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Feature Story

Interview: Mikey Garcia

By Jeff Zimmerman
Photo by Robert Hughes

Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight champion Mikey Garcia (31-0, 26 KOs) of Oxnard, California discusses his June 15 showdown with former WBO junior featherweight and WBO featherweight champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez (33-2, 30 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico. Their HBO-televised collision will take place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Any concerns on fighting Juanma
Not a concern but the most thing you have to watch out for is his power, heavy handed, both hands. He is very powerful and strong so that is something you have to watch out for.

Confidence from beating Salido so easily while Juanma lost twice
Not necessarily, because styles make fights and he’s a different style than Salido, I have to prepare for Juanma not Salido this time, so I have to make sure I am in the best shape possible.

Are you in the best shape?
I am. I am getting there. I have been training for that last 4 weeks and we have almost 5 weeks left so it will be a total camp of 9 weeks but I have been training longer than that to stay in shape but for this camp it will be a nine week camp.

Strategy for the fight and whether to box from the outside
We don’t know yet because the fight might unfold a little differently. We are going to prepare and be able to adjust to do many things in the ring. With the kind of power that he has, we have to be careful for that. I think that as a southpaw we got to work for him and sometimes putting a little pressure on a southpaw is the best thing to do, so we got to prepare for many things.

Do you expect to knock out Juanma?
I’m not expecting to knock him out but if I hurt him and the knockout is there, it’s in front of me than I will take it, but we are preparing for a twelve round fight.

How has life changed since becoming a world champion?
I don’t feel any different but people treat you differently but people want to greet you and shake your hand and that’s always really nice for the fans to do that. I have said before, the fans are what makes me feel like a world champion.

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