By Jake Donovan
Mikey Garcia is back—just not yet in the ring.
The former four-division titlist elected to speak on a number of subjects while serving as a guest host on Wednesday’s installment of Inside PBC Boxing on FS1. Among the topics addressed was his status as a long-reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight titlist, which—as BoxingScene.com previously reported—came to an end earlier this week.
Separating from the division, however, isn’t quite cut and dry in his mind.
“I haven’t officially made that decision yet that it’s done,” Garcia (39-1, 30KOs) told Fox Sports’ Kate Abdo, although indirectly referring to his status as WBC Champion Emeritus. “Mauricio (Sulaiman, WBC President) and I still have to discuss some options.
“The last thing I want is to vacate the title. But I don’t plan on fighting my next fight at 135. So, what he told me was that if I choose to fight at a different weight class, that someone else will fight for my title.”
Garcia won the WBC 135-pound belt in Jan. ’17, scoring a sizzling 3rd round knockout of then-unbeaten champ Dejan Zlaticanin. The feat came in just his second fight back following a forced 30-month hiatus, having since collected two more titles—one each at lightweight and super lightweight, both of which he vacated soon thereafter.
Special permission was granted to hold onto his WBC 135-pound title until after his eventual 12-round loss to Errol Spence in a failed welterweight title bid this past March. More than a month passed by before Garcia sat down with the head brass at the WBC to decide next steps, at which point he acknowledged he wasn’t ready to commit to a mandator title defense versus England’s Luke Campbell.
“That’s just the way it is. That’s pretty much what I did. I said that I can vacate the title,” Garcia noted, although also acknowledging the possibility of a superfight with unified titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko being enough to lure him back to lightweight. “That’s why it’s hard to say that I’m definitely done (at lightweight). For the moment, we are… for the moment.
“My next fight will not be at lightweight, which is why we vacated the title.”
Instead, the youngest member of a deep boxing family remains affixed on his goal of becoming a five-division world champion. Garcia captured titles at featherweight and super featherweight in his first career before entering a 2½ year legal battle with estranged promoter Top Rank, from whom he finally separated in 2016.
Title wins at lightweight and super lightweight have followed, collecting three belts in a span of five fights before running into Spence in a lopsided performance. The one-sided affair didn’t leave any room for a rematch, but also hasn’t discouraged the 31-year old Californian from seeking out another title claimant at the weight.
Even if that fight doesn’t come next, what won’t take place is returning all the way back to the beginning.
“I want to fight big fights,” Garcia insists. “If I can get another title shot next, I would do it. It’s probably not gonna happen, but I would definitely jump on another title opportunity. At this stage of my career, the experience and level of fighter I believe I am, I don’t believe I need tune-up fights.
“I don’t need to return to 10-round fights against journeymen. I don’t feel like I need that. I want to use this time as an adjustment to compete at the welterweight division. I do want a fifth world title, in a fifth division.”
A timetable or even an exact weight has yet to be revealed for his next fight. Basically, any fight that makes sense is very much on the table.
“I want to see what is available at 140 and 147, but I do know I want to pursue another title at 147. We will what’s available. We have to explore those options. My next fight could be at 140. But I do know that I want another title shot at 147.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox