Mikey Garcia maintains his desire to fight Errol Spence Jr. over Vasiliy Lomachenko
Garcia is very serious about his plans to face the very best in the future
When four-division champion and current WBC lightweight titleholder Mikey Garcia says he only wants to fight the very best, he apparently isn't kidding.
Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs), who is recognized among the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world, is currently preparing for his July 28 unification bout (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET) against the difficult IBF champion Robert Easter Jr. (21-0, 14 KOs) in Los Angeles. That's just the beginning, however, of an ambitious plan which left some in recent weeks wondering if he was serious.
Upon further review, the 30-year-old Garcia is deadly serious. He confirmed as much Tuesdaywhen asked to address talk that he's considering moving up two weight classes to challenge welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
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"I am, I'm very serious," Garcia said. "After this fight, I think [Spence] is the only fight that excites me, mainly because everybody is doubting me. Everybody is not taking me serious or thinking I'm just playing or joking and not real serious about it. But I definitely would like the opportunity to move up to 147 [pounds] and challenge Errol Spence for his title."
Garcia has never fought at welterweight although he campaigned at 140 pounds over the past year, soundly outpointing Adrien Broner last July before holding off a determined Sergey Lipinets to win the IBF junior welterweight title. Garcia went on to vacate the title shortly after, choosing instead to focusing on unifying at lightweight where there are more marketable opponents.
The idea of moving up 12 pounds to face a fighter the class of Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), however, is nothing to speak about lightly. The 28-year-old has long been anointed the next great welterweight star in waiting, and with the exception of his breakthrough title win over Kell Brook in 2017, Spence has had trouble attracting elite names to fight him.
Despite the fact that Spence is considered a large welterweight and, as a southpaw, wields a dangerous mix of power, speed and precision, Garcia isn't flinching. Nor is he concerned about the three-inch height and four-inch reach advantages Spence would enjoy.
"I think it would be a great matchup and one of those fights that people would talk about for the ages," Garcia said. "He is the top dog right now, top champion at 147, so who else would I go after? I've got to go after the big names and the champions who excite me the most and he's the one."
The move to call out Spence was seen as a surprise, not just because Garcia has long said he would only move up to welterweight for the right fight -- which most assumed meant financially -- but that he already seemed on a collision course to one day face fellow lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs), who is almost universally considered the world's best fighter.
Considering the size and power advantage Garcia would have over Lomachenko on paper, it would seem like a smarter move in theory than facing someone as dangerous as Spence. From Garcia's perspective, that's the exact reason why he is going the other way.
"I think Lomachenko is an easier fight for me so I would rather take on a more difficult fight," Garcia said. "After Errol Spence, I would welcome Lomachenko at 135 and I'd meet him there. Again, I just want the opportunity to show everybody that I'm not here just racking up wins over nobody. I'm beating champions and taking on the big tests, big fights and biggest challenges. The biggest challenges available is the one I'm going to go after."
Last August, Garcia and Lomachenko met for the first time in person when they crossed paths at ESPN studios in Los Angeles doing media for their respective fights. The interaction between them was caught on camera and shared on social media.
"He actually said that I wasn't as big as he thought," Garcia said. "I could tell there is a size difference and I'm actually a bigger guy than him even though we did both start at featherweight. That advantage is there but he's also the kind of guy that doesn't really use the size over his opponents as much as nimbleness and speed and agility. So size may not be the only thing that affects a fight between him and I. I've got to work on other things like being sharp and being quick if we ever do get in the ring."
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