Friday, May 25, 2018  |


Buddy McGirt: ‘Sergey Lipinets only had 13 fights coming in. I’m proud of him’

Lipinets (left) at work with trainer Buddy McGirt. Photo by Amanda Westcott/ Showtime

Mikey Garcia ticked another box on his legacy list at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday.

The talented boxer-puncher dropped and outpointed Russia’s Sergey Lipinets to claim the IBF junior welterweight title, joining Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez as the only four-weight world titleholders of Mexican heritage.

Garcia, who is rated No. 1 by THE RING at 140 pounds, was expected to win but, despite the scoring being wide in his favor, the cerebral Californian was made to work hard for victory. Lipinets took the best Garcia had to offer and fired back whenever he could. The Russian brawler went down hard courtesy of a Garcia left hook in Round 7 but bounced back up and kept on trucking.

“A lot of people seem to forget that Sergey only had 13 fights coming in,” said Buddy McGirt, the former two-weight world champion, who took Lipinets to the vacant IBF title last November when he outpointed Akihiro Kondo in Brooklyn.

“He was fighting a three-weight world champion with 30 knockouts in 37 fights. Nobody gave him a shot. Sergey went in there and gave it his best. He got knocked down (for the first time in his professional career) and got up. He was in a position that he’d never been in as a fighter and gave it everything for 12 rounds. I’m proud of him and this will make him a better fighter.”

That seems to be the opinion of most who viewed the fight. Lipinets has made giant strides in less than four years as a professional, and considering he was in with an elite operator and pound-for-pound entrant, the 28-year-old pressure-fighter was far from disgraced.

So, what’s up next for Lipinets? With the Garcia chapter is closed, will McGirt look to develop his charge further before going after the other top names at junior welterweight?

“Personally, I don’t think many guys will be looking to fight him after seeing what they saw,” said McGirt, who also took the late Arturo Gatti and Antonio Tarver to world titles. “If we can get development fights, that’ll be great. If you look at this division, the toughest guy out there is Regis Prograis. To me, he’s the biggest threat at 140 pounds. Anyone else, I’m not even worried about it.”


Tom Gray is Associate Editor for THE RING. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing


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  • Wade Wilson

    If he sticks with McGirt and does what he says he’ll be fine. Buddy keeps the wisdom of the old timers alive.

    • Dug Fisher

      yep. Buddy had that wisdom even when he was an active fighter himself, and a hugely underacheiving one despite two title reigns.

      My favourite active trainer to listen to, and Lipnets will almost certainly come again if he does the same.

  • Oc

    Lipinets is one tough dude, a real warrior with a unique style that is fun to watch. He had a hard one against Kondo awhile ago but I knew he’d give a good account of himself against the uber-talented Garcia.

    Sergey will come again, no mistake, and he’s a proper handful for any 140 pounder out there and Buddy will steer him right I reckon. I, for one, look forward to his return.

  • ceylon mooney

    i thought he did great. cant wait to see him again. relikk maybe?

  • Ten Count Toronto

    Based on what I picked up from the corners, I think McGirt wanted Lipinets to play it safer, just go the distance and not take too much punishment while holding out that maybe Garcia might slow down form the bigger man’s jabs and body in which case they could press him harder late in the fight..

    But from the 3rd round, on, Lipinets clearly had every intention to go for the win and I think he took more chances than McGirt wanted. The knockdown was the result of Lipinets getting over ambitious and advancing the pace a little beyond that where he was boxing Garcia on near even terms. However that didn’t discourage him for long and he soon resumed his calculated pressure boxing. That was a very stoic and veteran response to what could have been a deflating, confidence-shaking setback. The only error was that he got a little too focused on head-hunting (but then again, so did Garcia..)

    In the end it was still a respectable loss and great learning experience but in a better and more punishing fight than McGirt probably planned on. If the punishment hasn’t taken something out of Lipinets physocally, he will benefit greatly from the experience. The focus and mental strength is there.