By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Mikey Garcia is ready for any world champion willing to fight him.
The undefeated featherweight contender just hopes that the next time he fights following a tune-up Saturday night it’ll be for a world title.
“They’re the champions; they hold the belts,” Garcia said. “Whichever one grants me the opportunity, I’m happy to take it. It’s up to my manager [Cameron Dunkin] and my promoter [Top Rank Inc.] to negotiate with whichever of the champions that’s available. There’s things that have to be negotiated, but I’m willing to fight any one of the champions.”
Panama’s Celestino Caballero (35-4, 23 KOs) is the WBA’s 126-pound champion. The IBF title is held by Australia’s Billy Dib (32-1, 19 KOs, 1 NC), while Mexico’s Jhonny Gonzalez (50-7, 44 KOs) holds the WBC featherweight championship and Mexico’s Orlando Salido (36-11-2, 24 KOs, 1 NC) owns the WBO featherweight crown.
Indonesia’s Chris John (45-0-2, 22 KOs) is also the WBA’s super champion at 126 pounds.
Dunkin agreed that “the next step for [Garcia] is working on getting him a world title fight.”
First, however, the rugged Garcia (26-0, 22 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., must overcome Mexican journeyman Juan Carlos Martinez in a 10-round fight on the Nonito Donaire-Omar Narvaez undercard in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Martinez (19-12-1, 7 KOs) is just 5-7 in his last 12 bouts, but he upset two-time featherweight championship challenger Bernabe Concepcion (28-5-1, 15 KOs) by split decision in his last fight, an eight-rounder May 6 in Las Vegas.
Arum and his stepson, Top Rank president Todd duBoef, are trying to convince HBO Sports executives to show at least highlights from the Garcia-Martinez fight during its “Boxing After Dark” telecast Saturday night. The broadcast currently is scheduled to include the Donaire-Narvaez fight, a replay of the controversial light heavyweight title fight between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson, as well as highlights from two Hopkins-Dawson undercard bouts — Antonio DeMarco’s comeback TKO defeat of Jorge Linares in a WBC lightweight title fight and 52-year-old Dewey Bozella’s four-round cruiserweight win against Larry Hopkins.
“Mikey Garcia’s a helluva [bleeping] fighter,” Arum said. “Let’s see what HBO does. They could spend an hour with the two rounds of garbage from [Hopkins-Dawson] last Saturday and replay it and replay it. Or, for no money because that’s what the contract said, play the Garcia fight and show a future star. But that’s up to them. They pay me the money, they do what the hell they want.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.