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Mikey Garcia: “I would love to fight Lomachenko”

Errol Spence Jr Mikey Garcia Vasyl Lomachenko

By Chris Williams: Following his loss to IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs0 last Saturdy night, Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) says he would like to fight WBA/WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) if he moves back down to the 135 lb weight class.

Mikey was beaten by Spence by a 12 round unanimous decision on Premier Boxing Champions on Fox Sports pay-per-view at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Garcia, who was moving up two weight classes from lightweight to welterweight, didn’t have the size to deal with Spence’s long reach, and he was wasn’t able to do much when he was in punching range.

Spence was using his size to bully Garcia when they were in close. Even though both fighters weren’t that far apart in terms of weight for the fight, Spence was physically stronger because his weight was muscle. Garcia was carrying around extra fat that he’d put on.

Garcia says he’s not sure if he’s going to move back down to lightweight or not. Mikey plans on sitting down with his father and his brother Robert Garcia, and make a decision about his next move with his boxing career. Mikey says he could stay at welterweight. Exactly what he would do at 147 if he stayed at welterweight is the big question.

“I would love to fight with [Vasyl] Lomachenko, but I haven’t my decision to come back down to 135 just yet,” Garcia said after the fight. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m going to sit back with my brother and my dad, and figure out what division I’m going to come down. Maybe I stay at 147 or come down to 135. But at 135, that is the most interesting fight against Lomachenko, and I would love to take on that fight,” Garcia said.

This isn’t the first time that Garcia, 31, has talked about wanting to fight Lomachenko. Garcia has talked of wanting to fight Lomachenko for years, and yet the fight has never happened. At this point the only real predictor of what Garcia will do in the future is what has has happened in the past. As such, when Garcia says he wants to fight Lomachenko, it’s safe to say that the fight won’t take place. It’s a far different thing for Garcia to take a loss to a guy his own size like Lomachenko compared to Garcia moving up in weight for his fight last Saturday night against Errol Spence.

Lomachenko will be defending his WBA/WBO lightweight titles next month against former WBA champion Anthony Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs) on ESPN at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Unless Garcia can figure out how to handle Lomachenko’s high work rate, he’ll suffer the same fate against him that he did against Spence by being outworked and losing a wide decision.

“I showed a lot of heart, and now people respect me a lot more for the way I fought, and for going up against the best, and I can say I fought well,” Garcia said. “I tried, I fought hard. At one point my brother mentioned, ‘Maybe it’s time to call it a night.’ He didn’t want to see me get hit, and my dad also, but I wasn’t hurt any point like that. I got hit. It’s boxing. I got hit with a couple of shots,” Garcia said.

Mikey gained some respect from boxing fans for staying in there for 12 rounds against Spence without bowing out like many people thought he would. A lot of fans thought that Garcia’s trainer Robert Garcia would throw in the towel or complain that he’s injured, and have the fight stopped. It’s interesting that Mikey says that Robert wanted the fight to be stopped, because that would have been a replay of how Robert pulled him out in his fight with Orlando Salido in 2013 when he started taking punishment in that fight. Robert complained to the referee that Mikey suffered a broken nose, so the fight was stopped after round eight. It then went to the cards, and Mikey was given an eight round technical decision.

The options for Garcia if he stays at welterweight are as follows:

– Manny Pacquiao

– Keith Thurman

– Shawn Porter

– Terence Crawford

– Amir Khan

– Danny Garcia

Easily the best fight of that bunch for Garcia is Pacquiao, but that might be a hard fight for him to get, given his loss to Spence, and the fact that Manny has already agreed to fight Spence. But if Mikey can snatch that fight away from Spence, then he can make a lot of money fighting Pacquiao. Thurman, Porter, Danny Garcia, Khan or Crawford are good fights, but not at the same level as Pacquiao.

These are the options for Mikey at 140:

– Regis Prograis

– Jose Carlos Ramirez

– Maurice Hooker

– Ivan Baranchyk

– Josh Taylor

– Kiryl Reikh

Options for Mikey Garcia at 135:

– Vasiliy Lomachenko

– Teofimo Lopez

– Luke Campbell

– Gervonta Davis [if Mikey can lure him up to 135]

“I said, ‘No, no, no, let me continue; let me fight through. I can still pull it out,'” Garcia said when talking about being asked during the fight if he wanted to be pulled out when he started taking punishment. “I felt like I could land one punch and maybe turn it around. Unfortunately, it didn’t go the way I wanted,” Garcia said.

It’s a good thing that Mikey told Robert not to stop the fight. There’s a big difference in how Mikey would be seen today after losing a 12 round decision to Spence compared to how he’d be perceived if he’d been pulled out of the fight in between rounds or while he was still on his feet fighting. A lot of boxing fans would have believed that this was the strategy all along with the fight; to let Garcia fight six to nine rounds and then throw in the towel to keep him from taking too much punishment. To have fans thinking that Robert was going to pull Mikey out at first hint of trouble would confirm in their minds that the only reason Mikey took the fight was for the payday, not because he actually thought he could defeat Spence.

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