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Mikey Garcia to vacate WBC 135lb title to become ’emeritus champion’

Mikey Garcia Luke Campbell

By Aragon Garcia: Mikey Garcia will be named the WBC lightweight emeritus champion this week by the World Boxing Council, which will free up his title so that his #1 mandatory Luke Campbell can fight for the belt, possibly against WBA/WBO champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Mikey, 31, will be making a news announcement about him being made the WBC emeritus champion at lightweight, and his plans on moving up to the 140 pound weight class and potentially to 147, according to ESPN Deports. This is a good move by Mikey. There’s huge money he can make at 147 against the big names in the division like Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford, Shawn porter and Danny Garcia. There’s nobody at lightweight for Mikey to fight other than Lomachenko, and he’s talking about wanting to move back down to super featherweight as soon as he unifies the 135 lb division.

Luke Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs) could fight one of these contenders for Mikey’s WBC lightweight title once he vacates it this week: #2 Zaur Abdullaev, #3 Devin Haney, #4 Teofimo Lopez or #5 Javier Fortuna. There’s also a chance that Vasiliy Lomachenko could face Campbell for the vacant WBC lightweight title, although that move would require a lot of negotiating and promotional muscle on the part of Loma’s promoters at Top Rank. It’s more than likely that Campbell will be fighting Abdullaev or Haney. One of those two will almost surely agree to fight Campbell for the vacant WBC lightweight belt. The WBC would need to make a decision whether to allow Lomachenko to slide in front of the top contenders in the WBC’s ranking in order for him to fight Campbell.

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As the WBC emeritus champion, Mikey can move back down and challenge the eventual champion for his old WBC belt if he sees fit. If someone someone popular like Lomachenko winds up with the WBC title, then that would be a good option for Mikey if he still values his old title and doesn’t mind draining down to take a fight with Lomachenko or whoever winds up with the belt.

Mikey met defeat at welterweight against IBF 147 lb champion Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs) last month on March 16 on Fox Sports pay-per-view at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. That was a good effort from Mikey, considering that he moved up 2 weight classes to take on arguably the best fighter in the welterweight division in 29-year-old Spence. Mikey went the full 12 rounds in losing a unanimous decision, but he was never hurt, never knocked down, and he gave a good account of himself for a fighter as badly out-sized as he was. Mikey was attempting to become a five division world champion in that fight against Errol. Garcia had previous won world titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140. He just happened to select the wrong guy for his first time fighting in the welterweight division. It might have turned out for the positive if Mikey had challenged WBC champion Shawn Porter, WBA ‘regular’ champion Manny Pacquiao or WBA Super World champion Keith Thurman.

Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) won the WBC lightweight title over two years ago in stopping champion Dejan Zlaticanin in the third round on January 28, 2017. Garcia has never defended the belt in over 2 years. After beating Zlaticanin, Garcia moved up in weight to the 140 lb division, and defeated Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner and IBF light welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets by 12 round decisions. The Lipinets fight was a difficult one for Mikey due to the Russian fighter’s heavy hands. Mikey out-boxed over 12 rounds to get the win. After those two wins, Mikey came back down to lightweight and defeated IBF 135 lb champion Robert Easter Jr. by a 12 round unanimous decision last year on July 28.

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Some boxing fans think Mikey will never be the same fighter ever again after the punishment that he absorbed in the Spence fight, but he really didn’t take much punishment in that fight. Mikey had a rough ninth and tenth rounds, but other than that, it wasn’t a punishing fight for him. Mikey had a harder time in the Lipinets fight than he did against Spence. Lipinets was willing to take shots in order to give them. Spence looked like he didn’t want to mix it up with Mikey once he started getting caught in the 11th.

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