Mikey Garcia didn’t have a firm grasp on what fight was next when he was first courted by Eddie Hearn more than a year ago. What he did know was that it wasn’t the right time to sign on with fledging over-the-top (OTT) media service DAZN.
Fast forward to present day, where has finally heard what he needed to in order to make the move.
“It was the right deal and the right agreement,” Garcia (39-1, 30KOs) told BoxingScene.com of his recent career move, which is accompanied by a February 29 showdown versus former two-division titlist Jessie Vargas. “I’m happy with the decision and the terms. It had to be a deal that worked best for everyone involved and also the right fight, where we give the fans a fight that excites them.”
News of his being paired up with Vargas (29-2-2, 11KOs) has been met with favorable reaction, as Garcia will fight for the second time as a welterweight. Their Feb. 29 DAZN headliner will air live from The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, marking his second straight fight at the weight and in the greater Dallas area.
His agreeing to terms marked the end of a lengthy pursuit by Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, who will serve as the lead promoter for this bout. Garcia heard what England’s leading promoter had to say of his plans to conquer the U.S. market, but instead decided to stick it out with Premier Boxing Champions, even as an unrestricted free agent.
It led to a lucrative showdown versus unbeaten welterweight titlist Errol Spence, against whom he dropped a lopsided 12-round decision for his lone career defeat. Garcia considered several proposals from PBC brass for a next fight under its umbrella, including his landing on the short list of potential opponents to next face legendary eight-division and reigning welterweight titlist Manny Pacquaio.
A mild surprise came of his instead signing with Hearn and DAZN. More so than the Vargas fight itself was the ability for the former four-division titlist to proceed with his career while staying true to the values which have helped him reach this point. That means entering and leaving without any real restrictions.
“It was important for the fans to be treated to a nice fight,” explained Garcia. “But the deal also had to be structured in a way that leaves me happy and independent.
"I’ve always worked on a fight by fight basis, so remaining that way was very important. I know it was announced that I finally signed with Matchroom… but this is more of a partnership.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox