Mikey Garcia has had an interesting career, and, it must be said, it is quite concievable that the best portion of his resume, the bulk of it, has yet to be built.
Straight off, the man sidelined himself for a quite lengthy spell, in his athletic prime, because he wanted to have contractual/promotional terms suited to his own liking, and rather than looking for common ground and finding a middle point, perhaps, he said hell with it, I’m out.
That shows the strength of his convictions…
Now, the strength of his boxing aptitude, we have seen glimpses, more than a few. In his last outing, he handled with ease Adrien Broner..
.. a not unskilled sort who, to be fair, hadn’t cleared the highest hurdles set in front of him to this point, as a pro. For his next test, Garcia will clamber again to the 140 ladder, only this time, it isn’t Broner, who I think peaked at a lower weight, but instead Kazahk Sergey Lipinets. The 13-0 hitter is seasoned beyond his number of pro fights, well suited for 140, and will be a sterner test than Broner, both physically and mentally, when they square off in Texas, and Showtime, March 10.
The scrap got pushed back when Lipinets was injured but all maintain he’s on track to vehemently defend his IBF 140 strap.
The bout was discussed on a conference call.
Promoter Richard Schaefer showered the 37-0 Garcia, who fought on 1-25-2014 and then not again til 7-30-2016 because of a contract stalemate with Top Rank, with high praise. “Mikey Garcia in my books, and in the books of many, is today, pound for pound the best fighter in the world,” Schaefer said. “In my opinion, it’s not about what he’s done, in one, or two, or three fights, but it is his cumulative achievements with 37 wins and zero losses. The fact that he has already – he’s already a three-division world champion, and the fact the he continues to challenge himself to fight the best and most dangerous opponents. He stands up for what is right and what is wrong. He’s very much involved in charitable causes and he is a mentor to many young fighters. All this together makes him, in my books, pound for pound. And today, he’s an ambassador of the sport of boxing. I am very proud to be on his journey and it is a distinct pleasure now to introduce to you the undefeated superstar, Mikey Garcia.”
Garcia is soft spoken, which makes his Top Rank rebellion move a bit more interesting. His still waters run deep, and there is a churn underneath. Some fans note that he’s spoken about taking on the mega stars, like the Lomas and such, more than he’s shown a true desire to rumble with them. But I think he’s quite methodical, and is taking his time, setting the pieces on the board to his liking, and being confident the game will play out as he pictures it. “I can’t take Lipinets lightly at all,” said the 30 year old Cali boxer, who boasts 30 KOs. “I know he’s a tough, determined champion and he sees this as a huge priority in turn. When he faces me, if he were to beat me, I’ll start delivering for him. But I’m not looking at that, I’m focusing on winning. I believe my skills and my boxing abilities are greater than what he brings and I’m just excited for the fight. I’m ready to get on and I think this will open up even bigger doors for me.”
Garcia is a bit of a man of mystery. The still waters, you don’t know what he’s thinking and he likes to zag when you think he will zig. “I am not done at 135..when I do mention, moving up to 147, I always mention that I do want to come back to 135 after this fight with Lipinets. I want to come down to 135 and even unify the titles there before officially leaving the division.
“But the plan is to fight this fight first, take care of business on the 10th, then I will look at my options. But I do want to do a unification match at a lightweight. Then eventually, make my way up to 147. Maybe even by the end of this year, I’ll set it, maybe by the end of this year. If not, then next year for sure. That’s a rich division with huge names, huge fights, that I want to be part of.”
He makes us fans, and the suits, think, and reset our feet. Mikey vs Loma? Nah, he’s looking for 147 deals first? We will have to see…
Maybe Schaefer would give us a small hint? “First of all to have a fighter who can be dominant or who is dominant in two weight classes, once he moves in 147, I have no doubt that he will dominant there as well,” Schaefer said. “I think it’s exactly what I said before in the opening remarks, that is what somebody who is pound for pound on the top of the list. If the Linares and Lomachenko fights don’t happen, there are other options at 135 for Mikey, such as Robert Easter. So, he has a lot of options at 135, he has a lot of options at 140 as well, including potentially the winner of the other fight which is going to be the co-main.”
The fighter himself best summed up my feeling for him as an athlete, and how I view his career. “Well like I said, people still haven’t seen the best out of me,” said Mikey Garcia. “I keep telling people, the best is yet to come for a reason. I need the right opponent to challenge me, to push me to the limit so they can bring out the best out of me.”
Talk to me; assuming he gets past Lipinets, what should be next for Garcia? For him to be tabbed number one pound for pound, shouldn’t he rumble with one of those other cats in and around his weight class to decide that?