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Lomachenko tells Mikey Garcia he’s slow

Mikey Garcia Vasyl Lomachenko

By Allan Fox: Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) met with WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs) in an interview with the LA Times. They spoke about a potential fight between them in the future. Mikey said he wants Lomachenko to move up to lightweight so they can fight.

Lomachenko agreed, but didn’t say when he plans on moving up in weight. What was interesting about the meeting was Lomachenko felt comfortable enough to tell Mikey that his punches looked slow in his recent win over Adrien “The Problem” Broner last Saturday night on July 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Garcia beat Broner by a fairly one-sided 12 round unanimous decision, but the fight was fought at a slow pace for the most part. Mikey landed some heavy shots in the first half of the fight, but then his work rate slowed down in the second half of the fight. Mikey ended up fighting defensively in the last three rounds.

Lomachenko felt that Mikey was loading up too much on his shots, and not putting enough emphasis on speed. The two fighters could face each other in the future after Lomachenko, 29, exhausts all the possible fights at super featherweight. He still wants WBC 130 lb. champion Miguel Berchelt, Orlando Salido and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Those fights could take up the remainder of 2017 and a good portion of 2018 if they happen.

Here’s what Mikey and Lomachenko said to the LA Times:

Lomachenko: “I think it was very slow. Sorry, Mikey. It was very slow. I think you make it faster, your punches. You always want his knockout, yeah? You want one punch.”

Mikey: “The first couple of rounds the intention was to show him we’re strong. After the 9th round, we changed the strategy. We boxed. We weren’t going to risk a lot, because he was the bigger man. I wasn’t going to stand in front for too long.”

Lomachenko: “I think 5th round, he’s tired.”

Mikey: We got to go to the drawing board, because we still don’t have it. I was small at 140. I was about 146. I want to come down o lightweight. You got to move up to lightweight.”

Lomachenko: “No Problem.”

Mikey: “He’s got to move up to lightweight. I came down to lightweight and we have a fight. That’s what all the fans are asking for. That’s what the media is asking for. So let’s give them that.”

Lomachenko: “Boxing needs this fight.”

Mikey: “This fight could be pay-per-view, because all the fans are asking about it. We’re the main stars right now. In the lightweight division, in the super featherweight division, there are no other names that can generate that kind of attention. I would like Linares at 135, but if they’re not available earlier, there’s no need to wait for that. It’s up to them to decide when it’s time to be at lightweight.”

It’s a tough sell trying to put Mikey Garcia and Lomachenko on PPV. I don’t think it works right now. Neither of them is popular enough to ensure success on PPV. Mikey’s problem is he’s only fought 3 times since returning to the ring following a long 2 ½ year layoff from boxing. Before that, Garcia was fighting at featherweight and super featherweight.

Those aren’t popular divisions with the casual boxing fans. Garcia was well known with the hardcore fans before his long layoff, but he wasn’t a big star due to the weight classes he was fighting at. That’s the problem with fighting at 126 and 130. Those divisions aren’t the ones that the boxing fans focus on. Fans prefer watching fighters from the welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions.

Mikey’s three fights since he’s come back to the sport have been against Adrien Broner, Emilio Rojas and Dejan Zlaticanin. Broner is well known, but the other two fighters are guys that the casual fans in the U.S haven’t heard of. Garcia has a long way to go before a fight between him and Lomachenko would be worthy of PPV. Lomachenko isn’t doing himself any favors by staying at super featherweight.

The bigger fights for him are at lightweight against Garcia, Jorge Linares, Luke Campbell, Robert Easter Jr. and Terry Flanagan. It would be interesting to see if Lomachenko could ever fight at 140. If so, he would be able to fight guys like Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo.

Lomachenko says that Garcia fighting on Showtime could be a problem for them. Lomachenko fights on ESPN, and he’s under contract with that network. It’s unclear whether they would allow Lomachenko to fight on ESPN.

