Mikey Garcia’s Return Adds Excitement to a Sport on the Upswing

Mikey Garcia’s Return  – Two and a half years ago Mikey Garcia was an emerging star in professional boxing. He sported a 34-0 (28) record and was a multi division champ having won titles at 126 and 130. There’s been a lot of talk recently regarding just how complete junior welterweight champ Terence Crawford is. However, from a basics and fundamentals perspective, Garcia is superior to Crawford. Mikey is the textbook of boxing.  Inside the ring he does everything the way it is supposed to be done; he’s that proficient. In many aspects he’s a 140 pound version of former all-time great Joe Louis.

Garcia hasn’t been in the ring for real since January of 2014. Before his self-induced exile, he was recognized as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing. Just when he was really starting to be mentioned as one of the must-see fighters in the sport there was a lawsuit between Garcia and his promoter Bob Arum. The dispute was in regards to the value of Garcia’s purses and whether or not his contract expired or could be extended.

This past April Top Rank and Garcia settled and Mikey became a true free agent. It was a bold stand on his part to take, but Garcia is the real deal and should come out okay. And if he does, he along with Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather will be of a select few fighters who took on boxing’s power brokers and won their independence and kept a little more of their own money.

“I accepted the release because we might want to work together again,” Garcia said. “But I have no regrets.”

In taking the stand, Garcia lost 27 months of his prime and, it’s been said, lost between 3-4 million dollars in purses. Now that is all behind him and the road to redemption begins this coming Saturday night. Now 28 years old, Mikey returns to the ring against Elio Rojas 25-2 (14) at the Barclays Center in New York City. He will fight a 10-round co-feature on the card televised by Showtime. Leo Santa Cruz defends his WBA super featherweight title against Carl Frampton in the main event.

He’ll fight Rojas at 140. Then he plans to go back to lightweight (135), rise to 140 and eventually settle at 147, where he hopes Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter will be waiting.
“I don’t believe there will be ring rust because I was never really outside of the ring,” said Mikey. “I’ve been in the gym the whole time, sparring and training. I would spar 10 or 12 rounds, just to do it. Not because I had a fight, but just to keep me active. I know it seems like a long time, but I don’t really see it. I feel like I was gone six months.

“I want to fight at 135 and fight for a title there. I’m going to see how my body feels after this fight, but that’s the plan as of now. We’re not looking past Elio. I definitely want to get back in the ring soon if everything goes right.

“I have no regrets. I’ve got to enjoy myself more than I had in the last 10 years. When you’re in boxing, it’s a year round sport. You don’t have time to yourself, for your family or friends. You miss out on a lot. I learned a lot in my time away about boxing and more.”

Some may scoff at the notion of how a fighter can learn things about the sport via inactivity.  But I don’t. When fighters aren’t training and obsessed with their own careers, they look at boxing differently as a spectator. Without the burden of preparing themselves for a bout and being totally engrossed in what’s going on around them, they watch other fighters and absorb what they do that works. And then when they start training and fighting again, they try and take things they saw and incorporate a tweak here and there into their game. No, it’s not a monumental difference but they go into the ring feeling they have a little more in their arsenal whether it’s mental or physical.

Boxing fans should be ecstatic that Mikey Garcia is back in the mix again as there are many bouts with the winner in question for him to partake in. Think about the potential fights for Garcia involving Adrien Broner, Vasily Lomanchenko, Danny Garcia and Terence Crawford, assuming he can get back to being the fighter he was before the hiatus.

Professional boxing is starting to become exciting again. Its cousin MMA had all the momentum for a while, but as of late most of the upper-tier MMA bouts among the men have been a lot of sloppy boxing and have ended by TKO with not many fights going to the ground. Mikey Garcia’s return gives fans another special fighter to watch, one who possesses all the requisite tools that make for exciting fights.

Garcia has perfect structure and form. He fights with his hands up in a tight guard. His punches are never throwaways, but always delivered with leverage and power. They’re short and concise and they land cleanly on the intended target. Mikey is a boxer-puncher who inches his way forward and tries to force his opponents into committing to something or making a mistake so he can attack the opening. On the flip side, if he’s forced to go back, he’s a great counter-puncher, landing shots up the middle as set-ups for his finishing blows. Another admirable thing about Garcia is that he seeks to test himself against the best available opponents. His opponent Saturday night, Elio Rojas, hasn’t been the most active fighter on the block, but he’s legit and should be a good gauge for Mikey to find out just where he’s at. I expect Garcia’s reflexes to be a little stale, but he’ll probably exhibit more strength and grit en route to victory.

Stylistically, Mikey Garcia matches up with every big name fighter near his weight. His versatility makes him very formidable and dangerous to all the big names in between 135 and 147…..and that’s why his ring return adds another layer of excitement to a sport on the upswing.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

Mikey Garcia’s Return

 

COMMENTS

-deepwater2 :

I hope you are right. He put me to sleep at the garden last time. He is fighting an boxer that doesn't have much pop. Good choice of opponent to get rid-of some rust,but don't give to much credit for the victory. He handled Salido pretty well, so maybe he can get his mojo back. I don't see him beating Crawford at all, let's see if he can prove me wrong.


