By Felipe Leon
Photos: Chris Farina / Top Rank
This Saturday night super featherweight Juan Carlos “Mini” Burgos (30-1-2, 20KOs), the tough and rugged talented fighter from Tijuana, Mexico, will have his third opportunity for a world title when he faces the star-in-the-making Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia (33-0, 28KOs) of Oxnard, CA, at the mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden in New York City. The twelve-round WBO title tilt will be broadcast live on HBO and presented by Top Rank Promotions.
Originally from the deep southern state of Puebla in Mexico, Burgos has called Tijuana home for nineteen of his twenty-six years and shared after a rigorous morning work out last week that he is ready to give the border city something they are sorely lacking. “It is an extra motivation for me since Tijuana is the city that game me my start as a fighter and right now it going through a terrible drought as far as champions. Tijuana has always been the home of great champions and has given the sport great fighters. It is a great incentive for me to have the opportunity to come back to Tijuana as a world champion and open up 2014 right for my city and that is what I am going to do, give Tijuana and Mexico a world champion. I want my fellow Mexicans to be proud of me and know that in Juan Carlos Burgos they are going to have a long-reigning world champion.”
Burgos challenged for the WBC featherweight title back in 2010 in the land of the rising sun against Hozumi Hasegawa where he suffered his only loss in a much more competitive contest than the scores of 117-110 twice and 116-111 reflected. After climbing back with five straight wins including a win over former world champ Cristobal Cruz for the WBC Silver 130lbs. title, Burgos earned his second opportunity against Puerto Rican Roman “Rocky” Martinez on the undercard of Garcia vs Salido for the same title he will be challenging for on a sure to be snowy Saturday night. After twelve close and grueling rounds, many saw Burgos squeak out a close decision except for the three most important people in the building, the judges. Martinez was allowed to keep his belt via a controversial draw.
“I think that it in the middle rounds I needed to finish them a little bit more effectively. I think the judges are swayed by what a fighter does in the last ten seconds and that is something we are going to do,” Burgos, who is promoted by southern California’s Thompson Boxing, explained what he thinks happened that night at the MSG a year ago. “I feel that I won the fight but I do feel that I could have done a bit more so that I could have proven my win more clearly and the judges not doubted my victory.”
Since then, Burgos walked away with another draw against African Yakubu Amidu last July in a scorching hot day in northern California. In that fight Burgos feels that he was plagued by two circumstances from the past, bad judging and a lackadaisical effort at the end of the round a mistake he is not willing to make against Garcia, “I’m going to finish strong in the last ten seconds of every round because unfortunately I think that is where I have given up some of the rounds in my other fights.”
Burgos is in no way delusional in who he will have across the ring from him come January 25th and is conscious that Garcia is the toughest challenge of his ten-year career but is confident he has the skill and talent to fly back to sunny Tijuana with the world title. “Now I have a great opportunity against a great champion like Mikey Garcia who I admire and respect for the things he has done in boxing but I think I will lose all the admiration and respect I have for him on Saturday once we climb into the ring for obvious reasons. I want to be a world champion and I want to prove to the fans that I am ready for big things.”
To get there Burgos must solve the riddle that is Mikey Garcia, a patient, methodical counter puncher with laser-like accuracy and power in both hands. “I think that he is a very good counter puncher who waits for his opponents to commit errors so that he can attack. He has an educated right hand and a great left hook so we worked on blocking those punches, worked on having a high guard and on movement to make it harder for him to connect those punches. We also worked on boxing from the outside and scoring hard and effective punches so that he also feels my power and thinks twice before throwing his punches or going on the attack. He is going to realize I am a strong fighter with respectable power.”
Juan Carlos, the nephew of former IBF jr. flyweight champion Victor Burgos, has pulled out the heavy artillery for his face-off against Garcia. Roberto Sandoval, his original trainer and responsible for taking his uncle and former WBA jr. middleweight champ Alejandro “Terra” Garcia to titles, is back on the fold as well as the well-respected Tiburcio Garcia who will be in charge of instructions in the corner. The team is rounded off by Raul Robles, strength and conditioning coach responsible for working with Erik Morales, Jackie Nava, and Antonio Margarito among many others in a twenty-five year old career and Gerardo Espinoza.
“He is a person with experience, with character that is going to push you to the limit and force you to go there. I am very confident because I know that we are working very hard,” Burgos said of Sandoval who trained him in the early stages of his career and has guided it for its entirety. “Raul Robles has been in charge to get me to the fight in great physical shape so that we can fight from the first minute until the last and especially finish the ten seconds of the round.”
As far Tiburcio Garcia, Burgos has nothing but respect for the man who has worked the corner for over twenty world champions, “he is a trainer with a lot of experience from the Nacho Beristain school and who I know has worked with many fighters. He has the experience to give the right instructions in the corner. I am happy and confident because I know he is in my corner for the fight. I can say without a doubt and in full confidence that this is the best camp of my life.”
One never knows which way the boxing winds are going to blow. There have been many talented and skilled fighters who have never gotten a shot at a world title, the coveted prize which all fighters’ first lace up the gloves. Burgos has been one of the lucky ones that have gotten an opportunity more than once but Saturday night’s be his last?
“I don’t know the answer to that, I don’t think about the future and I am not a soothsayer,” he answered. “I think this is a great opportunity for me, which I am going to get to in the best shape physically, mentally and emotionally. I want to prove to those persons who say that I don’t have the qualities to be a world champion that Mikey Garcia is not invincible and that Juan Carlos Burgos is ready for big things in the sport of boxing. They are going to regret in taking this fight with me because I am a fighter with many qualities that we are polishing and erasing the errors that I make.”