By Chris Robinson
On March 10th, unbeaten featherweight contender Miguel Garcia, better known as ‘Mikey’, faces off with former title challenger Bernabe Concepcion on Showtime’s airwaves in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
For the past few weeks I have been corresponding with Garcia about the fight and touched on several subplots related to the bout and his career.
I was always curious what Garcia had to think about the possibility of ever crossing paths with recently-crowned WBO junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire inside of the ring.
Garcia considers Donaire a good friend, as the Fil-Am star works under the tutelage of his older brother Robert, who also serves as Mikey’s assistant trainer.
It would make for a fascinating matchup but Garcia assured me it is one that will likely never happen because of the connection both men have to Robert.
And while not entertaining a possible ring duel with the 29-year old Donaire, Garcia did some time to break down Nonito’s recent title-winning victory over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on February 4th in San Antonio, Texas. In an entertaining scrap, Donaire would overcome an injured left hand and some rocky moments in pulling out a split-decision victory.
“I think Vazquez Jr., he’s a good fighter, he was already a world champion, but I think Donaire, his abilities as a fighter are above what Wilfredo Vazquez had to offer,” Garcia said, giving his take on the fight. “Donaire I think was in control most of the fight. There were a few rounds where he kind of pulled back just a little bit.
“Maybe because of his hand that he had hurt,” Garcia continued. “But overall he was out-boxing Vazquez Jr. most of the fight without much difficulty. He would press the fight and he would dominate. He would outbox him and he would also dominate. He was in control all night long.”
It seems likely that sometime this year we could be seeing Donaire in the ring with multi-division champion Jorge Arce. The Los Mochis, Mexico star is one to always press a good fight yet despite enjoying a late career run, Garcia doesn’t see the 32-year old giving Donaire any fits.
“I don’t think Arce will be able to sustain the abilities and the skills and the power that Donaire carries,” stated Garcia. “Donaire, right now, is at a much higher level than I think what Arce is at the moment. I think Arce, in the lower weight classes years ago, he was a really good fighter. He was really aggressive, very hard, strong. Now I think he’s maybe losing it a little bit. I think Donaire will likely stop him.”
Another intriguing scenario for Donaire would be a matchup with WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux. The two-time Cuban gold medalist was last seen starching former champ Rico Ramos on January 20th to capture the belt he now holds and he has shown himself to be a highly-efficient and dangerous puncher with loads of boxing ability.
Garcia’s is familiar with the southpaw but not too impressed.
“I’ve see him,” Garcia admitted. “I don’t think he’s a threat to Donaire. I think it will be a good matchup. He’s got a lot of experience as an amateur, not as a professional. He’s also a world champion, but I think Donaire has a lot more experience as a professional than Rigondeaux does. That will be a big factor. Rigondeaux's fast, and he’s a smart fighter, but I think Donaire is above their level of fighters."
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