-brownsugar :

The 5-7 lbs separating the lighter weight classes can make a huge difference. I would be amazed if Garcia could physically adjust to the welterweights. But I think he could grow into the Jr welter division nicely. Garcia seemed to be gassed at the end of the Salido fight after a dominating performance. He's always looked like a master boxer but hasn't had to face many good movers like Crawford. ...and he's never had that extra layer of stamina that Crawford possesses. But when it comes to moving his hands, very few do it better. It will be interesting to see how he looks after the long layoff.


-brownsugar :

I like the fact that Robert Garcia and Mikey have indicated a willingness to fight Lomanchenko and Crawford. If he can return to form.


-KO Digest :

I lost interest in Mikey. Sorry, if he wants it back, he'll have to earn it. Fighting Elio Rojas won't do it for me.


-oubobcat :

Garcia was one of the most natural talents I had ever seen. Everything he did in the ring was just so smooth and just came so naturally. But he never really seemed that passionate about the sport. He has a lot to prove coming off the layoff. It is almost like he has to start his career over again and win the fans over. If I were a matchmaker for Garcia, Rojas would be the perfect opponent. He is a blown up featherweight who like Garcia is coming off a long layoff himself. Not much power and a decent chin (though has been dropped and hurt to the body). He should give Garcia some rounds in what I expect to be no more than a glorified sparring session. This fight really belongs on Sho Extreme airing early with Farmer-Redkach (which is going to be a really good fight) elevated to the main card but what do I know. Speaking of this card, the Harrison-Rabchenko fight is going to be a good one. When breaking down this card, I think this fight could steal early part of the show. I see both getting hurt in the early stages of the fight and if Harrison does not get Rabchenko out early he is going to have issues. Rabchenko is more than a live dog at +250 and if I were putting money on this fight would be laying a nice chunk of change on the Belarus fighter.


-brownsugar :

Good call OB ... I love watching Garcia work...can't wait to see how he looks tonight...


-brownsugar :

Well .....its certainly no crime for not being able to look like 30 month of inactivity had no effect. Thankfully "drunken master" Rojas brough the comic relief, it was still a fun fight to watch..... especially with Rojas diving to the canvas to evade punches. Personally I would recommend a year of fighting off television for Garcia to rebuild his skills and tone up. He didn't look that bad but someone close to Garcia should whisper in his ear and tell him that he's got a ways to go yet before he returns to form.


-teaser :

Mikey looked in good form and did what he was supposed to do ...except getting hit by those rights...ring rust maybe ?..if he had a body attack he'd be THE MAN for sure ...you can count on one hand with fingers left to spare the times he goes to the body in his last couple of fights


-Kid Blast :

Mikey looked in good form and did what he was supposed to do ...except getting hit by those rights...ring rust maybe ?..if he had a body attack he'd be THE MAN for sure ...you can count on one hand with fingers left to spare the times he goes to the body in his last couple of fights
If he gets hit by a .Lomo right, it's adios amigo.


-Kid Blast :

Rojas would make a good stunt man. His flying, leaping falls on the canvas are truly amazing.


-amayseng :

You can always make more money, however you can not make more time. Foolish to waste near 3 years on the sidelines, Ward will pay the price of his strike as well when he faces an active and on top of his game Kovalev.


-oubobcat :

You can always make more money, however you can not make more time. Foolish to waste near 3 years on the sidelines, Ward will pay the price of his strike as well when he faces an active and on top of his game Kovalev.
It was a big mistake for Garcia to waste those years. Top Rank built him up well and he was on the verge of some big things with them. Regardless where his career goes from here he burned through close to three years of his prime sitting on the sideline by his own choice. He will probably get his crack at Terry Flanagan next. Its a fight that even a rusty Garcia wins and should do so looking pretty good. Another name that may come up if he decides to go right in at 140 is John Molina. Not a title fight but his people would probably see as a good move to test the waters at 140 in a fight where Garcia has so much more talent than Molina. Molina is a bit hot now after the Provodnikov win so the timing would be right. I think if Garcia does go with Haymon that Haymon will put him in with Broner at some point and sooner rather than later. From what I read, Haymon seems to be getting frustrated finally with Broner and may be looking for the cash out. It would be the perfect fight to put on a big stage (say CBS) to truly serve as a launch pad for Garcia.


-stormcentre :

I am not sure it is and/or was a big waste for Mikey. Perhaps in hindsight it may eventuate to be so. But what tends to happen with some arrangements between people (including promoters) that want to utilize the services of others (including fighters), is that they can sometimes try to manipulate and/or control others they required the services of in a manner that was not openly discussed and/or captured within the spirit of the contract/agreement; if indeed such an agreement was ever written and/or designed properly. Almost all agreements and contracts exist for the purpose of capturing the conceptual and other means, rules, and laws, by which parties will embark upon and comply with in relation to a joint commercial endeavor. Better (and perhaps more simplistically) put; almost all agreements and contracts exist for the purposes of creating income and defining how that will operate. However, frequently (including in boxing) it is found that agreements;


A) Not only, fail to always work for every circumstance that the parties encounter; and therefore the agreement fails to deliver on income and other expectations.
B) But also, they appear to regularly fail in the above described manner in such way that usually favors the party whom sought to utilize the services of the other party, or fighter; to such an extent that it provides the appearance that such circumstances - even without considering how frequently the same circumstances may have occurred to other persons whose services were sought by the same other-party - were (whether by omission or otherwise) in-built to the contract.

