By Jake Donovan
Featherweight contender Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia has his pick of the litter in regards to future title shots. The unbeaten rising young star is highly ranked by three major sanctioning bodies, which means he is in a prime position to pursue fights with the likes of Jhonny Gonzalez, Chris John and Celestino Caballero.
Instead, the Californian has elected to keep it specific to the elements immediately surrounding him.
The 24-year old is slated to appear in the Showtime-televised co-feature this weekend when he faces Bernabe Concepcion in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The bout serves as the lead in to the featherweight title fight rematch between Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez, to which Garcia also serves as the next leading available contender.
During Wednesday’s press conference in San Juan, Garcia confirmed the suggestion that this weekend’s pairing of the bouts was done by design more so than by coincidence. The hope is to match the winners down the road, or before one or more parties elects to bolt from the division.
Garcia is more than willing to take part, which was his motivating factor in appearing on the card.
“This is a very important fight for me since I am in search of a title opportunity,” Garcia (27-0, 23KO) said of his regional title fight with Concepcion (29-5-1, 15KO), who less than two years ago traded knockdowns with Lopez before succumbing in the second round.
Garcia was once in position to face Salido, having won a title eliminator in 2010. The opportunity to face the resurgent Mexican dried up when he fell to Yuriorkis Gamboa in their Sept. ’10 unification bout. Gamboa was being groomed by Top Rank for a showdown with Lopez, leaving Garcia to move in a different direction.
He has since won four straight, adding regional title belts to his collection as he climbs the rankings. The wait proved to be worth the while, as he receives television exposure for this weekend’s bout. His all-action style – which has led to five straight knockouts heading into Saturday – already puts him in high demand. That he’s next line after Salido and Lopez makes the pairing of winners a no-brainer – assuming of course that he gets past Concepcion.
“If everything goes well, there are plans to fight the winner of the Salido-Lopez rematch,” Garcia acknowledged.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]m