In a perfect world, Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) really has nothing left to prove. The undefeated young champion has been making waves for years and after a dispute with his former promoter, Top Rank, that left him inactive for almost three years, Garcia has shown that above all he is resilient.
Now on the cusp of virtually another world title in a fourth weight class, Garcia is approaching a greatness that will keep boxing’s trajectory on a very sustainable upswing. Garcia has quietly dominated for years, yet with the lack of attention given to lower weight classes, his accomplishments have slipped under the radar. But diehards will tell you he’s one of the top boxers in the pound-for-pound list.
“I grew up watching boxing my whole life and I never really thought of being a boxer myself,” Garcia told us in an exclusive interview. “But I saw everything with my brother Robert and my Dad and (Fernando) Vargas and it was cool being around it and all that but I never saw myself as a fighter. I never took it serious until I turned 13 or 14. Still, at 16 or 17, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.”
Undefeated three-division world champion Mikey Garcia meets with the media to discuss his upcoming fight against unbeaten IBF Junior Welterweight World Champion Sergey Lipinets. Garcia looks to become only the third fighter in modern history to become a champion at 126, 130, 135 and 140-pounds, joining future Hall of Famers Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao – live Saturday, March.
A 2011 title match with Matt Remillard solidified his career choice and destiny to become one of the best boxers of this generation. Ironically, the fight was also a juxtaposition that showcased just how diverse this new generation of fighters are and how their trajectories can turn in a heartbeat. While Garcia was the co-main event for the showdown at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, a then-undefeated Yuriokis Gamboa was the star and knocked out Jorge Solis in four rounds to become the IBF featherweight and WBA Super featherweight champion. The Gamboa brand is still reeling from his destruction at the hands of rising star Terence Crawford in 2014 while the Garcia train is moving faster than ever despite some initial setbacks.
“Top Rank was a very good promotional company and they do a very good job developing young talent. They take their time, they groom you. They put you in the right position to challenge a certain opponent for a certain title. They find the right way to make you champion, they help you that way. When my contract was up in 2014 they were arguing that there was an extension that was still valid and applied to my contract. I disagreed with that and that’s why we had to go to litigation.
“I actually enjoy the fact that I’m free because I have more options now but when it came to a renegotiation or a new contract it just wasn’t making sense for me and I had to do something.”
After a two and a half year layoff, Garcia returned to face Elio Rojas and proved that the long hours spent in the gym during the layoff kept Garcia in top form. After a fifth-round KO, Garcia went for the WBC lightweight belt held by Dejan Zlaticanin, a feared knock out artist from Montenegro, and Garcia made a statement with his performance.
“After my fight with Rojas, I wanted a title fight. Zlaticanin had just become champion and one of the fighters that should of fought him avoided him so that opened up the doors for me, and I jumped in. There was concern that maybe this was a little too much for me because I was jumping to a different weight class but I felt I was ready and I need to show the world that I’m back.”
The gameplan was masterful between the Garcia clan of pugilistic strategy, a usage of the distance to take advantage of Mikey’s height and reach advantage, work behind the jab and whenever he comes in as the naturally more aggressive puncher that’s when Mikey would catch him with either an uppercut or an overhand right at the right time. That time arrived in the third round.
“Third round he’s coming in just like we practiced. As he comes in I catch him with a right uppercut and then I side step to my left spun a little bit and when he looks back trying to find me that’s when that overhand right came with everything that I had. I was a little worried when we saw he wasn’t able to recover right away, we never wish anything bad on our opponents.”
Next came the biggest test of Mikey’s career in the form of Adrien Broner. Broner possessed the talent and Mayweather type branding ability which made him a public attraction and generated the exposure Garcia deserved. So when their fight was announced, the world went wild with the possibilities of what would happen in the Barclays Center.
On July 29, 2017, three-division world champion Mikey Garcia kept his undefeated record intact with a dominant 12-round performance against Adrien Broner. Garcia returns to the ring against unbeaten IBF Junior Welterweight World Champion Sergey Lipinets on Saturday March 10 on SHOWTIME.
The fight was underwhelming on Broner’s part with Garcia winning by unanimous decision, the three judges scoring the fight 117-111, 116-112, 116-112.
“We knew the size advantage might be a factor. We might not be able to hurt him, we might not be able to knock him down or out and thats why we decided to box him. We can definitely do a rematch if he wins a fight or two that creates that buzz again. As it is right now I donrt have much interest in a rematch with him unless its for a world title or he wins a fight or two that show something.”
Next up is Sergey Lipinets, an experienced kickboxer who, despite only have 13 pro boxing matches, is a true fighter. Fight fans had to wait a month for this fight as Lipinets suffered a hand injury and had to cancel their originally planned for San Antonio on February 10th 2018. But with the fight now set for March 10th, Garcia is looking to grab yet another title in yet another weight class and stepping ever closer to true greatness.
“A victory over Lipinets would help me because its another title, another division. Not many fighters can accomplish titles in many divisions like that. I think im on the right path and the right steps to get there. But after this I still want to go back to 135lbs to get a big unification match. Whether its a unification match at 135 or maybe another title fight at 140lbs, eventually moved to 147lbs and challengeing for titles there; I think once I get to 147lbs that’s when I will get the credit that I deserve.”
With the fervor surrounding Terence Crawford, who has now entered the welterweight division (147lbs) and will challenge Jeff Horn for his WBO strap, Garcia moving up is a scary thing in an already crowded talent pool of stars. Similar to Andre Ward, the legacy Garcia is creating is quiet but effective and complemented with the class to match. What the world doesn’t know is that like Crawford, Garcia can also switch up southpaw and with the coterie of weight classes at his disposal, Garcia is poised to become one of the greatest fighters of all time.