By: Sean Crose
Admittedly, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Mikey Garcia, who will be entering a junior welterweight fight this weekend, has a huge mountain to climb. For the undefeated Californian’s opponent Saturday night at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center will be none other than Adrien “The Problem” Broner, a fighter some consider washed up, but who has enormous talent nonetheless and who appears to be taking the challenge Garcia presents quite seriously, to boot. Sure enough, the brash Broner has a personality better suited for contemporary superstardom than Garcia does…even though Garcia might well be the better boxer.
Flashy, showy and completely obnoxious, Broner has those assets modern society can’t get enough of. His fights, even against less than stellar opposition, still bring in nice ratings, and he’s a fighter people love to watch perhaps because of who he is rather than what he can do in the ring. Sure, Broner has – thankfully – toned it down a bit over the years, but the guy knows what to sell the public…and in the Mayweather-McGregor era, that ain’t talent (or at least not talent alone). Still, Broner has allowed himself to face a serious opponent this weekend, one which most expect to defeat him, and that brings us to the question of what happens if Garcia wins.
First off, the man will be a darling of hardcore boxing fans should he vanquish Broner on Saturday. Beating Broner, boxing’s great heel before a certain Irishman came around, is good for one’s career. Yet, it’s worth keeping in mind that Garcia is a serious man who takes his work seriously, and that sort of thing simply doesn’t sell outside of the narrow margins of hardcore fandom. People want flash – and lots of it. Talent and ability – and Garcia has plenty of both – merely complement personality as far today’s larger public is concerned. Achievement alone is most decidedly NOT something to hang one’s hat on. At least that’s generally true in the minds of those who have the power to elevate a pay per view event to over a million buys.
Still, nice guys CAN finish first. It just takes them a lot longer to be grudgingly accepted by the public at large. Rather than flash wads of cash in front of people, Garcia will have to do the hard – the very hard – work of rolling over one top level opponent after another if he wishes to be truly admired. Broner, on the other hand, need only beat Garcia and immediately start shooting off his mouth in order to get serious attention.
As Donald Fagen once sang:
“The things you think are precious, I can’t understand.”