Perfect strangers: Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia prepare for July 29

Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia | Photo credit: Scott Hirano / Showtime

In the second leg of a press tour announcing July 29’s junior welterweight showdown between Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe sat on the dais after conducting Tuesday’s press conference, still willing to discuss what had him flabbergasted.

“They completely got this one wrong,” Ellerbe told UCNlive.com. “No damn way Adrien Broner is a plus-500 to anybody other than, say, somebody like a Floyd Mayweather.”

Ellerbe was talking about Broner being a 5-to-1 underdog against Garcia and, while the co-promoter of the event, Lou DiBella, handled yesterday’s presser in New York City — where the fight takes place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, broadcast live on Showtime — Ellerbe got a chance to express his thoughts by heading this one at The Conga Room in downtown Los Angeles.

“This is a 50/50 fight on paper. I was actually shocked and, to me, that’s very disrespectful. Again, I know (trainer) Robert (Garcia) is going to have him beyond prepared but Adrien is going to get up too.”

Getting up for a fight could be the reason oddsmakers came up with those numbers. In his most recent fight against Adrian Granados, the contracted weight of 142 pounds was bumped up to welterweight the week of the fight and it was only a 10-rounder. A split decision over Granados in February added to a current three-fight win-streak but run-ins with the law and the wrong crowd have hindered the positives. Earlier, when it was his turn at the mic, the first thing Broner mentioned were the odds.

“What can I say? 5-to-1 — shit! Can y’all give me my check now so I can put it on myself?” Broner questioned with a laugh. “I’m just thankful. I’ve been through a lot of things in my life. My 27 years, I’ve been through a lot. I’ve accomplished a lot and we’re still here. I had my ups and downs in boxing. This is just a time for me to step up and take whats mine. After this fight, hopefully I get my due diligence, after I beat Mikey. No disrespect to him, I don’t have bad blood but, you know, I’m coming to fuck you up. That’s just that you know ’cause, 5-to-1? I can’t get that off my mind. I’m a bad motherfucker, man.”

Broner wasn’t heated when saying that to Garcia on stage and, it was so matter-of-fact, Garcia just smiled and played along silently. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native seemed to be in a great mood and was his playful self with the media throughout the afternoon — taking extra time and answering every reporter’s question. Eventually, he sat in the empty seat next to Ellerbe on the stage and that’s where he answered a few from this reporter.

Leonard Ellerbe and Broner | Photo credit: Scott Hirano / Showtime

“Boring-ass shit,” replied Broner when asked to describe Colorado Springs, Colorado, in three words. That’s where he’s been training, the past couple of weeks, in preparation for his fight with Garcia and it’s a concerted effort to stay focused for this big fight. “All I have to do there is box,” said Broner. “D.C. and at home, there’s so many distractions but, when I go to Colorado, it’s just eat, sleep, shit and box.”

Broner, 33–2 (24), said he will have no problem making the 140-pound limit. The weigh-in happens to be on his 28th birthday and that weekend, as a whole, serves as a crossroads.

“You don’t gotta keep telling yourself but you don’t ever forget,” answered Broner, on whether he’s been reflecting on his past while secluded in the mountains. “I fell in love with the gym before I fell in love with a girl.”

It isn’t the first time he’s trained up there. Broner has traveled and stayed in Colorado with his longtime trainer Mike Stafford several times during his life and, as he recalled to UCNlive.com, it was more than just taking advantage of the altitude.

“I started bringing Adrien to Colorado Springs when he was 18. One simple reason: I knew if I leave him behind, that nobody could really deal with him. He was at a level then that I knew he was going to be great, so I had to keep the greatness with me because I didn’t want to lose it — because he was a problem.”

AB | Photo credit: Scott Hirano / Showtime

According to Stafford, it was Broner’s idea to head there to train for a fight, which was fine for him, since he considers that as a second home, where he trained American amateurs for the Nationals. “I think he realizes that he’s older, more mature,” Stafford said of Broner’s mental state early in camp. “He’s got a family to feed. All this is starting to hit him. Now he realizes his boxing life is getting shorter and shorter.”

Garcia, 36–0 (30), who took time out to speak with UCNlive.com before the presser began, revealed the same sentiment virtually everyone has about Broner.

“I think he’s a very good fighter, as far as skills go. He’s got speed. He’s got power. He can counterpunch. He definitely does have the abilities — it just depends on which Adrien Broner shows up,” Garcia said. “If he’s 100% focused on the fight, he shows up and performs well. I think the only problem with him has been issues outside the ring. He gets distracted by other things and isn’t always focused and that’s what has hurt him in several fights. When he’s focused, determined and in great shape, he’s one hell of a fighter. He wouldn’t be a four-division world champion, if he didn’t have the skills. You can’t deny that.”

Mikey | Photo credit: Scott Hirano / Showtime

Garcia, 29, has had a blip in his career himself but for much different reasons, even though both men required court appearances. Two-and-a-half years of inactivity was the result of Garcia’s legal battle with Top Rank, regarding his promotional contract — a layoff not even Broner’s troubles could muster.

“It’s probably the most happiest,” Garcia said about his “Knockout of the Year” candidate win over Dejan Zlaticanin last January. “From what I had gone through before and the way we came back, that was a very nice victory for me. This fight coming up is going to be very huge and important for me also.”

While he did fight at 140 pounds against Elio Rojas nearly a year ago in his ring return, Garcia will be moving up in weight since winning the WBC lightweight title from Zlaticanin. When it comes to what he expects to see from Broner and if he thinks it’s more motivating to get up for a fight against man like himself, Garcia replied, “He knows what’s in front of him, so he’s taking things a lot more serious now.”

On July 29, two men will be brought together in a ring in order to prove who’s the better fighter and the winner will look to reap the benefits going forward. They both share a tremendous talent for the sport but, other than that, they couldn’t be anymore different. If boxing didn’t exist or wasn’t introduced into their lives, what they think they’d be doing today reflects how vastly different Broner and Garcia are.

“Probably be either a teacher at a high school or working in law enforcement,” answered Garcia.

“I’ll probably be dead or in jail,” Broner quickly replied to the same question. “Boxing saved my life.”

Boxing can come to Broner’s rescue yet again if he’s able to stay focused in the coming month and, if that is the case indeed, boxing fans are in for another great fight in 2017. Broner made it known that he’s using everything, including the odds, as added motivation for this fight and the “This is a new Adrien Broner” narrative has been rehashed countless times, leaving reason to why the odds are so good — because the goods are so odd.