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Mikey Garcia ready to prove he belongs at 147 against Jessie Vargas

Jessie Vargas Mikey Garcia

By Aragon Garcia: Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) ready to prove to his critics this Saturday that he belongs at welterweight when he takes on Jessie Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KOs) on DAZN at The Ford Center at The Star, Frisco, Texas.

Mikey failed in his first fight at 147 a year ago in a lopsided 12 round decision defeat against IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in March 2019 in Arlington, Texas.

Mikey didn’t have enough time to acclimate to 147-lb division

It’s easy to see what went wrong for the former 4 division world champion Garcia in the Spence contest, as he was too slow to compete. Mikey states that he bulked up for the fight, but then waited too long before he started losing weight to gain speed.

Basically, Mikey ran out of time in cutting weight and ended up looking and feeling sluggish during the fight. Mikey feels that he needed more time to bulk up instead of doing it in a speedy fashion during a 10-week training camp.

On Saturday, Mikey will be facing former 2-division world champion Vargas, 30, who is even bigger than Spence and has respectable power. Vargas is a junior middleweight, not a welterweight.

You can argue that Vargas is the worst possible opponent for Mikey to be fighting because he’s not a welterweight. At this point in Vargas’ career, he’s a respectable-sized 154-lb fighter, who has yet to test the waters at junior middleweight.

Garcia wants to show he’s improved since Spence fight

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a great fight, and it’s going to allow me to show all my fans that I’m a lot more than I was in my last fight,” said Mikey to Fino Boxing. “So it’s going to answer a lot of the questions, and a lot of the doubts. I don’t like losing in my last fight, and I want to get back into the winning circle.

“It’s been a year now [11 months], and I think my body has adjusted better. When I tried to bulk up in 10 weeks, I tried to drain down a little bit to get quicker, but there wasn’t enough time.

“I learned, and used that experience to learn, and do better next time. I feel confident. People are going to say, ‘Damn, Mikey is a real welterweight. He can really do something at welterweight.’

“I don’t want to call them ‘haters,’ but they have the right to have that opinion,” said Mikey when asked about the boxing fans who think he doesn’t belong at 147,” said Mikey.

This is going to be a really tough fight for Mikey in going up against Vargas because he’s not fighting a welterweight. He’ll be in against a junior middleweight, who has both size and power.

This is a more experienced and seasoned fighter than the one that lost to Manny Pacquiao in 2016. Vargas has grown up. He’s big, he hits hard, and he’s a better fighter now.

Vargas has been in with the following talented opposition:

  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Thomas Dulorme
  • Adrien Broner
  • Sadam Ali
  • Tim Bradley
  • Antonio DeMarco
  • Anton Novikov
  • Khabib Allakhverdiev
  • Ray Narh
  • Wale Omotoso

Jessie Vargas = showcase fight for Mikey Garcia

“My performance in my last fight was the worst of my career,” Garcia said about his loss to Spence. “I felt slow, sluggish, tired, weak, and I couldn’t do anything. Errol fought a great fight. I think this performance will show that I can be a lot more than I was in my last fight.

“I can be a true player at 147, and I think they’re going to change their mind about me fighting at welterweight,” said Mikey. “It’s a one-fight deal [with Matchroom]. That’s a fight that interests me a lot,” Mikey said about Josh Taylor.

“He just signed with Top Rank, and it looks like they’re leaning in the direction to fight Jose Ramirez soon, but if I can catch him before then, I’d be open to fighting in the UK. I’d really love that fight,” said Mikey.

If Mikey beats Vargas, he’ll show that he’s not only a player at 147 but also at 154, because he’s facing a junior middleweight. It wasn’t fair for Mikey that his first fight at 147 was against one of the best fighters in the division in Spence. In facing Spence, Mikey put himself in a no-win situation.

Vargas would have been a really tough first fight for Mikey to take in his first match at 147, and you’ve got to give him a lot of credit for taking a fight like this Mikey should be facing a true welterweight like David Avanesyan, Egidijus Kavaliauskas or Yordenis Ugas instead of Vargas. At least he wouldn’t be giving up so much size.

It’s unclear if there’s a rehydration clause in the contract for this Saturday’s Mikey-Vargas fight. It would make sense if there were some sort of weight penalty attached to the fight to keep Vargas from rehydrating to super middleweight.

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