This approach to contract design and agreements is not uncommon, and in fact some take it to such an extent that they will not offer a contract to capture and back up their offerings. Preferring instead to have the option that a combination of opportunism and poorly defined verbal agreements provide. Which of course - in the above example - serves the other persons whose services were sought by the other-party, very little. Within the below link . . . . . .


->http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/showthread.php?20225-What-do-you-guys-think&p=78040&viewfull=1#post78040

. . . Last year, I touched on some aspects of this contractual curiosity previously, where I discussed; ""one party will usually, if possible, design, in some way/form, the contract so that the other party enters it and performs their legal obligations at risk."" In my experience, usually a failure to produce and/or appropriately design an agreement that appropriately captures the conditions and manner by which one party expects others to perform services and/or work under, is an indication that one party intends to - if not "do other than they say" outright - then, at least, have the option to do other than they say. In fact, in my own personal experience and also from that I have seen others experience and exhibit; rarely is there an exception to this rule. And, the degree to which this (and that discussed above) exists and is prevalent to some extent also defines the amount of contractually unspecified and potentially illegal control/manipulation (that is in conflict with the spirit of the agreement) that one party seeks over another. For a fighter taking health and other risks, and one that is capable of generating millions of dollars, these circumstances can frustrate the relationship to such an extent that morally, ethically, financially, and legally, the best option is often to not let yourself be manipulated and controlled; and contest the agreement's suitability and/or wait it out - as Mikey Garcia did. This approach certainly worked for Floyd when he got out of his agreement with Top Rank; due to - amongst other reasons - Arum's interest in capitalizing on his Oscar DeLaHoya investment to such an extent that (at the time) it (was claimed that return-on-investment approach) impacted Floyd's career and earnings. The approach, perhaps, didn't work so well for Gamboa; but then (even aside from the fact that Yuriorkis was from another country and taking an entirely different set of challenges on board with those considerations) Gamboa didn't speak English well and he was (and is not) as savvy as Floyd about such matters. Furthermore, Gamboa didn't have the people around him that Floyd did either. All up, and given what has happed to other Top Rank fighters; I think Garcia made the right move. It was not like his Brother and Father were inexperienced in the game, with Top Rank, and didn't know when they were being shafted. That said, I agree that the weight divisions that Garcia will probably operate in now (that he's back) have changed somewhat, and an argument can be made that they are more competitive; which could add more considerations for whether the wait will serve Garcia's boxing career well. However, possibly offsetting that is - even without considering that Garcia appears on PBC's and Haymon's fighter list - the fact that such circumstances combined with the absence of Top Rank probably mean Mikey will now fight for (and defend) titles with greater frequency, whilst also earning more in his career than previously. And more and more (whilst records are important) the preferred metric to a fighter's success these days is becoming income. Putting it all together and getting back to the interesting way contracts are absent and/or formed/designed and the (often publicly unseen) problems this can create . . . . . . Personally, I think Garcia made the right move. As, "accidental" contractual and/or agreement related oversights become all the more curious when;


A) Every instance they are experienced, they somehow always fail to favor you. Instead usually favoring the other party - whether or not that other party seems to be plagued with similar problems.
B) One party fails to produce an agreement.
C) One party produces an agreement - but fails to satisfactorily design that same agreement and succeeds in doing so due to opportunism and the other parties inexperience with such situations.

Food for thought.
Storm. :) :) :)


-amayseng :

It was a big mistake for Garcia to waste those years. Top Rank built him up well and he was on the verge of some big things with them. Regardless where his career goes from here he burned through close to three years of his prime sitting on the sideline by his own choice. He will probably get his crack at Terry Flanagan next. Its a fight that even a rusty Garcia wins and should do so looking pretty good. Another name that may come up if he decides to go right in at 140 is John Molina. Not a title fight but his people would probably see as a good move to test the waters at 140 in a fight where Garcia has so much more talent than Molina. Molina is a bit hot now after the Provodnikov win so the timing would be right. I think if Garcia does go with Haymon that Haymon will put him in with Broner at some point and sooner rather than later. From what I read, Haymon seems to be getting frustrated finally with Broner and may be looking for the cash out. It would be the perfect fight to put on a big stage (say CBS) to truly serve as a launch pad for Garcia.
Yes those years are prime athletic years. Once that nerve conduction slows down you can not speed it back up again. It has been hard as a fan not being able to enjoy MG's craft over the years, he is truly a phenomenal fighter. I am sure there are big things for him still on the horizon, but will he be able to conquer them with the same vigor he had years ago is the question? Whoever he goes with he needs to have an active career from here on out. Fighting 3-4 times a year until he is back at the elite level.


-dollar bond :

He is back