Diamond Belt super lightweight championship — but it was clearly a big bout for both. Garcia was able to beat the biggest name yet he’s faced, which should help as he seeks the mainstream attention that’s so far eluded him.
Broner needed to show there’s substance with his style. The former Floyd Mayweather protege had lost twice after moving up to welterweight, was twice stripped of titles for failing to make weight and served jail time among his repeated legal troubles.
But he said he was focused for this fight after taking his training camp to Colorado and he made weight easily — no doubt enticed by the $500,000 fine he faced if he didn’t — actually weighing less that Garcia at under 139 pounds.
But Garcia frustrated him with his movement and made it hard for Broner to follow up any time he did have any good moments.
“It was `Tom and Jerry,“’ Broner said. “I had to catch the mouse.”