Mikey Garcia outpoints Sergey Lipinets to claim fourth world title in as many divisions
Garcia continues to show why he's one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world
If there's a hole in Mikey Garcia's game as a well-rounded boxer, it hasn't been found yet.
Despite being matched against the crafty and smothering Sergey Lipinets on Saturday, Garcia further cemented his status as one of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in boxing following an exciting unanimous decision (116-111, 117-110 twice) at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) relied on his poise and craft to capture his fourth world title in as many divisions in a fun and very technical fight for Lipinets' IBF junior welterweight title. CBS Sports scored the fight 115-112 for Garcia, who also holds the WBC lightweight belt.
"It's a great feeling. Winning this fourth world title in as many divisions is an honor," Garcia said. "Getting to be mentioned with the likes of Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is a huge accomplishment and a huge honor for me. I'm very grateful for everything that has happened to me. I'm very excited and very emotional."
With his older brother and trainer Robert by his side, Garcia, 30, fought back tears while talking about the impact of his accomplishment.
"It just leaves a little piece and little chapter in boxing with my name, my brother and my dad [Eduardo]," Garcia said. "People will remember the Garcia name for ages to come."
The challenge Garcia faced was a stiff one in Lipinets (13-1, 10 KOs), as the native of Kazakhstan was tricky when able to close distance and willing to absorb clean shots in order to throw with Garcia and time him with counter shots.
Lipinets, 28, bloodied the nose of Garcia late in Round 1 and did well to keep every round competitive. In fact, Garcia's ability to rally in the final 30 seconds of many rounds with a flurry of big right hands likely helped him win the swing rounds.
"He came in exactly as I expected --very tough, very determined and very hungry," Garcia said. "He's a strong fighter and we had to work with angles, footwork and behind the jab because he knew he was going to be there for a long night. He was very determined and dangerous with those overhand rights and left hooks. We had to be very careful but we had a great game plan and were very prepared."
After his corner warned him to stay off the ropes amid a mid-fight rally from Lipinets, Garcia created a cushion on the scorecards in Round 7. Both fighters uncorked left hooks at roughly the same time. Despite the fact that Lipinets' landed first, Garcia's was much more flush, sending Lipinets down hard to the canvas.
"I realized that Mikey is a great fighter and can crack," Lipinets said through a translator. "That's all it was. It was just experience."
The punch was a clear indication for Garcia of just how well he has carried his power up to 140 pounds.
"I landed mine right on the chin and that's what brought him down but we both were exchanging at the same time," Garcia said. "I know i carry the power but I was fighting a bigger man who takes a good punch. There were moments where I thought I had stunned him a little or hurt him but not enough for me to go after him. I had to be very careful. I didn't want to get caught with an overhand right and go down by accident so I had to be very patient."
Garcia used his jab as an accurate weapon throughout and responded to the majority of hard punches landed by Lipinets with instant combinations to gain back respect. He went on to outland Lipinets, 169 to 144, according to ShoStats.
With the victory, Garcia continues to weigh his options and remains willing to fight anyone between 135 and (eventually) 147 pounds.
"I love the most that I have all these options," Garcia said. "I can come down to 135 and unify all these titles, which is what I really want to do. Then I would move up to 140 and unify those titles and possibly go to 147 after that. Two or three more fights, you are going to see me at welterweight for sure."
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