Can Mikey Garcia emulate Floyd Mayweather?

Mikey Garcia
Amanda Westcott/Showtime
Kenneth Bouhairie considers how Mikey Garcia is carving out a legacy

MIKEY GARCIA will break Floyd Mayweather’s records!” exclaimed Ringstar Sports CEO Richard Schaefer prior to the Garcia-Sergey Lipinets bout.

That’s unlikely, but Garcia is carving out his own impressive legacy. A raucous crowd of 7,805 packed Freeman Coliseum to watch him add a fourth world title in as many divisions with a unanimous decision over Lipinets.

Garcia joins Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez as the only modern era fighters to win titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140lbs. Ring accomplishments however, aren’t enough to transcend the sport.

Mayweather attained global stardom through peerless skill, dedication and, most important, a well-cultivated persona that made him must-see TV.

But it wasn’t all roses for Floyd initially. Remember how silly we thought he sounded back in 2002 when, fresh off a second close decision win over Jose Luis Castillo, a lightweight Mayweather called out welterweights Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley? Or how he was mocked for not selling out in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan?

Following Mayweather’s win over DeMarcus Corley in 2004, HBO analyst Larry Merchant declared that he’d “never reach the status of a De la Hoya.” Three years later, Mayweather was $50 million richer.

Garcia, like Floyd, is a highly-skilled, multi-division champion with the sweet science embedded in his DNA. But his quiet demeanor and trademark black cowboy hat probably won’t capture the attention of the masses.

“Some fighters are able to reach great heights with a certain personality,” Garcia says. “Others stay in the news by getting in trouble. Then you have guys like Barrera, Morales, and Marquez. I think that’s kind of where I fit.”

Becoming a Mexican boxing legend, as opposed to a global sports star, sounds a bit more realistic than what Schaefer is saying. Garcia is beginning to capture that Mexican fanbase. Could he surpass Barrera and co. in terms of popularity? One, he speaks English. Two, he intends to fight at welterweight. It’s almost impossible to fight below that weight class and become a superstar.

Based on this fight, however, Garcia would struggle against today’s welter elite. The hard-hitting—and relatively inexperienced—Lipinets made Garcia miss often, tagging him with an alarming amount of punches. The Mexican-American was forced to dig deep but did so, displaying a solid chin during the process.

Garcia used his jab and long right hands to keep Lipinets at bay. He swept most of the rounds this way, but the Kazakh never stopped coming forward. Ultimately, the new champion’s skill and experience were too much for him to overcome.

Garcia says he plans to move back down to 135lbs and defend his WBC title. The proposed showdown versus Jorge Linares now looks like a longshot. A unification versus IBF titlist Robert Easter Jr. is a possibility, but Easter Jr. may have to rematch Richard Commey first.

Either way, Mikey has his sights on a move to 147, a division he intends to invade in the next year or so. Maybe the landscape looks different when he arrives. Maybe guys like Errol Spence Jr. and Keith Thurman, two champions Garcia says he wants to fight, would have set their sights on 154lbs by then. Maybe Garcia, Crawford and perhaps a Regis Prograis are the major players in that weight class by then. Maybe, just maybe, Garcia can pull off the unthinkable.

“The reason why I say I can reach high levels in the sport is because I’m taking the risks to do that,” Garcia says. “I’m the one moving up in weight classes, I’m the one seeking the biggest challenges available. Other champions are defending their title multiple times against opponents who are just ranked. I want champions, undefeated champions. I want those kind of big fights and I think that’s what people are going to love about me.”

Stay tuned.

Mikey Garcia


Congratulations to Ghana’s Richard Commey, who celebrated his 31st birthday in style on Saturday night. Commey scored a sixth-round stoppage of the previously undefeated Alejandro Luna in an exciting give-and-take affair.

Commey relocated from Ghana to New York last August, joining forces with trainer Andre Rozier, who trains former middleweight champion Danny Jacobs and current 154lb. titlist Sadam Ali. He’s co-trained by Gary Stark Sr., the man behind undefeated light heavyweight Marcus Browne. There is still work to be done, but the improvements were noticeable.

Luna had his moments, especially when he pinned Commey against the ropes and utilized his trademark body attack. Rozier could be heard screaming at Commey between rounds, imploring him to stay off the ropes.

Aside from that, Commey controlled the ring space, working the jab and disfiguring Luna’s face with precise power shots.

Two rights, followed by a crunching left uppercut crumpled a battered Luna to the canvas in the sixth. He rose and intentionally spit out his mouthpiece, prompting referee David Fields to dock him one point.

Once action resumed, Commey stepped in with a combination capped off by a beautiful right cross that floored Luna a second and final time.

Commey is now Robert Easter Jr.’s mandatory challenger. Easter eked out a split decision win over Commey for the vacant IBF crown in September 2016. The Ghanaian is a good bet to flip the script next time.

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