“I’m ready move up for this fight,” said Lomachenko to Fighthub. “Yeah, I’m ready. I like it, I want this fight. But, you know, we have two different platforms. I fight in ESPN and he fight in Showtime. After [the Broner fight] he talking about ‘Hey, come on. Who want fight with me? Come on to Showtime.’ Hey, I can’t. I have a contract.”

For Garcia and Lomachenko to fight, they would need to get permission from the network they currently fight on for them to fight on another network. Which network would depend on the money and which of the two fighters is the A-side. Lomachenko is popular now, especially with him fighting on ESPN. He has a big advantage over Garcia, because he’s going to be seen by a lot more boxing fans on that network. Showtime is a premium network where boxing fans must pay extra to get that channel.

The longer the two fighters wait to face each other, the more popular Lomachenko is going to get, if he keeps winning the way he’s been. If the two fighters wait a year or two, Lomachenko will likely be the much better-known fighter compared to Garcia. Lomachenko is just now starting out on ESPN. He’s going to pick up fans quickly if he’s able to score knockouts, look good and fight high quality opposition. Lomachenko’s fight this Saturday night against Miguel Marriaga on ESPN is not a good one.

It’s a mismatch. But if Lomachenko can fight Berchelt, Salido or Rigondeaux in his next appearance on ESPN, it’ll help his popularity. The Marriaga is just a stay busy match-up put together by Lomachenko’s promoters at Top Rank. They opted to stick Lomachenko in with the recent opponent for their fighter WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez, who beat Marriaga in a war on April 22. Valdez won a 12 round unanimous decision, but it was a very hard fight for him. Marriaga landed a lot of heavy shots on Valdez, and he appeared to stun him on more than one occasion.

“I think you read my answer [to] this question, yeah? You know about my answer, no?” said Lomachenko about Garcia’s win over Broner. “Yes, he won this fight, yes. He do always good, but for me, don’t like it because he do the same. I don’t like the same. His physical condition – not the best. Then I see six or seventh round, he’s very tired. It’s a very slow pace in this fight and he’s tired! How?!”

Lomachenko is a pretty good judge of fighters. He’s correct about Garcia fading against Broner by the 7th. He looked like he was tiring against Broner from the 7th round. The zip on Garcia’s punches weren’t the same, and he wasn’t attacking in the same way. Garcia’s punches didn’t look faster. He said that he started boxing in the 9th, but that doesn’t explain why he was looking tired from the 7th round on.

The fact of the matter is, Garcia hasn’t fought many 12 round fights during his career. If you look at Garcia’s resume, he’s only fought 12 rounds on 2 occasions during his entire 11-year pro career. Besides the Broner fight, Garcia went 12 rounds against Juan Carlos Burgos three years ago in 2014. In 2010, Garcia went 11 rounds in knocking out Cornelius Lock. What this means is Garcia hasn’t had the chance to improve his stamina. He’s been knocking out so many of his opponents that he’s not built up his stamina the way that normal fighters do. Garcia gassed out in the 7th round in his fight against Orlando Salido in 2013. Garcia’s trainer Robert Garcia pulled him out of the fight in the 8th round, stating that he’d suffered an injured nose. However, it was obvious at the time that Garcia was tired, and unable to keep Salido off of him. Garcia had used his power shots to stop Salido’s progress in the first 6 rounds, but he could no longer do it by the 7th. Robert must have known that it was going to be a real burden for Mikey to make it through the last 4 rounds against Salido with the way that he was coming on.

“Look, this fight for me, for me it will be interesting because he’s one of the best fighter. Boxing needs this fight. It will be good. It will be good for boxing,” said Lomachenko about Garcia.

Lomachenko might have too much skills and stamina for Garcia to win this fight at this point. Without Garcia making improvements in his stamina, he’ll have a lot of problems against Lomachenko when or if this fight takes place in the future. I’m not sure if the fight will though. It’s up to Lomachenko’s promoters at Top Rank if they want to make the Lomachenko vs. Garcia fight. Right now, they don’t seem to be leaning in that direction. They’re talking about other fighters like Berchelt, Salido and Rigondeaux. Who knows who they’ll have in mind after Lomachenko beats all of those fighters?

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