Mikey Garcia lost the much vaunted zero on his record when he lost his first professional fight to Errol Spence Jr. in his pay-per-view debut.
For most fighters, a defeat can be deemed as two steps back. For Garcia, it might as well have been another step forward, as he’s fresh off signing a one-fight, $7 million deal with Matchroom Boxing to fight Jessie Vargas on Feb. 29 in Texas on DAZN.
“My mind is not on the loss. It’s to keep moving forward in a positive direction,” Garcia told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “Losses are a part of boxing. You lost. So what? I fought the best guy in the division and moved up two weight classes. Why should I be sad and crying? If I keep dwelling on the past, then I’ll be depressed. That’s not who I am. Fast forward to now, I’m f------ excited! I’ve been on a high hitting on everything that I wanted. This is f------ badass. I can’t believe how I took that loss, it’s like nothing ever happened. I keep going, and I’m doing very well.”
The 32-year-old Garcia’s (39-1, 30 KOs) stock still remains high, as a date with Manny Pacquiao later in 2020 seems within arms reach if he can successfully get past the bigger Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KOs). Garcia doesn’t feel down on himself, or his chances, against the fellow Mexican fighter.
“There’s a lot more I can deliver that wasn’t shown in my last fight,” said Garcia. “I know that for a fact. My fans know that I can provide more, but for whatever reason I just wasn’t able to. I was slow, sluggish and tired versus Spence. Everything that could have went wrong, went wrong, and there was nothing else I could do. I want to prove that I am faster, smarter and stronger.”
Garcia’s stance on the loss is a refreshing approach, but it shouldn’t be lost that his vast viability stems from his marketability. He remains a big draw in the Southern California and Texas markets and pulls mass audiences toward TV almost every time that he fights.
DAZN is hoping Garcia’s one-fight dance can mirror many of the metrics he provided throughout the years fighting on HBO, Showtime, and most recently, Fox pay-per-view by way of new subscribers to the streaming platform.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].