By Keith Idec
Mikey Garcia believes beating Errol Spence Jr. finally will earn him the credit he deserves.
Thus far, Garcia feels underappreciated for his string of recent victories over Robert Easter Jr., Sergey Lipinets and Dejan Zlaticanin. Garcia won world titles from each of those three boxers, all of whom were unbeaten before facing Garcia.
Garcia figures adding a championship in a fifth division by upsetting Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) on March 16 in Arlington, Texas, would be an accomplishment no one could downplay. The 31-year-old Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) discussed what he considers the public’s perception of his resume as part of an interview with Tha Boxing Voice, which was posted to that website’s YouTube page Monday.
“I’m gonna prove [it to] everybody on March 16th, when I get in the ring with Errol Spence,” Garcia said. “I mean, they have their point of view right now, their opinion, but it all is gonna change on March 16th, that night. You know, everybody doubts the little guy, everybody doubts that I can do this, it’s too much. But, you know, a lot of people doubted me when I fought Dejan. Only my second fight back after a 2½-year layoff, you know, and he was a knockout artist at the time.
“You know, a lot of reporters were not giving me any chance. You know, they picked him. A lot of reporters were picking Dejan. You know, even [Jorge] Linares avoided him. He vacated the WBC title to fight Anthony Crolla at the moment, because he didn’t wanna fight Dejan. He was a dangerous opponent. I took care of it so easy, that then it became, ‘Well, oh yeah, Mikey’s a better fighter. Mikey’s supposed to win. He was a better fighter.’ But leading up to the fight, they didn’t give me credit.”
Montenegro’s Zlaticanin was 22-0, including 15 knockouts, when Garcia knocked him out in the third round of their January 2017 bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. He faced Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner next and won that 12-round, 140-pound bout by unanimous decision in July 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“You know, when I fought Adrien Broner, a lot of people said Adrien Broner was just too big, too strong and too fast for me,” Garcia said. “I’m a small guy, I’m not fast enough, I’m not skilled enough. You know, I beat him easily, you know, 12 rounds. And then after that, ‘Oh, well Broner was trash. Broner was just – he didn’t show up.’ Well, guess what? I didn’t let him. Ask him if he showed up or not. Ask him how good I was.”
After beating Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC), Garcia moved up to 140 pounds. He dropped Lipinets in the seventh round of that March 10 bout and won a 12-round unanimous decision to take the IBF junior welterweight championship from Kazakhstan’s Lipinets (14-1, 10 KOs) at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
Garcia, of Oxnard, California, returned to lightweight for his following fight – a 12-round, 135-pound title unification match with Robert Easter Jr. He soundly defeated Easter (21-1, 14 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, on his way to winning a 12-round unanimous decision July 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“You know, fighting Easter, ‘Oh, he’s avoiding Easter. That’s why he went on fighting Lipinets,’ and this and that,” Garcia said. “Well, I took care of both guys. You know, and now I’m taking another one. You know, that’s my third undefeated champion I’m gonna go after back-to-back. Lipinets, Easter, now Spence. And if you count Dejan, he was also undefeated. So that’s another undefeated champion. I mean, eventually I’m gonna have to get the credit I deserve. You know? And leading up to the fight, they can all say whatever they want. But after the fight, it all changes their opinion.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.