FRISCO, Texas – Mikey Garcia fully understands why doubters don’t think he should continue competing at welterweight.
Garcia says they shouldn’t feel any other way based on how he lost to Errol Spence Jr. last year. The former four-division champion suffered such a lopsided loss to the bigger, stronger Spence in their pay-per-view main event last March 16, most boxing observers figured Garcia would return to the 140-pound division for his comeback bout.
The 32-year-old Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) had difficulty finding credible, willing opponents at 140 pounds, though, which made him try again at welterweight. The Moreno Valley, California, resident is motivated to redeem himself when he squares off against Jessie Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KOs) on Saturday night at the Dallas Cowboys’ trainer center, Ford Center at The Star.
“It doesn’t bother me that people have doubts,” Garcia told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Wednesday at the Omni Frisco Hotel. “That’s perfectly understandable when all of the judgment is based on one fight, what was a horrible performance for me that night. I can understand why people keep doubting that I should even stay at 147.
“But I wanna use this fight to prove to everybody that I can be a solid contender at welterweight. That’s what people are gonna realize – last time was my first time at welterweight. It was a bad fight, but there’s a lot more to Mikey Garcia.”
Garcia won world titles at featherweight (126 pounds), junior lightweight (130), lightweight (135) and junior welterweight (140) before he jumped up two weight classes to challenge Spence for the IBF welterweight title nearly a year ago at nearby AT&T Stadium, the Cowboys’ home venue. Spence (26-0, 21 KOs), a taller, sharper southpaw, won every round on each judge’s scorecard on his way to winning their 12-round, 147-pound championship match by unanimous decision.
Due to the one-sided nature of his loss to Spence, Garcia doesn’t think fans and media members consider him a credible contender within the welterweight division.
“Based on my last performance, it’s not fair to say that,” Garcia said. “I totally understand that. But after this Saturday night’s performance, I think they’ll definitely change their minds.”
DAZN will stream Garcia-Vargas live in the United States as the main event of a nine-bout card (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT). Sky Sports will air their fight as the headliner of a live event set to start at 1 a.m. GMT in the United Kingdom.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.