By Keith Idec
Mikey Garcia could win a world title in a fourth weight class March 10.
If Garcia beats Sergey Lipinets, he could remain at 140 pounds to defend the IBF junior welterweight title. The undefeated three-division champion also has discussed moving up seven more pounds to take a meaningful fight at welterweight.
If the Oxnard, California, native had to pick, though, Garcia would fight at lightweight. He feels most comfortable fighting at the 135-pound limit, the division in which Garcia thinks he is a more powerful puncher.
Win or lose against Lipinets, Garcia could move back down to lightweight for his following fight. The WBC lightweight champ has repeatedly discussed 135-pound title unification fights against WBA champ Jorge Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) and IBF champ Robert Easter Jr. (21-0, 14 KOs), as well as a higher-profile showdown with WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs).
“I think as of right now, the best, ideal weight for me is still the lightweight division,” Garcia said during a conference call Monday. “I feel that lightweight is probably where I should be fighting. But I’m open to taking on challenges, and that’s why we’re taking on Sergey Lipinets. I got a good feel for the division at 140 pounds when I fought Adrien Broner last summer. And I felt good. I felt comfortable in that weight class. And that’s why we’re taking on Lipinets this time, because I feel comfortable enough to fight at 140 pounds.”
Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) out-boxed Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) on his way to winning convincingly in their 12-round, 140-pound bout July 29 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Though a heavy favorite against Lipinets, Garcia is very mindful of his opponent’s power.
“Sergey is a strong, natural 140-pounder, but I feel comfortable enough being here,” Garcia said. “Do I feel stronger? I don’t know. Maybe the guys are bigger guys, and that’s why they can take a bigger punch. At lightweight, they’re a little smaller. Maybe I can hurt ‘em a little more. But I’m open to fighting, you know, anybody that presents a challenge. And Sergey definitely does that, and that’s why we took this fight.”
Showtime will air Garcia-Lipinets as the main event of a doubleheader March 10 from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
In the opening bout, Cuba’s Rances Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs) will battle Belarus’ Kiryl Relikh (21-2, 19 KOs) in a 12-round rematch for the vacant WBA super lightweight title. Barthelemy defeated Relikh by unanimous decision in their first fight, May 20 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.