Three Punch Combo: A Golden Boy Misstep, Mikey Garcia and More

GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS AND ESPN — Last week, Golden Boy Promotions and ESPN announced a major television deal that calls for 42 televised cards during the next two years. The success of this new series hinges on Golden Boy’s claim to make the best possible fights. The first main event announced this week for the series featuring Jason Quigley and veteran Glen Tapia is unfortunately more of a showcase for Quigley and not the type of bout that will lead to a successful series.

Quigley is a top notch prospect. He had a deep and successful amateur background and looks to be a potential future star in this sport. Leading off with him on the new series does make a lot of sense. However, Glen Tapia is not the ideal opponent. Tapia has the appearance of a shopworn fighter and is coming into this fight off of back-to-back knockout losses. Granted, he was once a contender but whenever he has remotely stepped up in competition he has lost by knockout. This fight is nothing more than a showcase for Quigley and lacks the competitiveness needed in a main event on what is supposed to be a landmark series for Golden Boy and ESPN.

So in what direction should Golden Boy have gone for the first main event? I understand wanting to put Quigley on a week after St. Patrick’s Day. A more suitable opponent would have been someone like Gabriel Rosado. Rosado is a veteran who is known to fight fans as someone who makes entertaining fights and is still fighting at a very competitive level. Another opponent that could have been considered is Matt Korobov. Korobov is a former title contender as well as a one-time amateur star himself. He would have made for a very intriguing crossroads fight with Quigley. And finally there is Arif Magomedov. Magomedov was once a highly-thought-of prospect who suffered a setback last year. He is in the prime of his career and in need of a rebound. Again, this would have been an interesting crossroads match with Quigley. The point here is that other options were on the table but Golden Boy chose to go a much safer route for Quigley.

If Golden Boy wants to showcase their own fighters on this series, I can understand. However, this cannot be strictly a showcase series reminiscent of the Top Rank series on Versus a decade ago. In that series, Top Rank frequently placed their own fighters in low risk noncompetitive showcase bouts. Due to the lack of competitive fights, fans lost interest in the series. Golden Boy cannot repeat this mistake on their new series. Unfortunately, they are not off to a good start.

What’s Next For Mikey Garcia?

Mikey Garcia put on the most impressive performance of the weekend with his third round knockout of the previously undefeated Dejan Zlaticanin. Garcia made surprisingly easy work of Zlaticanin and with the performance has to be considered a pound for pound entrant. The question now becomes where does Garcia go next in the wake of such an eye opening victory?

Many are speculating that Garcia will next face the winner of the rematch between Jorge Linares and Anthony Crolla. However, this might not be realistic. Linares is aligned with Golden Boy and Garcia has aligned himself at the moment with Richard Schaefer. Golden Boy and Schaefer have a very frosty relationship and it is difficult to envision the two doing business together anytime soon. Crolla is a big draw in the UK and if he prevails in his rematch with Linares will probably want to make a defense or two before taking a big risk. By the time Crolla and his team may be ready for a high risk fight again, Garcia will probably be in the next weight class.

Instead, we will most likely see Garcia in next with the current number one ranked WBC contender in Dante Jordan. Jordan is a solid guy on a six fight winning streak. But he has also lost whenever he has stepped up in class, including being dominated and stopped in his lone try for a world title by Takashi Miura in 2013.  From the perspective of Garcia’s management, Jordan is just the type of fighter they could sell as an opponent and also a guy that Garcia should have little issue with. I would speculate we see this fight in the spring or early summer.

After Jordan, there really won’t be a lot of realistic options for Garcia at Lightweight. So I would expect we see the move north to Super Lightweight by the end of the year. My guess would be that he targets the winner of Julius Indongo-Ricky Burns. Indongo has shown a willingness to travel and Burns is seemingly in search of one more big fight before his career comes to an end.

After Burns and Indongo, there could be some real enticing possibilities at 140 for Garcia in 2018 including Adrien Broner and Terence Crawford. The future looks bright for Garcia and we will hopefully be seeing him in some significant contests in the near future.

Under the Radar Fights

There may not be any big fights scheduled this week but there are some very intriguing matches that are falling deep under the radar. Fox Sports returns on Thursday with a solid card featuring an interesting crossroads fight between Yordenis Ugas and Levon Ghvamichava as well as a bout featuring undefeated prospects.

Ugas-Ghvamichava is a very solid evenly matched fight. After suffering a pair of losses in 2014, Ugas, the former Cuban Olympian, pulled off a pair of surprises last year in beating undefeated prospects Jamal James and Bryant Perrella. Ugas is a very technically sound boxer and will be facing an all-out aggressive fighter in Ghvamichava who is coming off the best win of his career in stopping Breidis Prescott his last time out. It is an interesting contrast of styles between two fairly evenly matched fighters that should produce an entertaining contest.

On that same card, undefeated prospects Ryan Karl and Eddie Ramirez face off. Both prospects deserve a lot of credit for taking this fight in what is a high stakes bout for each man. With so much on the line, I expect those of us that tune in will be in for a treat in a bout that could somewhat resemble the war we saw two weeks ago between Immanuwel Aleem and Ievgen Khytrov.

Though the schedule might be light this week, there are still some very interesting televised matchups taking place on Thursday. These bouts might be flying under the radar but should not be missed.

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