This weekend marks the return of one of the top boxers in the sport from a couple of years ago. Two-time world champion, Mikey Garcia (34-0 with 28 KOs), makes his long-awaited the return to the ring after two and half years. I had the pleasure of speaking with the former WBO featherweight and WBO super featherweight world champion.
Garcia will be fighting against Elio Rojas on a PBC card, promoted by Lou DiBella, as an undercard to Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton main event. He has long been rumored to be possibly signing on with PBC head man Al Haymon and he been seen numerous times with Floyd Mayweather, and he recruits him for his promotional company Mayweather Promotions. I asked Garcia if this is the beginning of him as an official PBC fighter.
“This is not a long-term deal with anybody. I’m still free. We got offered the opportunity in good faith to show me that they believe in me. Haymon along with Lou DiBella, putting the show together, along with the people from Showtime, presented me with this opportunity to get back, and I decided to take advantage of it.”
Garcia hasn’t been in the ring for over two and half years, so I questioned him on what are some of the positives of being out of the ring in what most would consider his prime year.
“The break has helped in a few ways. One, you get rest, you go to get your body to recover training. I was never injured or anything like that, but your body still gets a lot of wear and tear through the training camps and fights. I needed the time off; it has helped me, but it has also allowed me to enjoy myself and enjoy my family during vacations.”
When Garcia last fought, it was at 130 pounds, and he was dominating everyone. I asked if this was where he wanted to be or if this was just a get in shape fight and how long will it take in his mind to get back to his old championship level.
“This fight will be at 140 pounds. This is to help me get down a little bit. My goal is to come down to 135 pounds and win one title there at lightweight.
I believe I’m ready. I just need to get one fight in and I’ll be ready to challenge for a world title. I really would, like to get a title fight before the end of this year.”
I then asked Garcia if there was anyone he specifically wanted to fight in that title fight later this year.
“I’m looking at one name, Terry Flanagan, from the UK, he holds the WBO lightweight title. He fought a week ago; he defended his title. The reason for that is because I held the WBO title in the featherweight and super featherweight division and I’d like to add the WBO lightweight title.”
Garcia would obviously want to have that fight over here, but I asked if the location could prevent that fight or if he wouldn’t be against going overseas to the UK for that fight.
“I wouldn’t have any problem going over to the UK to fight him. It’s a big boxing country, big boxing fans out there, and I don’t any problem going out there. I will definitely consider if that’s the only thing keeping that from happening.”
After that fight later this year, Garcia mentioned moving back up for a title shot at 140. I asked if at that point if he would like a fight with Adrien Broner or Danny Garcia at either 140 or 147.
“Yea, of course, once the time is right and I’m comfortable in a higher weight division, we can look into that future, but if it’s a fight that makes sense and it makes sense for me, of course, I’d take it.”
Mikey Garcia had a final message to all of his fans:
“I’ve always said that it is their love and support that I appreciate the most, and it’s been quite some time, over two years since I’ve been last seen in the ring, but I’m back now, and I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. I think everyone will remember me most for what I accomplish from this point forward. The best stage of my career is what’s next.”
When Mikey Garcia left the ring, he was considered one of the best pounds for pound fighters in the world. Garcia went through some really good fighters like Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez, Roman Martinez, and Juan Carlos Burgos all in his last four fights (all within a one-year period) before missing the last two and half years, mostly due to contractual disagreements with his promoter, Top Rank.
Garcia, now 28 years old, is hoping that he hasn’t lost too much time and that in a fight or two, he could be back at the top of his game. I’ve personally seen Garcia fight in person three times, and he usually puts on an entertaining show. I suggest not only his fight but the main event between Santa Cruz and Frampton this Saturday. It’s a very good overall card, and you likely won’t be disappointed. Enjoy the fights.