By Keith Idec
Sergey Lipinets didn’t want to postpone the biggest fight of his career.
The IBF junior welterweight champion was concerned that his title defense against Mikey Garcia wouldn’t be rescheduled if Lipinets asked for some time to let his injured hand heal. Once a California State Athletic Commission doctor examined him, however, the Garcia-Lipinets fight was postponed four weeks, from February 10 to March 10.
Nearly six weeks later, Lipinets is thankful that the decision to delay the fight was made for him. The swelling has subsided and he hasn’t felt pain recently while preparing to face Garcia in a 12-round, 140-pound title fight Showtime will broadcast from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
“It’s better than ever,” Lipinets said about his hand during a conference call Monday. “It’s like a brand-new hand. It’s better than it was before. You will see that right hand in action, guaranteed, March 10th. Not once, but many, many times.”
Kazakhstan’s Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) essentially was training with one hand before his first title defense was postponed January 17. The newly crowned champion was frustrated initially, yet realizes that the one-month postponement will serve him well against Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs), a three-division champion who’s heavily favored to beat Lipinets.
“Of course I was upset,” Lipinets said. “Of course I was distraught. In hindsight, everything happens for a reason. I’ve been very philosophical about it. Whatever happens, happens. I’ve got a little more time. … I’m great now, so that’s now the main thing.”
Garcia-Lipinets will headline Showtime’s doubleheader March 10.
The telecast will begin with a 12-round rematch between Rances Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs) and Kiryl Relikh (21-2, 19 KOs) for the vacant WBA super lightweight title. Cuba’s Barthelemy beat Belarus’ Relikh in their first fight May 20, when he won a 12-round unanimous decision in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.