In one of the most anticipated fights of the summer, two of boxing's biggest names, Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia, will square off in a 12-round non-title junior welterweight bout that both have said is a career-defining bout as they face their most famous opponent yet.
The fight goes down on Saturday (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where former four-division titlist Broner will move down one division and reigning lightweight world titleholder Garcia, one of the world's best pound-for-pound fighters, will move up one weight class.
The fight came about when Garcia was not able to land a significant money fight or unification bout at lightweight and Broner had the same issue at welterweight. So instead of headlining separate Showtime-televised cards this summer, as was the original plan, voila! A big fight was born with them agreeing to meet at a weight in between where they had been boxing.
"I'm prepared to go 12 hard rounds with Adrien Broner," Garcia said on Thursday. "This is a high-profile fight, probably more than my other fights. It's created a lot of buzz amongst fans and media. Everyone is anticipating a great fight. This is a great matchup that can take me to the next level.
"I don't think that he's going to be desperate but he knows that I'm not an easy opponent. That's why he's taken camp so seriously. I expect him to be at his best and be ready. He knows that if he beats me he can launch his career back to where it was."
Broner, the heavy underdog, has been written off by many as an underachiever, though he has won three fights in a row. But problems making weight (more on that later), outside-the-ring issues (jail time, suicide threats) and inconsistent performances (such as in a hard-fought split decision with Adrian Granados in February) have many heavily favoring Garcia, a supremely disciplined, technically gifted fighter with good speed and power.
"I feel like my back is against the wall," Broner said. "Everybody is counting me out once again. Don't get me wrong -- he can fight, he can box. But, at the end of the day, I just don't see him beating me.
"This is going to be a great fight for boxing. I've done my due diligence. I'm going to take care of business. I just know myself and know what I'm capable of. Every fight is a must-win in this sport. There's no fight you go into with a loss on your mind. I'm going to put on a show on Saturday."
In the co-feature, former junior middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo (25-0, 19 KOs), 27, of Houston, is moving up in weight to face Argentina's Jorge Sebastian Heiland (29-4-2, 16 KOs), 30, in a middleweight title elimination bout for the right to become one of unified champion Gennady Golovkin's mandatory challengers.
This is your ESPN.com Ringside Seat for Broner-Garcia:
Adrien Broner (33-2, 24 KOs) vs. Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs)
What's at stake
There is no title on the line, but because Broner and Garcia are two major names who cares? The fight has generated a lot of interest from fans because they both have fan-friendly styles, contrasting personalities and backgrounds and big names. Both deserve respect for going after each other.
For Cincinnati's Broner, his career as a headlining, A-side is clearly on the line. A win will be a rebirth of his turbulent career. It would be, by far, his biggest victory.
"I think he is motivated because it's a big fight, one where he can try to get his career back on track and try to be a superstar like he has been in past big fights," Garcia said. "He didn't perform so well in his past fight against Granados and this is an opportunity for him to jump back and be a superstar again."
A loss? Well, that will be a problem for the fighter who goes by the nickname "The Problem," and likely relegate him to big-name steppingstone opponent at age 28 (which he turned on Friday).
As always, Broner -- whose two defeats came at welterweight to Marcos Maidana in 2013 and Shawn Porter in 2015 -- brushed off his underdog status.
"Just know that I'll be ready on Saturday night," he said. "I laugh when people write me off. I'm used to being the underdog coming from where I come from. People don't know what I've been through to get to this point. I'm blessed to be where I'm at. Saturday night there will be a lot more room on the bandwagon.
"We'll see who's on the pound-for-pound list after Saturday night. We could have fought years ago but the time is now and I'm ready. I'm glad that the Garcia team took this fight as quickly as we did. I've been taking everything seriously in (training camp in) Colorado.
"I don't care about being the underdog because at the end of the day, man, I don't make no money off of that. They're just some gambling people, man."
Garcia owns wins against Orlando Salido and a faded Juan Manuel Lopez and looked awesome when he reduced Dejan Zlaticanin to rubble in taking his lightweight world title by third-round knockout on Jan. 28.
But a resounding victory over Broner would be Garcia's biggest yet and continue to drive home the point that he is one of boxing's best despite fighting for only the third time since he went idle for 2½ years while battling over his contract with former promoter Top Rank.
"I'm going to look to box effectively and show that I'm the better fighter," Garcia said. "We're both smart fighters but neither of us will run from the other. When you have styles like ourselves, with two guys who like to exchange punches, you're in for a great battle.
"If I can get this win, I just want to keep moving forward and fulfilling my dreams. I want to be in huge fights consistently. This is a crossroads fight for both of us to get to that level. I'm here to prove that I'm back and stronger than ever. This is another opportunity to show the kind of fighter that I am. I won't let Adrien Broner stand in my way. This is my chance to show the best version of myself."
The weight, always the weight
Broner's fight with Granados was at welterweight because Broner's weight struggles caused his team to force the contract weight to be increased a couple of weeks ahead of time. Broner's weight issues are well documented.
Broner lost his junior lightweight world title because he didn't make weight for a defense against Vicente Escobedo in 2012. In April 2016, Broner was stripped of his junior welterweight title for blowing weight for a defense against Ashley Theophane. So it was a surprise to some that Broner agreed to make 140 pounds to fight Garcia, but he swears it won't be an issue and that it won't hamper him.
Of course, if he doesn't make weight it will cost him dearly: $500,000. That prospect of such an enormous fine is big motivation for Broner to be on weight.
"Now I got a reason to make 140, but I ain't giving nobody a half million dollars," he said. "I mean, I'll probably give somebody $10. I ain't going to give nobody half a million."
Garcia, perhaps the only one, said he wasn't too concerned about Broner's weight.
"I think Adrien will be fine with the weight," Garcia said. "He's a pro and he knows that he really has to make weight. He's learned from his mistakes. Sometimes he jokes around but that's just part of his character. He takes things a lot more seriously because he's facing me."
Garcia moving on up
While Broner's weight has been cause for concern, not so with Garcia, 29, of Moreno Valley, California, who figures to easily make 140. So much so that he has left open the prospect of returning to 135 pounds to defend his lightweight title if a big fight presents itself.
"As far as the weight, that's never been a problem and it's just training hard, getting in shape," said Garcia, who is trained by his brother Robert Garcia, who trained Maidana for his win over Broner. "That's the No. 1 thing. We just actually are eating a little bit more than usual to keep the weight higher. I just feel very comfortable right now.
"The weight makes sense to me for this type of fight; 135-pounds is probably my best division. But I don't think this will be much different. I'll make weight a little more comfortably and still keep my speed and power."
As for the future, Garcia added, "I still have plans on coming down to 135 to unify the titles or having a big title defense at lightweight. But after being in boxing so long and learning the politics of the business, you got to be flexible. I'm not going to sit around, wait for a fight and chase anybody. I'm here to take on the biggest fights available, the biggest challenge available, whether that means at 135 or at 140 or possibly even 147."
--Broner: 33-2 (24 KO); 4-1 in last 5 fights. No. 10-ranked welterweight by ESPN
--Broner: 5-2 (2 KO) against current or former world champions
--Broner: Held titles in four weight classes (junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight
--Garcia: 36-0 (30 KO); 4 KO in last 5 fights. No. 2-ranked lightweight by ESPN
--Garcia: 7-0 (6 KO) against current or former world champions
--Garcia: Current WBC lightweight champion, former champ at featherweight and junior lightweight. First career fight at 140-pound limit