By Keith Idec
One fight into his stop at junior lightweight, Mikey Garcia already is commonly considered one of the world’s two best boxers at 130 pounds.
Garcia’s promoter feels his accomplishments warrant even more recognition than that.
“I really believe he’s a top 10 pound-for-pounder right now,” Bob Arum said, “and I believe that, long-term, Mikey will challenge [for], if not be universally accepted as, the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing.”
The 26-year-old Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs), of Oxnard Calif., is scheduled to make the first defense of his WBO junior lightweight title against Mexico’s Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs) on Jan. 25 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden (HBO). The former featherweight champion aspires to add titles at lightweight and junior welterweight to his resume and eventually would like to challenge Manny Pacquiao.
Those all are attainable goals, according to Arum.
“I think he’s a complete fighter,” Arum said. “He has great technique. He has a very, very good defense, and he is a very powerful puncher. And when he throws his punches, it’s with great intent. In other words, he doesn’t waste a lot of punches. He measures his opponent and then throws his punches accordingly, with a lot of power. So he’s a complete fighter, and he’s getting better.”
The humble Garcia appreciates Arum’s praise, but he isn’t consumed with whether he makes mythical pound-for-pound lists.
“I’m just starting as a world champion,” Garcia said. “I’ve still got more fights and more to prove. I had some really good victories last year and I got to display my skills to the fans. But everybody has their opinion and I just do my job. I’m not paying much attention to things like ratings and top 10 and pound-for-pound lists and things like that. I’m just doing my job one fight at a time.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.