The bar has been raised for Mikey Garcia, with his promoter, Bob Arum, putting Mikey in with Andre Ward, Floyd Mayweather and Tim Bradley on the list of American boxing stars during a recent conference call to hype Garcia's Jan. 25 clash in NYC, and on HBO, against Juan Carlos Burgos.
During the call, Arum said he could foresee the 33-0 (with 28 KOs) Mikey meeting Manny Pacquiao, or perhaps Vasyl Lomachenko, the 1-0 Ukrainianwith a magnificent amateur predigree, if Loma beats Orlando Salido on March 1. Yes, Arum set the bar higher than ever before for Mikey, at a place where he was setting it for Nonito Donaire, a couple years back.
"I believe that he is a Top-10 Pound for Pound fighter right now and soon he will be universally accepted as the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing," the promoter said. Readers, what say you? Is Garcia of that caliber? Does he have the sort of style, if you think he's of that caliber, to be accepted by the masses as P4P No. 1? Mikey himself said, "I do feel I am at least Top 10."
Garcia finds himself back in NYC after two fights in Texas, a win over JuanMa (TKO4) in June 2013, followed by a KO8 win over Rocky Martinez on November 9. That fight was made that much more interesting when Rocky sent Mikey to the deck in round two. But the Oxnard-based boxer collected himself and re-booted himself, and snagged another W.
On the call, Garcia said that he's inclined to unify at 130 before he moves up, but he's open to being flexible, and could jet to 135, or go to 140 if "the right fight is there." Readers, assuming Mikey beats Burgos, what would you have him doing next? How about Gamboa? At what weight?
Burgos is a vast underdog in the fight, understandable since he's not shown himself to be a guy who pulls away, and wins the big ones. With two straight draws, he needs to win this one, or his rep takes a pretty severe hit. For his part, he says those draws were bogus, and blames the judges. The Mexican-born hitter might want to consider gunning for the KO, what with that draw streak, no? Many thought he beat Rocky Martinez on January 19, 2013 in NYC, and he agreed with judge Marshall Walker, who saw him a 116-112 winner in his last outing, in July, against Yakubu Amidu.
I see Mikey as a prohibitive favorite, believing his power, and superb ring generalship, which includes some of the highest-grade coolness under fire you'll see in the rings today, carry him to a decisive win, by KO or wide UD. Your predictions, fight fans?
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV