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Inland Empire War – Burgos (pictured) gets a crack at Martinez on a loaded card this Saturday at the Madison Square Garden Theater. (Chris Farina-Top Rank)

An Inland Empire war wagon hit New York City as a trio of elite prizefighters from the Southern California region seek to grab or retain championship belts.

Led by WBA and IBO middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin, two other I.E. fighters, Mikey Garcia and Juan Carlos Burgos, also engage in separate title fights on Saturday Jan. 19. HBO will televise the three-prong attack from Madison Square Garden’s Theater.

Big Bear Lake’s Golovkin (24-0, 21 Kos) defends his two middleweight titles against Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado (21-5, 13 Kos). The Kazakhstan native looks to make an example of Rosado in front of a national audience.

The last time New York saw Golovkin he was destroying a very good fighter in Grzegorz Proksa in a mere five rounds. He had an easier time dismantling the Polish fighter than the TV analysts had pronouncing the southpaw boxers name. It was a television smash of a debut and the world is anxious to discover if their eyes do not deceive.

“I call him my Mexican destroyer,” says trainer Abel Sanchez, who trains Golovkin in the mountain resort town of Big Bear Lake, at an altitude of 8,000 feet. “He’s better than Sergio Martinez.”

That’s exactly what the world wants to discover. Next up for the Kazakhstani/Mexican is Rosado, a Puerto Rican ruffian who’s on a seven-fight win streak, including a victory over Jesus Soto Karass. But another Mexican, Alfredo “Perro” Angulo, stopped him in two rounds three years ago. Can Rosado survive the Golovkin?


The I. E.’s second salvo comes from featherweight challenger Garcia (30-0, 26 Kos) who finally gets a real shot at the featherweight world title. For the past several years the Moreno Valley pugilist has fought eliminator after eliminator. Now he’s got the real thing and it doesn’t get any more real than Orlando Salido (39-11-2, 27 Kos), the WBO featherweight titlist.

“Recently he’s been very aggressive in his fights. He’s been a brawler,” said Garcia about Salido. “I’ve also seen some of his older fights and he can also box and also counter.”

Garcia is not the reckless punching machine that most Mexican fighters are expected to emulate, instead he’s a cold hard computerized killer who feints, moves and attacks when all the facts have been deciphered. When Garcia strikes, it’s sudden and deadly.

“The things that Mikey brings is he’s very smart in the ring and the power he has is enough for even a champion like Salido,” said Robert Garcia, trainer and older brother to Mikey Garcia.

Salido survived two nuclear exchanges with Puerto Rico’s Juan Manuel Lopez but Garcia has a different method and plan for the hard nosed Mexican.

“He’s learned a lot of tricks in the boxing business,” said Mikey Garcia. “We have a plan and a backup plan for Salido. Whatever he plans to do we have a plan for it.”

Ultimately, Garcia’s final plan is to return to the Inland Empire with the world title.


Tijuana’s Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1, 20 Kos) came razor close to winning a world title back in November 2010 when he faced Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa for the WBC featherweight title. But fighting in the Land of the Rising Sun is a far different scenario than most fighters realize.

Since that loss Burgos has reeled off five consecutive victories, including a three round demolition of Puerto Rico’s undefeated Cesar Vazquez. Now he gets another Puerto Rican in WBO junior lightweight titlist Roman Martinez (26-1-1, 16 Kos).

“I don’t want to let this opportunity get away from me. I have been in this position before when I faced Hasegawa and I know I could’ve done much better that night. I could have been a life changing victory for me but I let that one get away. Not this time,” said Burgos. “I have grown mentally and physically and I am prepared for a fight like this and I know it will be exciting.”

It’s one thing to fight a Puerto Rican in Laughlin, Nevada, it’s World War III fighting a Puerto Rican in New York.

“I know it will be a difficult fight,” said Burgos,  who fights for Thompson Boxing Promotions, with many of those battles taking place in the Inland Empire.

All three I.E. fighters expect to return victorious like a modern day Roman Triumvirate.

“We’re ready,” says Garcia.

Is New York ready?

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