Hector Garcia now has mandatory obligations ahead after taking his shot at greatness.

BoxingScene.com has confirmed the reigning WBA junior lightweight titlist is required to next face number-one contender Lamont Roach. The sanctioning body has instructed both camps to begin negotiations for their mandatory title fight which is due to take place no later than May 20.

The deadline for the actual fight to take place is likely to be extended. The clock is already ticking, however, for the process to actually deliver the fight.

“The World Boxing Association (WBA) Championships Committee has notified Dominican Hector Garcia, current Super Featherweight champion, that his mandatory opponent is American Lamont Roach, currently ranked number one in the WBA rankings, on Monday, March 20,” WBA Championship Committee chairman Carlos Chavez stated in a formal letter to both boxers, of which a copy was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “[B]oth parties have 30 days to negotiate and send the contracts to the WBA Championships Committee before April 19, 2023. 

“Should any of the parties express their unwillingness to negotiate, the Championships Committee will call for an auction, the percentage of which will be divided as follows: 75% for the champion and 25% for the mandatory challenger.”

Garcia fights under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner, while Roach is signed to Golden Boy Promotions.

Garcia (16-1, 10KOs; 3NC) claimed the WBA 130-pound belt in a 12-round decision victory over Roger Gutierrez last August 20 in Hollywood, Florida.

The win came with the understanding that he would be granted a voluntary fight as long as he honored his mandatory obligation within the nine-month period to make such a title defense. The 31-year-old Dominican southpaw used that opportunity to challenge for Gervonta Davis’ WBA ‘Regular’ lightweight title, though he suffered his first defeat when Davis’ late power surge momentarily left Garcia with compromised vision as he was forced to quit after eight rounds this past January 7 at Capitol One Arena in Washington, D.C.

Roach (23-1-1, 9KOs) became the mandatory challenger after a twelve-round win over Angel Rodriguez in their WBA final eliminator last July 16 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Judges Raul Caiz Sr. (116-112), Pat Russell (116-112) and Zachary Young (117-111) in favor of Roach, a 27-year-old contender from the greater D.C. area who has won four in a row since a points loss to Jamel Herring in their November 2019 WBO junior lightweight title fight.

Per WBA by-laws, neither fighter can pursue another bout once a sanctioned fight is officially ordered. Failure by Garcia to defend would result in his being stripped of the title, while any inability by Roach to proceed with the challenger will end with his having to forfeit his current ranking.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox