Friday, March 31, 2023  |


Mikey Garcia is fully recharged and ready for boxing’s best

Fighters Network

When Mikey Garcia found himself trapped in a contract war with Top Rank in 2014, he wasn’t sure when he’d be able to fight again. The funny thing about that is Garcia, despite being 35-0 and seemingly primed to breakthrough, admits that he had grown “bored” of the sport.

The revelation comes just before he prepares to step into the ring to challenge WBC lightweight titleholder Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 knockouts) in the co-featured bout to the Carl Frampton-Leo Santa Cruz rematch in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

“Had I been fighting, I probably would be close to retiring right now, or thinking of retiring this year or next year,” Garcia (35-0, 29 KOs) said. “Because it was getting boring, it was getting tiring, redundant, training camp after training camp. I didn’t have time to enjoy myself and go out and live. Enjoy my family.”

The 29-year-old technician may have found a blessing in disguise as he finds his battery completely recharged from the time off and is fully prepared to compete with the best boxing has to offer.

“Now that I’m back, I’m hungry, I want more,” Garcia said. “I want more success, I want to capture more titles, add to my legacy, add my own chapter to the Garcia boxing (legacy).”

The time off certainly has served Garcia’s boxing mind well. He tells that he had the opportunity to enjoy boxing as a fan without the rigors of cutting weight and training camp. About a year into his dispute, Garcia began to miss boxing.

“When I saw certain fighters, I started to think to myself ‘That could be me,’” Garcia said. “Of course you start to have a fire lit under you. I was still enjoying myself but right at the time litigation was over, it was time to get to business. I had a lot to accomplish and a lot of money that I could be making.”

Although he said that he never really needed to come back due to his investments, Garcia said that establishing his legacy was the driving force behind his return. And when a fighter isn’t stepping into the ring solely for financial need, the risks are more calculated and the reward of greatness is finer than just about any other purse. With such a bright future ahead of him, Garcia isn’t going to waste time with softball fights. He’s ready for the best.

“Either we wait for (the Anthony) Crolla-(Jorge) Linares winner to unify the belts, find another champion, defend this title or go up a weight class,” Garcia said. “We don’t know. What I like is that I have options and I can dictate where I want to take my career. I’m not forced into fights anymore.”

And of all the names out there, the one that sparks a great deal of intrigue is none other than Vasyl Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound ranked WBO 130-pound titleholder.

“If he decides to come to 135 (pounds) and wants to fight me, I’m willing to do it,” Garcia said before adding a caveat. “However, you have to look at the politics. He’s with my former promoter and I don’t hear any of them mentioning my name. I’m not going to call him out. I don’t need him. If anything, he needs me. But send me an offer and let’s talk if you want to do it. That’s a f-cking good ass fight!”

Of course, Garcia has to take care of business on Saturday night. After that, the sky is the limit.