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Mikey Garcia looking past Broner fight, wants Linares

Adrien Broner Jorge Linares Mikey Garcia

By Dan Ambrose: Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) is seemingly already viewing his next fight on July 29 against Adrien “The Problem” Broner as a victory in the win column, and he’s now got his eyes on moving back down to the lightweight division to face WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares in a unification fight.

If Garcia can’t get the Linares fight, then he wants to face some of the other lightweight champions – Terry Flanagan or Robert Easter Jr. – in a unification fight. It looks to some boxing fans that Mikey is underachieving by wanting to go back down to lightweight to face obscure champions rather than staying at 140 and really testing himself against the likes of Terence Crawford or Julius Indongo. Does Mikey not trust his own ability to beat those fighters?

It might be a mistake for the 29-year-old Garcia to be looking past Broner (33-2, 24 KOs), because he’s a very tough opponent with more size and big time experience against bigger fighters than Garcia. We’ve all heard Mikey Garcia’s brother/trainer Robert Garcia brag about how he supposedly hits harder than guys like Marcos Maidana.

Whether that’s true or not is unclear. What Robert doesn’t understand is just because Mikey can hit hard doesn’t mean he would have been able to handle getting hit by a powerful guy like Maidana for 12 rounds without falling apart and getting stopped. In looking at Mikey’s fight against Orlando Salido in 2013, Mikey looked to be in the panic mode when he started getting hit by Salido in the 7th and 8th rounds.

Before that, Mikey had things his own weight in dominating Salido. Mikey was allowed to get away with holding his left hand far out in front of him and using it to shove Salido all night long without being warned or penalized by the referee for this illegal tactic.

When Salido was finally able to get past Mikey’s outstretched left arm in the 7th, he was starting to get to him, and Mikey’s punches had lost steam due to fatigue and the effects of the body shots that Salido was hitting him with. You can make a strong argument that Salido would have beaten Mikey if not for Robert Garcia having the fight stopped in the 8th round after Mikey suffered a broken nose from a head-butt.

“My initial plan is to come back down to unify the titles,” said Garcia to ”I do plan on moving down and doing that. I would really like a fight with Linares but if that’s not available and other unification fights are unavailable, I will have to look at the super-lightweight or even welterweight.

Mikey has been dropped in the past in a fight against Roman “Rocky” Martinez in 2013. Broner hits harder than Martinez with either hand, and he’s able to punch hard on a consistent basis. Mikey has always been good at dishing out punishment, but his ability to take it in return is where he’s been suspect. He doesn’t look nearly as good when getting hit back. If Broner is able to put hands on Mikey on July 29 in landing enough of his big power shots, he could wind up knocking him out.

Broner isn’t easy to hit when he’s got his defense working well, and he’s done well against pot shot fighters and guys that strictly throw counter shots the way that Mikey does. Unless Mikey can change his fighting style to become more of a volume puncher for the Broner fight, he would wind up struggling badly in this fight.

I wish Mikey a lot of luck trying to get the fight against the 31-year-old Linares (42-3, 27 KOs), who has been out of action since injuring his right hand in his 12 round unanimous decision victory over Anthony Crolla on March 25. This was the second consecutive fight in which Linares had suffered hand injuries.

Garcia’s best bet would be to remain at 140 and look to fight the winner of the Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo fight, as Top Rank, the promoters for Crawford, would likely jump at the chance of making a Crawford-Garcia fight. If Garcia moves back down to lightweight, I don’t know if he’s going to be able to get a fight immediately against one of the champions like Linares, Terry Flanagan or Robert Easter Jr.

“The options are going to be big after this fight, so I would definitely look at fighting the winner of Crawford-Indongo and those sort of fights,” said Mikey Garcia.

Mikey is a quality fighter, there’s no doubt about that, but he’s facing a talented guy in Adrien Broner. This isn’t Elio Rojas or Dejan Zlaticanin hat Mikey will be fighting on July 29. Broner has never been knocked out before, and he’s only been dropped twice by the hard hitting Maidana.

If Mikey cannot get Broner out of there, he’s going to end up taking a lot of hard shots in this fight. I don’t know that Mikey can take those shots without hitting the canvas once or twice. Like I said, Mikey doesn’t take punishment nearly as well as he dishes it out. Unless Mikey is able to get Broner out of there early in this fight, he’s going to get hit a lot in this fight.

The real question is whether Mikey will be able to hold his left arm far out in front of him against Broner like he was allowed to do by the referee that worked the Mikey vs. Salido fight. If Mikey is allowed to stretch his arm out in front of him to use as a stick to shove Broner away when he’s attacking all night long, then it’ll be hard for him to win.

If the referee is doing his job on the night and not allowing Mikey to extend his left far out in front of him like he did in the Salido fight, there could be an upset in the fight with Broner beating Mikey. I don’t think Mikey is built to take punishment. He’s had too many easy knockouts during his career in which he’s been able to destroy his opponents before they’ve been able to get to his chin and hurt him.

Mikey’s opposition during his career is not in the same league as Broner. We do not know how well Mikey will handle being in the ring with someone with talent that doesn’t cave in immediately. Here are the best fighters that Mikey has fought during his 11-year pro career:

– Roman Martinez

– Dejan Zlaticanin

– Elio Rojas

– Juan Carlos Burgos

– Juan Manuel Lopez

– Jonathan Victor Barros

– Bernabe Concepcion

– Rafael Guzman

– Olivier Lontchi

– Matt Remillard

– Walter Estrada

– Robinson Castellanos

– Orlando Salido

Those guys would have all likely been beaten by Broner. Mikey never fought Marcos Maidana. It would have been interesting to see how well Mikey’s chin would have stood up to getting hit hard by Maidana for 12 rounds. If Mikey had to take shots from Maidana for an entire fight without him being allowed to push off like he did against Salido, I think we’d have seen a knockout win for Maidana.

Broner lost to Maidana, but he was able to hurt him with some of his shots. Maidana is on record saying that Broner had the best power of anyone he’s ever fought before during his career. Maidana has fought guys like Victor Ortiz, DeMarcus Corley, Devon Alexander, Josesito Lopez, Erik Morales and Jesus Soto Karass.

If Mikey does get past Broner, he probably should stay at 140 rather than wasting time going back down and using up valuable career time trying to unify the division against guys that aren’t hugely popular.

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