Mikey Garcia will fight for the first time since February 2020 when he returns to face Sandor Martin on Oct. 16 for a 145-pound catchweight bout on DAZN. 

Garcia was intent on fighting former 140-pound champion Regis Prograis, but the bout ultimately was left on the negotiation table due to monetary constraints. 

“We were originally at trying to fight against Regis Prograis. The timing and schedules of DAZN and Matchroom didn’t quite fit with the budgets that were required and the dates and stuff,” Garcia told Fight Hype.

“[Eddie Hearn] said DAZN didn’t have the budget for that type of fight [with Prograis]. That would require a different promotion, more time to promote, and more time to build up the fight. They didn’t have the time to do that. So the name that he brought up was Sandor Martin ... it should be a good fight. It also allows me to come back and get in the rhythm.”

The former four-division champion Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) inked a deal with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN in 2019 and fought former 147-pound titleholder Jessie Vargas for his promotional debut, reportedly scoring a handsome $7 million purse for the bout.

DAZN’s United States budget is much more conservative nowadays. Garcia’s showcase against Martin will not come close to nearing what they paid him to fight Vargas. 

Garcia has been lingering since the pandemic started looking for a formidable foe. He was tied as a potential opponent for Manny Pacquiao, but a deal never materialized. 

Instead, Garcia settled for Martin (38 -2, 13 KOs), a little-known 28-year old Spaniard who’s never fought in the United States. Their fight will take place at the Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California. 

“I haven’t fought in a year and a half now. It’s a good fight. If we get through this very well, I’m sure the next one will be a much better fight and a much more important fight too,” said Garcia. “It can be a fight with Regis or possibly a title fight or something like that. This is a good fight for my return.”

Prograis was upset that the fight fell apart. 

“It is what it is,” Prograis told BoxingScene.com in an interview with Keith Idec. “Listen, Mikey, he has a name and I guess that’s what he’s gonna do. But I would definitely like to know what the numbers are looking like for him to fight somebody like that. Sometimes, I’m not gonna lie, it just seems like it’s not fair. I had a bunch of hard fights coming up and then somebody like that could just fight a person nobody’s ever heard of.

“I mean, of course, I don’t know the numbers, but I’m pretty sure Mikey’s gonna get paid something good just to fight a nobody. To me, it’s not fair. But hey, what can you do about it? That’s why I’m out here chilling in Colombia now. I’ll be back when they update me with something.

“It’s very frustrating – very with a capital ‘v.’ When they told me I had this fight scheduled, I just wanted to win so bad. The whole Josh Taylor thing got to me. I’m not gonna lie, I never thought I could lose. Of course, I know everybody is beatable and stuff like that. Nobody is invincible, but for me, I train so much and I have so much passion for the sport to where I never thought I can lose. So, when they told me I could fight Mikey, I’m like, ‘Man, I don’t need a date. I’m gonna train. I’m gonna do what I’ve gotta do.’ Like every day, I was training because I wanna get better.

“With those numbers, he probably won’t fight me, to be honest. Listen, if he made $7 million to fight Jessie Vargas, he’s definitely not gonna fight me for $3 million, $2 million, $2.5 million. If it’s still that number by the time we could fight again, yeah, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. And I definitely don’t think Mikey’s scared or nothing like that. I would never say that because Mikey’s a real fighter.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com