Mikey Garcia: ‘It was so hard to make the weight’
Mikey Garcia cited the fact that his weight has reached as high as 161 pounds as his primary reason for vacating the WBO’s junior lightweight title in favor of a rise into the junior welterweight division.
As a result, interim titleholder Orlando Salido was declared the WBO’s 130-pound beltholder while Garcia has asked that the organization “consider him for the next version of our rankings at 140, which should come out soon,” according to WBO General Secretary Jose Izquierdo.
“They contacted us regarding the interim title with Salido and myself and my title and what our plans were and if we planned on defending,” said Garcia, 26, in an interview with RingTV.com. “We’ve felt that because we’ve been so inactive, that we’re forced to make a final decision.”
A two-division titlist, Garcia (34-0, 28 knockouts) had won the belt via eighth-round knockout of Rocky Martinez in his 130-pound debut last November and was last in action for a unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Burgos in January.
“I haven’t had any optional title defenses and the last time that I fought was against Burgos, who they had put down as the mandatory title challenger in January when I fought him,” said Garcia, whose ring absence is due, in part, to legal issues with his promoter, Top Rank Promotions.
“I would have had a couple of title defenses, maybe, but it’s been really, really hard to make weight. It was so hard to make the weight against Burgos, anyway, that I was already planning to move up in weight class anyway. I was going to move up to 135, originally.”
For Garcia, the victory over Martinez represented his 10th stoppage victory over the course of his previous 11 fights as well as his second major title in a second weight class. Garcia had earned THE RING and WBO featherweight titles in January 2013 by beating Salido, whom he dropped four times en route to an eight-round technical decision.
Garcia followed up the win over Salido with a fourth-round stoppage of ex-beltholder Juan Manuel Lopez in June 2013 but already had lost his WBO belt at the scales for being over the contracted 126-pound limit for the bout.
“We’ve been thinking about going up in weight a lot. You know, a year ago, we didn’t even make the featherweight divison. So my body has been definitely, definitely growing. I’ve been training and training just to stay in shape but I can no longer make the 130-pound division. So we had been planning to move up in weight class when we do return,” said Garcia.
“We don’t have any plans yet but I’ve told the WBO that when I do return, that I’d like to test it out. I would maybe want to get a fight between 135 and 140, maybe get a catchweight to see how I feel for that division. Maybe I’d fight fight at 138 and see how that works out. Maybe I can come back down to 135 if I feel that I can make it. But as it stands right now, I don’t think that I can make it to 135. I think that maybe a catchweight of 137 or 138 would work for a fight.
What is Garcia’s walking-around weight?
“I’ve been staying in the gym but we’re at 156 or so right now. I’ve actually been as high as 161. Those are numbers that I’ve never seen before. Never. Not even last year when I couldn’t make the weight. My body just gave up. Last year, when I fought Martinez and when I fought Burgos, just to get to 130, I was already walking around at 154,” said Garcia.
“That really just made it very hard to make it back to 130. Right now, I’m walking around at 156, but I was as high as 161. So it’s just very, very hard for me to say right now what weight class I’m going to be competing in officially but I do want to come back at a catchweight between 135 and 140 and see how I feel.”
Long before that happens, however, Garcia said he still has to work out his differences with Top Rank.
“That’s still needs to be sorted out. The attorneys on both sides, on Top Rank’s side and my side, they’re the ones that are handling that. These things just take a lot of time. You know, the court system takes time. That’s all that I can say. We’ve been trying to maybe move forward with the court case and everything,” said Garcia.
“But it’s just a very, very slow process. There’s a lot of paperwork that goes along with that. But we hope to find something and a way to resolve this so that we can get back into the ring as soon as possible. But there is no date in sight, as of yet, so that’s what’s keeping me out of the ring right now.”
MCJOE ARROYO-MARK ANTHONY GERALDO ORDERED AS IBF JUNIOR BANTANWEIGHT ELIMINATOR
The promoters of McJoe Arroyo (15-0, 8 KOs) of Puerto Rico and Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-4-3, 14 KOs) of the Philippines have been ordered to make a deal for an IBF junior bantamweight title eliminator that could earn its winner a shot at organization titleholder Zolani Tete.
Arroyo is handled by Peter Rivera of P.R. Best Boxing Promotions and Gerald, by Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions. The parties have until Oct. 28 to reach a deal before a purse bid is ordered, according to IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker.
Arroyo, 28, is coming off an 11th-round stoppage of former titleholder Hernan Marquez in June. Geraldo, 23, has won nine consecutive fights since falling by unanimous decision to Oleydong Sithsamerchai in July 2011 and is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Efrain Perez in July.
Tete, 26, was forced to pull out of a scheduled for an Oct. 25 defense of his belt against former bantamweight titleholder Paul Butler after suffering a broken left hand injury.
Butler represented a voluntary defense for Tete, who won the vacant belt by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Teiru Kinoshita in July before Kinoshita’s partisan fans in Japan.
The victory was the third straight for Tete, including a first-round knockout of Eduard Penerio in March 2013 that helped him rebound from his split decision loss to Roberto Domingo Sosa in September 2012.
MATTHEW MACKLIN IN MUST-WIN SITUATION VS. JORGE SEBASTIAN HEILAND
Middleweight Matthew Macklin (31-5, 20 KOs) considers himself to be in a must-win situation entering his Nov. 15 clash with Jorge Sebastian Heiland (24-4-2, 12 KOs) at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland, according to a release from Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport.
Macklin-Heiland is a WBC eliminator for the right to become the mandatory challenger to RING middleweight champion Miguel Cotto.
“I have to get past Heiland, who is a serious fighter,” said Macklin, 32, who is coming off last month’s unanimous decision over Jose Yebes that followed last December’s unanimous decision over Lamar Russ. “He’s never been stopped and a couple of losses he has had, he has gone on to avenge them…If I cannot beat him, then that’s it really.”
Prior to facing Russ, Macklin had lost by third round knockout to WBA titleholder Gennady Golovkin in June 2013.
“For me it’s an eliminator and the most meaningful fight for me since Gennady Golovkin,” said Macklin.
“At this stage of my career, having won the European title, Irish title, British title, boxed in Las Vegas and Madison Square Garden and in world title fights, I wouldn’t be putting in what I am putting in and making the sacrifices I am making if I didn’t think I could become a world champion. Golovkin is the best middleweight in the world; I am confident I could beat any of the other fighters in the division.”
Heiland, 27, is coming off last month’s fifth-round stoppage of Mateo Damian Veron, against whom he is 2-1-1.
“It’s a huge opportunity for him,” said Macklin. “He’ll come over here and see me as someone who has been in the top five or 10 in the world over the last five or six years.”
UNDEFEATED MIKE REED TO APPEAR ON TERENCE CRAWFORD-RAYMUNDO BELTRAN CARD
Junior welterweight Mike Reed will face an opponent to be determined in support of the lightweight title bout between WBO titleholder Terence Crawford and Raymundo Beltran at CenturyLink Center in Crawford’s native Omaha, Neb. Reed is coming off a unanimous decision over Osnel Charles on Oct. 4.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda