By Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBO and Ring Magazine featherweight champion Mikey Garcia, who makes the first defense of his title against former champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez of Puerto Rico at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on June 15, sparred eight rounds on Monday - and according to his brother and trainer Robert Garcia - “[Mikey] will be in great shape for the fight against Juanma.”
The 2012 “Trainer of the Year” told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that he considers Lopez “a very dangerous opponent, very difficult and someone who punches hard.”
He emphasized that his younger brother “can’t take this fight lightly.” Garcia said “winning the title was hard, retaining the title and to stay as champion is even harder because he has a responsibility to his people.”
Garcia looked good in sparring with Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar who has an impressive record of 22 wins, with only one loss and 18 wins coming by way of knockouts and two other young fighters from California who the trainer said were fast and gave Mikey a good workout.
The undefeated Garcia who has a record of 31-0 with 26 knockouts won the world title from tough Mexican Orlando Salido on January 19 in New York. Salido had won the title from Lopez via a knockout and repeated the feat in a rematch.
Garcia dropped Salido four times before winning an eight round technical decision after Salido broke Garcia’s nose with an accidental head-butt that forced the referee to go to the scorecards as Garcia couldn’t continue. Garcia was way ahead on the scorecards of all three judges.
Fights between Mexicans and Puerto Ricans are always barn burners and this is expected to be no exception with Lopez, the southpaw from Puerto Rico battling the younger Mexican, Garcia.