Whenever Mikey Garcia can box again, the four-division champion wants a difficult fight.
Garcia isn’t looking to simply stay busy once the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Manny Pacquiao tops Garcia’s wish list, but he is intrigued by possible bouts against Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman if his much-discussed showdown with Pacquiao doesn’t come together.
The 32-year-old Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) wants current or former welterweight champions, not nondescript underdogs. The Oxnard, California, native explained his position on potential opponents to Premier Boxing Champions’ Ray Flores as part of an interview that was posted recently to PBC’s YouTube channel.
“I just don’t get excited for a tune-up fight,” Garcia said. “That’s not gonna get me excitement, and it’s not gonna allow me to perform. You know, I need a big challenge. I need a big name, a big opponent that can challenge me and push me, you know, in order for me to perform. You know, this last fight with Jessie Vargas, he was available, he fit the bill that we wanted, the fight at the time.
“We looked at other names, but they were unfortunately unavailable. They weren’t available for the time that we needed. And then some of the names that were brought up to me were just not exciting. You know, they were tune-up fights, they were comeback fights, and I just didn’t want that.”
Beating Vargas in their 12-round welterweight fight two months ago gave Garcia confidence following a one-sided, unanimous-decision defeat to unbeaten IBF/WBC champ Errol Spence Jr. in Garcia’s 147-pound debut.
Each judge scored all 12 rounds for Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) in their FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event in March 2019 at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Garcia knocked down Las Vegas’ Vargas (29-3-2, 11 KOs) in the fifth round and beat him by comfortable margins on two scorecards February 29 at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
“I know I do not need a tune-up fight,” Garcia said. “I do not need a gimme fight, just to get back in the ring. I do not need that, you know. I need a challenge, you know, in order to grow, in order to show everybody what I’m capable of doing. And, you know, Jessie did that. You know, he’s a former two-division champion, a former welterweight champion. His only two defeats had come to the hands of Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.
“You know, so it was the right opponent – a big, natural guy that I can showcase my skills against. And now I’m looking for bigger fights. You know, I’m looking for the biggest fights available. … I’m willing to fight anybody, you know, that’s available and that makes sense. That’s how I keep growing. That’s how my fans keep growing and that’s why they love me so much.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.