Mikey Garcia vs. Sergey Lipinets fight prediction, boxing odds, fight card, preview
Garcia looks for fourth world title in as many divisions entering Saturday's 140-pound showdown
Mikey Garcia may well be on his way to being one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world. The three division world champion is looking to grab a fourth belt on Saturday when he steps in the ring against Sergey Lipinets.
Since his comeback from a self-induced, two-year break from boxing in order to gain independence from former promoter Top Rank, Garcia has been dead set on proving he's among the best in the world.
In 2017, Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) made a compelling case moving up to lightweight and viciously stopping WBC champion Dejan Zlaticanin in a Knockout of the Year candidate before.
Along with elevating himself as high as the top five of most pound-for-pound lists, Garcia declared he's more or less willing to take on any of the big names between 135 and 147 pounds in order to silence any remaining doubters.
On Saturday, the 30-year-old Garcia looks for his fourth world title in as many weight classes when he challenges IBF 140-pound champion Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) in the main event of a Showtime card (10:15 p.m. ET) from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
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"I want to take on these big opportunities because I want to challenge myself," Garcia said. "This is another chance to prove to all the fans what kind of fighter I am."
The scary part about Garcia is not just how good he looked after sitting idle for 30 months during the physical prime of his career, but how much he continues to evolve as a well-rounded fighter. Recognized from a young age for his boxing craft, Garcia was never one to flash his power in the early rounds unless an overaggressive opponent (think Orlando Salido in 2013) forced him to defend himself.
The new and matured version of Garcia has been much more willing to let his hands go depending on the opponent, which has helped him shed the "boring" label that once followed. Part of that has come through the need to establish his power as he moves up in weight.
"People still haven't seen the best out of me," Garcia said. "I keep telling people, the best is yet to come for a reason. I need the right opponent to challenge me, to push me to the limit so they can bring out the best out of me.
"When I was fighting Adrien Broner, I told everybody that I would box and make the fight easy for me. Not a lot of people believed that because they just haven't seen that side of me or they haven't seen it in Broner. That's why with this fight with Lipinets I get to release all my skills."
Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs), who turned pro in 2014, won the vacant IBF title in November when he outpointed Akihiro Kondo. Despite winning a world title in just his 13th pro fight, the native of Kazakhstan has yet to record a career-defining victory, which was part of the fuel for him accepting the fight against Garcia.
"I'm just delighted, I'm just very excited about the opportunity," Lipinets said. "I believe that that's the only way we can make a statement in boxing. Even winning the title, I still didn't really feel like a champ because of the fact that I didn't really fight a guy that had been on the top of the game in the world of boxing. It's just that I really can't wait until I shows my skills and prove to myself first and then, everybody else, that I belong at the top of the food chain."
Garcia, who still holds his lightweight title, insists he's not done at 135 pounds and still hopes to unify titles in the division before moving up in weight for good. He expects to make the move to welterweight as early as the end of 2018, likely to chase big-money opportunities.
Looking past Lipinets, however, is not something he's willing to do.
"It took me 30 fights to get a title and it only took him 13," Garcia said. "So, it definitely tells you he's champion material and experienced enough to be there. I think the deciding factor and what's going to allow me to do prevail is my boxing abilities, my speed, my footwork, my timing. The skills that I possess, I think are greater and that's just going to help me win my fight.
"But there's some more to Lipinets than just the power. There's more than just that right hand. So those are things I have to be aware of, I have to be cautious about. That's why he is a world champion so I respect him."
Garcia vs. Lipinets fight card, odds
Mikey Garcia -2000
Sergey Lipinets (c) +900
Junior welterweight title
Rances Barthelemy -230
Kiryl Relikh +180
Despite a right hand injury suffered in training that forced him to postpone their original February date, Lipinets insists he is fully healed. His key to success on Saturday, however, likely has more to do with his feet than his powerful right hand.
A stalker who looks to cut off the ring and bring the fight to his opponent, Lipinets should have his hands full with such a fluid technician as Garcia. The key will be whether he can cut off Garcia's angles and turn the expected boxing match into more of a fight.
For as outgunned as Lipinets is expected to be in terms of class, Garcia has yet to prove his power is as damaging at junior welterweight as it has been in the lower weight classes. The champion's only chance may come in being as physical (if not dirty) as he can.
The problem with that equation is finding the perfect balance for how much pressure to put on. Garcia's accuracy allows him to light up pressure fighters with enough pop to make them pay, as Zlaticanin found out in a violent way.
The fight is ultimately Garcia's to win. The only question is whether Lipinets' heart and chin can prove stronger than Garcia's pop at the new weight class.
Pick: Garcia via 10th-round TKO.
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