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Mikey Garcia wants Jorge Linares fight in summer

By Chris Williams: WBC World lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) says he wants to face WBA 135 lb. champion Jorge Linares (44-3, 27 KOs) in the summer if he beats IBF light welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) in their fight on March 10.

(Photo credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME)

Linares, 32, was in negotiations with Top Rank for a fight against Vasyl Lomachenko, but the fight plans fell apart due to disagreements on the date for the contest. Top Rank wanted Linares to defend against Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) on May 12th on ESPN, which is the same date that Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin 2 replay is being televised on HBO Boxing. Golden Boy Promotes Canelo and Linares, and they weren’t about to put together a Linares-Lomachenko fight on ESPN the same night as the Canelo-GGG 2 replay on HBO. That would be 2 different events for Golden Boy on separate networks.

It would have been a self-defeating move on Golden Boy’s part to agree to Top Rank’s May 12th date for the Linares vs. Lomachenko fight. Since Top Rank weren’t willing to change the May 12th date for when Lomachenko fights next, Linares won’t be able to take that fight. That’s good news for Mikey Garcia, because he’s now back in the picture for the Linares fight, which is what he wanted all along. Mikey was surprised when he heard that Linares was in negotiations with Top Rank for a fight with Lomachenko, as he expected him to sit still and wait for him to get his title fight against IBF 140 lb. champion Lipinets on March 10th.

”If they’re having trouble (with the Lomachenko talks), then that leaves the door open for me once again,” Mikey said to ”I would love to take on Linares, hopefully we can get that done. Like I said, if I don’t get injured or cuts or anything like that, then early summer, let’s get this done.”

As you can tell by the way the 30-year-old Mikey Garcia is talking, he’s looking past his fight with Lipinets and counting it as a win already. Mikey wouldn’t be doing that if he were facing one of the better fighters in the light welterweight division like Regis Prograis, Jose Carlos Ramirez or Joshua Taylor. Those would be tough outs that Mikey couldn’t look past towards a fight with Linares.

Mikey is all over the place nowadays in talking about different fighters he wants to face. He says he wants to move up to welterweight and fight Terence Crawford and Keith Thurman. For Mikey to get to make the money he wants to in the sport, he needs to move up to 147 to take the riskier fights. He wants to become a pay-per-view attraction. There is none of those types of fighters in the lightweight division. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is hoping to turn Lomachenko into a big star by matching him against Manny Pacquiao, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever become a big enough name where boxing fans will pay to see him fight in significant numbers. That likely won’t stop Arum from putting Lomachenko’s fights on ESPN PPV anyway, but he’ll have to be satisfied with low numbers.

Linares can always fight Lomachenko in the future. He doesn’t have to fight him in May. That fight is always going to be there for Linares. The only thing that might get in the way of Linares and Lomachenko fighting in the future is if Top Rank chooses to only offer dates that Golden Boy has fight cards scheduled on Showtime or HBO. Arum needs to be flexible when it comes to trying to negotiate the Linares vs. Lomachenko fight in the future. He needs to remember that his isn’t Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Marriaga or Jason Sosa he’s trying to negotiate a fight for Lomachenko. Linares has a following too, and he’s not someone that is going to jump when Top Rank gives a date for a fight.

Mikey cannot afford to look past Lipinets, as he’s a strong puncher and he’s not faded like Adrien Broner. That was Mikey’s last opponent in his debut at 140 last July. Beating Broner made Mikey believe that he has the talent to win a world title in that weight class and then move up to welterweight. It might be a different story for Mikey fighting a guy in his prime like Lipinets compared to Broner, who hasn’t looked good since 2012. Broner, 28, has seen his prime come and go in the rear-view mirror, and Mikey was smart to pick him out rather than Terence Crawford. Mikey had the choice to go after Crawford when he was at 140, but he waited and took on Broner instead. Now that Crawford is fighting in another weight class, Mikey has started talking boldly about wanting to fight him one day.

“I will be a champion at 140-pounds and eventually at welterweight,” Mikey said.

Mikey didn’t show amazing power against Broner. If he’s going to win a world title at 147, he’ll need one of the champions to vacate their belt, and then he’ll need a weak contender for him to face for the belt. It would be the same kind of situation Danny Garcia had when he fought Robert Guerrero for the vacant WBC welterweight title in 2016. Mikey can win a world title like that at 147, but probably not against Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr. or Crawford.

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