Mikey Garcia: ‘I don’t take easy fights’

By Boxing News - 12/26/2019 - Comments

By Dan Ambrose:  Mikey Garcia maintains that he’s not someone that takes easy fights, and that’s why he’s selected #5 WBC, #5 WBO junior middleweight contender Jessie Vargas to fight when he resumes his career on February 29 on DAZN at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

Vargas is a light hitter, who hasn’t fought an elite level fighter since his loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2016. He’s struggled since then, failing to beat Adrien Broner and Thomas Dulorme. While you can’t categorize Vargas as being an “EASY” fight for Mikey, but you definitely say he’s a hard fight.

Mikey: I don’t take easy fights

“A fight with Jessie allows me to bring out the best in me. It’s not an easy fight, I don’t take easy fights,” Garcia said via fightnews.com. “We decided on this agreement with Hearn because this is what was best for me and Jessie’s name was mentioned.”

Vargas, 5’11”, won’t be an easy fight for Mikey obviously, because he’s a BIG welterweight/junior middleweight, and his size will trouble him. Mikey should be fighting at 135, because he’s too small for 147.

Jessie Vargas isn’t an elite fighter at 147 or 154

Vargas isn’t one of the best welterweights. He looked awful in his last fight against 39-year-old former lightweight champion Humberto Soto last April at junior middleweight. Vargas’s promoter Eddie Hearn matched him up against Soto for his first fight at junior middleweight instead of someone from the 154-lb division.

Vargas isn’t someone that you can put in with a welterweight like Vergil Ortiz Jr. and expect him to win or even compete. Ortiz Jr would likely destroy Vargas, and embarrass him.

With Vasiliy Lomachenko moving up to 135, Mikey chose not to stay at lightweight, and some believe that he didn’t want any part of fighting him. By moving up to welterweight, Mikey no longer had pressure from boxing fans to fight Lomachenko.

Mikey too small and weak for welterweight

Garcia lost his last fight to IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. by a shutout 12 round unanimous decision last March. Mikey looked weak, short and chubby in getting battered by Spence. It looked to some like Spence took it easy on Mikey, and didn’t try to knock him out. Mikey was too small to compete against Spence, and it wasn’t interesting to watch. The fight was so one-sided that was boring to watch.

When Spence did shift his offense into 2nd gear in the 9th, he had Mikey reeling and on the verge of a stoppage.

Mikey, 32, signed a one-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing USA, and this he wanted to fight the 30-year-old former two division world champion Vargas. Fighting Vargas looks like a brave move on the former four division world champion Mikey’s part at first glance, but it’s actually not a really courageous move. Vargas CAN’T punch, even at 147. Further, Vargas is more of a broadcaster than he is a fighter at this stage in his career, and he’s not considered a top fighter at 147 or 154.

Some boxing fans think Mikey needs to move back down to 140, because they think he’d do well down there. However, Mikey struggled badly against Sergey Lipinets at 140 last year, and took a lot of punishment against him. There are better fighters at 140 than Lipinets, and Mikey would likely be over his head. Mikey’s lack of size and power would limit his success against the following top 140-pounders:

  • Regis Prograis
  • Josh Taylor
  • Jose Ramirez
  • Subriel Matias
  • Mario Barrios

Mikey Garcia NOT a high level fighter at 147

Unfortunately, Garcia isn’t one of the best fighters at welterweight, and we saw that recently with how easily IBF/WBC 147-lb champion Errol Spence Jr. beat him last March. If Mikey fought someone like Vergil Ortiz Jr., he would be destroyed within five or six rounds, and sent packing back down to 140. A lot of boxing fans would like to have seen Mikey step it up agree to fight the 21-year-old Ortiz Jr., but it’s obvious what the end result of that would be.

Mikey compounds his problems by fighting in regularly, and he blows up between fights. He gets big, fat and that obviously makes it difficult for him to stay at 135. To stay in the light weight classes, Mikey would need to dedicate himself to staying in shape between fights, and not blowing up.

If Mikey wanted to show that he doesn’t take easy fights, he should have fought one of these welterweights:

  • Shawn Porter
  • Terence Crawford
  • Vergil Ortiz Jr.
  • Danny Garcia
  • Yordenis Ugas
  • Maurice Hooker

It’s unlikely that Mikey would beat any of those fighters, because he’s not a natural welterweight. You can argue that even Amir Khan would beat Mikey with relative ease, as well as Kell Brook, Josh Kelly and David Avanesyan.

Vargas NOT considered the best at 147 or 154

When Vargas fought at welterweight, he had limited success. Although he beat Sadam Ali to become the WBO welterweight champion

“There were talks about a Pacquiao fight but no date,” said Mikey. “I wanted to return to the ring as soon as possible. And I couldn’t wait…I want to fight the best to be remembered as a fighter that took on everybody. That’s how all the greats are remembered.”

Vargas isn’t one of the best, so Mikey is veering in the opposite direction of fighting the best by taking him on. Jessie isn’t ranked in the top 15 by any of the sanctioning bodies at 147. Although Vargas is ranked in the top 5 at 154 by the WBC and WBO, he’s never fought actual junior middleweight before.

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Vargas’ only experience at 154 is against the tiny Humberto Soto, who is NOT a junior middleweight. Moreover, Vargas’ record in his last five fights is 2-1-2, and those two wins came against Soto and journeyman Aaron Herrera. In other words, soft opposition. Vargas had two draws in 2018 against Adrien Broner and Thomas Dulorme, and he was lucky not to lose both fights.

Vargas’ last win over a ranked fighter was against Sadam Ali in 2016. Since then, Vargas’ only wins have come against journeyman Herrera and the unranked Soto. Like I said before, at this point in Vargas’ career, he’s a broadcaster and part-time fighter.