By Keith Idec
Mikey Garcia doesn’t consider his fight against Adrien Broner a permanent move to 140 pounds.
The undefeated Garcia expects to move back down to the lightweight division after battling Broner on July 29 at an undetermined site (Showtime). Garcia considered the opportunity to box Broner too good – and too lucrative – to pass up, thus the WBC 135-pound champion temporarily set aside plans to participate in lightweight title unification fights.
“It’s the biggest fight available for me right now,” Garcia said during a conference call Thursday. “Originally, my plan was to unify at 135. If that was not available, I would look at big names to defend my title at lightweight. But again, that wasn’t quite available and Adrien Broner is a much bigger name and a bigger star and has accomplished a lot in the sport. So it just made more sense to go and pursue the Adrien Broner fight than a regular title defense.”
The 29-year-old Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) won the WBC lightweight title in his last fight, when he knocked out Montenegro’s Dejan Zlaticanin (22-1, 15 KOs) in the third round January 28 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. His victory over Zlaticanin represented Garcia’s first fight as a full-fledged lightweight and he doesn’t want to make just a one-fight stop in that division.
“I would like to come back down to lightweight and unify the title or defend my title before making a permanent move up,” Garcia said. “But because this fight was available right now and it’s a much bigger fight than anything else in the lightweight division, like I mentioned earlier, that’s why we’re moving up to 140. But if unification matches are available at 135 later this year, then that’s what I’m gonna go after.”
Before the Broner bout became a realistic alternative last week, Garcia had hoped to arrange a 135-pound championship unification fight against either WBA champion Jorge Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) or WBO champion Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs). Venezuela’s Linares, a former WBC lightweight champion, also is owed a mandatory shot at the WBC title Garcia owns.
“I still hope we can get something like that for the end of the year, but it just wasn’t happening [for] this summer,” Garcia said. “The Linares team said that they would like maybe a voluntary title defense of his title, just like the WBC had already agreed that it was OK for either one of us to take a voluntary title defense.
“With Flanagan, I heard it was a very good possibility to get done. But I think he’s also got a fight with [Felix] Verdejo possibly as a mandatory. It was kind of something where we would have to wait for a result for that fight. So like I said, it was a little more complicated to keep waiting and try to get these matches. But an Adrien Broner fight came up and it was a lot easier to get that than anything else.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.