By Keith Idec
Mikey Garcia considers his second fight at 140 pounds more than dangerous than his first.
Garcia’s convincing win against Adrien Broner proved the WBC lightweight champion can succeed as a junior welterweight. The unbeaten Garcia knows full well, though, that Sergey Lipinets is a bigger puncher than Broner and thus should pose a bigger risk when they fight for Lipinets’ IBF 140-pound championship February 10 in San Antonio.
“I think this is a more dangerous fight,” Garcia told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Monday in Los Angeles. “He’s more dangerous than Adrien Broner, even though Broner is more talented when it comes to skills and athleticism.”
Cincinnati’s Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) won world titles in four weight classes and has fought as high as the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. That didn’t stop Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) from out-boxing him and often keeping Broner at a distance because Broner was wary of Garcia’s power July 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Lipinets, 28, has knocked out 10 of his first 13 professional opponents.
The undefeated fighter from Kazakhstan won the then-vacant IBF junior welterweight title Terence Crawford vacated by out-pointing Japan’s Akihiro Kondo in their 12-round fight November 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Kondo (29-7-1, 16 KOs) has not lost by knockout or technical knockout during his 11-year pro career.
While not as experienced as Broner, Garcia feels Lipinets’ power sets him apart.
“With Broner, even though Broner is naturally a bigger man [than me], he’s known to be a little more defensive when it comes to the fight,” Garcia said. “He’s also very fast with his hands. But this guy Lipinets, he’s dangerous from round one to the last one. He’s always swinging, always punching with heavy hands. That’s something that we have to be aware of.”
Garcia, 30, considers those heavy hands the ultimate equalizer for Lipinets, despite that the Oxnard, California, native has nearly three times as many professional fights on his record.
“He’s a new champion, but he has a lot of experience fighting,” Garcia said. “He was a kickboxer before and he’s a fighter. He’s dangerous. He’s a naturally bigger man than I am. That’s something we have to watch out for because inside the ring one punch can really make a difference and change the fight. So we have to be careful for that. But I think, overall, I have very good boxing skills, which can help me overcome the size advantage that he has.”
Showtime will televise Garcia-Lipinets as the main event of a doubleheader February 10 from the Alamodome.
In the opener, 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 beat 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.