When sports fans think of boxing’s superstar, the first person that comes to mind for American fans is Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. For international fans, the man that probably comes to mind is heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Joshua has sold out stadiums in several fights overseas. There is a new star on the horizon that the casual boxing fan might not be aware of and his name is Mikey Garcia.
Garcia is now a four division world champion with an undefeated record: 38-0 with 30 knockouts. He has a great resume for a 30 year old with wins over quality competition, including Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez, Dejan Zlaticanin, Adrien Broner and Sergey Lipinets. Garcia is an excellent technical boxer with a great jab, power in both hands, and phenomenal reflexes that help with counter punching. He is also willing to exchange punches with his opponent, which makes for exciting fights like the one he had against former Super Lightweight IBF Champion Sergey Lipinets on March 10th. The only weakness in his game is his lack of head movement that shows up from time to time. How does Mikey Garcia take his profile to the next level? In his post fight interview with Jim Lampley after defeating Lipinets, Garcia spoke about having options for what he does next. Here are some of those options he spoke of in no particular order.
1.) Robert Easter Jr.
Mikey Garcia just won the IBF Super Lightweight Championship belt (140 LBs) but is still the WBC Lightweight Champion (135 LBs). Garcia could go back down to lightweight to fight Robert Easter Jr in a title unification bout. Easter is the IBF World Lightweight Champion and currently 21-0 with 14 knockouts. This bout would definitely bring more eyes to Garcia and make his star bigger but is the risk worth the reward? Easter would be a tough fight for anyone because he is nearly six feet tall with a 76 inch reach. On top of his natural physical advantages, Easter is also a very skilled boxer in his prime at only 27 years old. Garcia might be fighting an uphill battle if he chooses Easter. The smart move for team Garcia might be to avoid Easter. It would definitely be a very interesting match-up.
2.) Kiryl Relikh
Kiryl Relikh fought on the same card as Mikey Garcia and Sergey Lipinets on March 10th. Relikh dominated the previously undefeated Rances Barthelemy for 12 rounds to win the vacant WBA Super Lightweight title. Relikh is now 22-2 with 19 knockouts and both losses were controversial decisions. Garcia could decide to stay in the 140 pound division to unify titles. Relikh is a very busy fighter with power in both hands. This fight would be a win for the fans as both fighters are willing to brawl but also have amazing technique. The possibility of unifying titles is always exciting.
3.) Vasyl Lomachenko
Vasyl Lomachenko is the current WBO Super Featherweight (130 LBs) champion with a record of 10-1 with eight knockouts. Lomachenko holds the top spot on lots of pound for pound rankings. He is an unbelievable talent whose technique may be unmatched. The two-time Olympic gold medalist is already on a superstar level and a fight against Mikey Garcia may be a pay per view attraction. This is a big money match-up with lots of risk for Garcia. Does Lomachenko want to move up in weight to fight Garcia? Does team Garcia truly believe Garcia can beat the supremely talented Lomachenko? Great questions that boxing fans would love the answer to.
4.) Danny Garcia
Danny Garcia is one of the many talented welterweights in the crowded 147 pound division. Mikey Garcia has spoken about a Garcia vs Garcia match-up in the past. Danny Garcia is currently 34-1 with 20 knockouts. The Garcia vs Garcia bout would definitely create a lot of interest. Mikey Garcia does look to be more skilled than Danny Garcia but can Mikey Garcia take a welterweight punch? Would Mikey Garcia’s power translate to the welterweight division? The welterweight division is where the money is because of the countless amount of quality competition there. Would Mikey Garcia be able to handle the top contenders in this division?
5.) Jorge Linares
Jorge Linares is a three division world champion who currently holds the WBA World Lightweight Title with a record of 44-3 with 27 knockouts. If Mikey Garcia wants to unify the 135 pound division, then starting with Linares may be the way to go. Linares is a very exciting fighter who would be a great challenge for Garcia. This would be an action packed bout that leads to big money events for the winner. These two were in talks for a bout previously, but negotiations broke down. Hopefully they can revisit this and give boxing fans an incredible fight.
Mikey Garcia is at the point in his career where its time to really cash in. He has an endless amount of directions he can go in. Hopefully he doesn’t shy away from the bigger challenges and truly becomes the superstar he has the potential to be. If you do not know about Mikey Garcia go familiarize yourself because he is not coming, he is already here.