Mikey Garcia looks to increase his exposure and join an elite fraternity of four-division world champions this Saturday night when he faces undefeated 140-pound titleholder Sergey Lipinets on Showtime.
Mikey Garcia was always around it. He couldn’t escape it. The boxing gym was like a second home. Whether it was Robert or it was Danny, the pesky one that instinctively followed was younger brother Mikey. He would mimic Robert and Danny’s every movement, how they threw punches, their feints, their footwork—and above all their calm. Nothing was ever missed.
It explains a lot.
It’s why at the age of 30, Mikey Garcia carries that sixth boxing sense and the confident veneer in the ring that evokes the feeling that he’s the one in control, this is his comfort zone, and there is nothing the other guy can do that he hasn’t seen before.
It’s why Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) is considered one of the best young stars in boxing today—and why many fight pundits believe the former three-division champ will unseat unbeaten 140-pound IBF titleholder Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) Saturday night on the Showtime-televised card (10:15 pm ET & PT) from the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas.
Perhaps the only one giving Lipinets any credit at all is Garcia himself. He’s been doing this too long, and is too smart to believe someone like Lipinets appeared out of nowhere to reach this stage.
“Some might see that Lipinets having only 13 fights is inexperienced compared to me, who has had 37 fights, but that guy won a title in 13 fights and it took me 30 fights to win my first world championship,” Mikey said. “If he’s done it in only 13 fights, it says the kind of opponent he is. He’s a world-caliber fighter that you have to respect.
“He’s a world champion for a reason. It’s how I see things. I have seen a few rounds on video of Lipinets and what stands out to me is his power. He unloads with power in almost every punch he throws. That’s his right hand, his left hook, and it’s something that I have to be aware of. He’s also naturally 140 pounds, and remember, I started out as a 126-pound featherweight. That will also be a difference, because he’s naturally bigger, he may be able to take a better punch.”
What the 28-year-old Lipinets won’t do is rattle Garcia. Has anyone ever saw him anxious in the ring?
Garcia has a command of his situation and of himself, knowing he’s steps ahead of his opponent. The way he carries himself belies his age—dthough he’s literally grown up before our eyes, turning pro at 17, that’s never changed. Garcia has been fashioned by the old-school tenets.
“ I’m there to do my job, just another day in the office every time I get into the ring. That comes from always being around boxing. ” Three-division World Champion Mikey Garcia
“It’s part of the training, the dedication and growing up in a boxing family,” said Mikey, who is trained by his father, Eduardo and brother, Robert. “I was always the little kid watching. I grew up watching my brother Robert fight, and Fernando Vargas fight, and all of those other guys and it comes natural for me.
“I never get excited in a fight. I never let my emotions dictate how I do things. I’m there to do my job, just another day in the office every time I get into the ring. That comes from always being around boxing. I know what I have to do and I know how to make those changes and adjustments. It’s natural to me. It’s why I fight the way I do, as patient and as calm as I am. I’ve seen it all. Whatever my opponent is trying to do, I have something in return because I’ve practiced so much, I’ve seen so much and I’ve learned so much.”
Garcia is aiming to fight three times this year. A graduate of the Ventura County Police and Sheriff’s Reserve Academy in 2010, Garcia, the proud father of three that span 3 to 10, doesn’t want to think too far ahead.
Lipinets, a Kazakhstan native who was a former kickboxer, thinks Mikey is.
“Just the fact that they took the fight goes to show that they believe they’re gonna win,” Lipinets said. “You don’t take fights you think you’re gonna lose, especially at that level.
“Maybe they looked at my last fight, when I won the championship, and they saw something, that I have vulnerabilities of some kind, that I have holes in my game. Whatever they saw, it’s gonna be different when we step in the ring.”
If Garcia wins, he would like to go one more time in the summer, and then cap the year with the fight everyone in boxing wants to see and that’s a mega showdown with 2017 Fighter of the Year Vasiliy Lomachenko.
But first, he knows he has to deal with Lipinets.
“I’m expecting to see the best Sergey Lipinets ever,” Mikey said. “He knows the fighter that will be in front of him Saturday night. He won’t go down easily. He’ll fight as hard as ever, and he’ll come prepared. I’m expecting a tough fight out of him, and I actually want that—because that will bring out the best in me.
“You’re going to see an explosive Mikey Garcia. You’re going to see a fast, strong Mikey—and that’s what people are going to love the most. If things go well, then I get a fight in the summer and pull in a third fight at the end of the year. If Lomachenko is available, and Top Rank and Bob Arum are willing to work with me, because I know how their promotional company works, and if they’re serious about it, they can make that phone call.”
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