Mikey Garcia wasn’t thrilled with the 50 weeks he had to go between his last two fights, nor does he ever again want to experience the 30-month ring hiatus he endured before his comeback in July 2016.
On that note, the former four-division titlist doesn’t want to waste any more time than necessary out of the ring—even if it means fighting in a far more intimate crowd than to which he’s grown accustomed.
“Initially, I’m not very excited for a venue like that, or that scenario,” Garcia (40-1, 30KOs) admitted on the thought of fighting without fans in attendance, during the most recent segment of Time Out With Ray Flores on the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) Instagram Live account. “Fighting in a studio or warehouse or wherever may be, I’m not so excited about that.
“I love the fans, I love the crowd. The most special moment is the ring walk, at least it is for me. Hearing the music, the fans getting up and cheering me on, that’s emotional. It brings tears to my eyes sometimes. That’s the best feeling. I don’t know how it would be fighting without any fans or very many people around me. It’s just one of those different scenarios we’re just going to have to take. But I’m willing to give it a try. I probably won’t like it, but I’m willing to do it if that’s what it takes.”
Garcia rediscovered the win column in his most recent bout, a 12-round win over former two-division titlist Jessie Vargas (29-3-2, 11KOs) this past February in Frisco, Texas. The bout topped one of the last cards to take place anywhere in the world prior to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak wreaking havoc worldwide. It also provided the Oxnard, California native with a fight oi 2020, a situation not bestowed on very many in the sport, with events canceled since mid-May and not likely to resume action until the start of summer at the very earliest.
It affects the 2020 plan in mind for Garcia, who—after losing to Errol Spence last March in his lone fight of 2019—was hoping to secure three fights this year, including a high profile showdown versus legendary Filipino southpaw Manny Pacquiao. Instead, he will look for any reasonable opportunity to return in September or thereabout—with or without fans in attendance.
“If this whole virus doesn’t go away, and we’re not able to secure the vaccines and medication or whatever, then we’re going to have to move on with scenarios like this,” theorizes Garcia. “Indoor type of studio events instead of live attendance, it’s going to change, it’s going to be different. It’s going to be one of the things we will have to do. We can’t do anything else. I also don’t want to retire. I don’t have any plans to retire. I don’t want to retire. So I will have to fight.
“I definitely want to be back (in the ring). Especially if things start to look better with the COVID virus. Even if it is an indoor fight in a studio warehouse wherever may be, then I just want to come back and look for the bigger fights after that. Like I said, I’m not ready to retire. I want to push hard and to accomplish a lot more and I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to fight in an arena like. It’s not my first choice, it’s not what I prefer but if that’s what it takes then that’s what’s going to have to happen.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox