By Keith Idec
Mikey Garcia wasn’t about to wait around.
Once it became clearer to Garcia that a fight versus Vasiliy Lomachenko wouldn’t come together within what he considered an acceptable period of time, Garcia began pursuing a shot at Errol Spence Jr. The prevailing feeling among boxing fans and media, however, is that Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) would have had a much better chance to beat Lomachenko than Spence.
The four-division champion might’ve been a slight underdog against Ukraine’s Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) in their lightweight title unification fight. The taller, stronger, younger Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) is about a 4-1 favorite against Garcia two months in advance of their 12-round welterweight title match March 16 in Arlington, Texas.
The public’s perception doesn’t faze Garcia, who’ll move up two weight classes to oppose Spence in their FOX Pay-Per-View main event at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. Besides, the undefeated fighter from Oxnard, California, couldn’t continue holding out hope that the Lomachenko match would become a reality.
“He’s been calling for my name for ever since after the, I think it was after the Walters fight, Nicholas Walters,” Garcia told Tha Boxing Voice during an interview posted Monday to its YouTube page. “He’s been saying he’s ready to fight me and he keeps fighting other guys. He just had a fight against [Jose] Pedraza [on December 8]. He didn’t choose me for his last fight, end-of-the-year fight.
“Knowing the history between Top Rank and me, I mean, am I just gonna be sitting on the sideline, waiting for that fight to happen? Or am I gonna move forward with my career and look for something bigger and the biggest challenge available?”
A contractual conflict between Garcia, 31, and Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. initiated Garcia’s 2½-year layoff. Garcia eventually bought himself out of that contract with Top Rank, which promotes Lomachenko, in May 2016 and returned to the ring two months later.
Garcia has since established himself as one of the sport’s best boxers, pound-for-pound. He has won the WBC lightweight title, the IBF junior welterweight title and then the IBF lightweight championship in three of his past four fights.
In those three bouts, Garcia has defeated opponents who were unbeaten before they fought him – Dejan Zlaticanin, Sergey Lipinets and Robert Easter Jr.
Lomachenko, meanwhile, is expected to return to the ring April 12 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. His opponent hasn’t been determined, but the three-division champion could face the winner of a February 2 bout between Ghana’s Richard Commey (27-2, 24 KOs) and Russia’s Isa Chaniev (13-1, 6 KOs) for the IBF lightweight title Garcia vacated.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.