By Miguel Maravilla
Photo: Gene Blevins/Top Rank
Oxnard’s unbeaten WBO junior lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs) is set to take on Juan Carlos “Mini” Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico on Burgos on Saturday, January 25 from the Theatre at Madison Square Garden live on HBO Boxing. We caught up with Mikey as he worked out with his trainer’s brother Robert and his father Eduardo Garcia at the Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, California.
“Training is going very well we have a very good camp. Hard work like always. I am motivated for this fight,” Garcia told Fightnews.com.
Mikey is trained by his brother, 2012 Trainer of the Year and former world champion Robert Garcia. “Mikey is looking very sharp, strong, and fast. He’s motivated. We aren’t looking past Burgos. if we look strong sensational then we will move up to 135 we have to take a fight by fight,” Robert told Fightnews.com. Mikey’s father Eduardo Garcia, who trained Robert to a world title and also guided Fernando Vargas to a world title, is also in camp working with his third champion and youngest son Mikey. “My son is looking good he is training hard for this fight,” Eduardo told us.
“They are always here. They push me. They know how far I can go, what my limits are. They understand me better than anyone else. I make sure I do all the work they ask for. I never say no,” Garcia stated about training with the family. “What I know and understand in boxing, I have the best corner in the world, the best team, trainers. I wouldn’t think of anything else except to be with them, you have fighters from everywhere coming here for a reason. My dad and brother,” Garcia added.
The Garcias have added strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza to their team since moving up in weight. Despite the fact that Brandon Rios who is also part of the Garcia stable, tested positive for a banned substance in his post-fight drug test against Manny Pacquiao last November, the Garcias continue their work with Ariza.
“We are working with Alex. I feel really good and strong. I’m fighting at a higher weight division than before so I need to keep my power and strength. That’s why we brought Alex. I feel happy with his work,” Mikey commented on working with Ariza.
The Garcia Camp is a dream team of trainers who are looking to open up the year with a statement.
“The first thing they started telling me when Alex joined my camp was why are you bringing him here? He is no good, he is going to ruin your team. That’s what everyone was telling me,” Robert Garcia said. “I think he is the best at what he does. He has done a great job. Mikey is happy with him, Brandon (Rios) is happy with him, Maidana is happy. Why would I change it? I don’t care what people say.”
Burgos a veteran has a solid record as he has been in with some quality competition. Burgos is 0-1-1 in world title fights as he lost a decision to Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan for the WBC featherweight title in 2010. 2013 was the year of the draw as Burgos is coming off of two draws. A twelve round draw against Yakubu Amidu, and was on the receiving end of a poorly scored draw last year against Rocky Martinez for the WBO junior lightweight title on the Mikey Garcia vs. Orlando Salido undercard. Garcia and Burgos have both been in the ring with Rocky Martinez, the difference Garcia knocked out Martinez whereas Burgos went the distance giving Martinez all he can handle in getting a draw.
“I know he is a tough guy and puts on a good fight in the ring. He came up short twice that he has fought for a world title, so this is his third opportunity for a title. I am thinking he is going to come in stronger and take advantage of what is in front of him,” Mikey Garcia said. “He came up short against Martinez. Many feel he should have won but they gave him a draw. I only seen a couple of rounds but didn’t see the whole fight.”
“They are both similar, both a little taller than Mikey and have the same style, a lot of people thought that Burgos won, it was a close fight,” Robert Garcia said. “Burgos has had two title opportunities and has not been able to be world champion. Those are the guys we have to be aware, very careful. He comes to win and wants to become world champion. He’s a tremendous warrior. For him, beating someone like Mikey would be huge.”
“He is a tall fighter with experience. Tt’s a tough fight but I have confidence in my son,” Eduardo Garcia added.
Coming off an impressive 2013 Garcia had spectacular year as he won his first world title in January defeating solid veteran Orlando Salido by eight round technical decision winning the WBO featherweight title. Garcia suffered a broken nose in a fight he was dominating and scored four knockdowns before going to the scorecards.
“It was a very good year 2013 we had some good fights and victories I think we showed that I am a true champion,” Garcia said.
Six months later however Garcia lost his title to the scale at the weigh-in in Dallas, Texas for his fight with Puerto Rico’s Juan Manuel Lopez as he was two pounds over the limit and stripped of his title. The fight went on as Garcia scored a huge fourth round technical knockout of the former world champion Lopez.
“It was disappointing losing the title. It is what it is. We had to move forward. That’s why I moved up in weight and won another title,” Garcia said.
Moving up in weight to junior lightweight Garcia scored a knockout over Rocky Martinez last November in Corpus Christi, Texas in winning the WBO junior lightweight title. Garcia got up from the canvas after being knocked down in round two but was never staggered as he went on to knock out Martinez in the eighth round.
“We knew Martinez was a tough guy, good fighter. He caught me with a right hand as I was jumping in. He caught me in the middle of the exchange. I was never hurt or stunned but I had to get up and hurt enough to get him out. It was a good punch,” Garcia said.
Winning his second world title Garcia by far is the cream of the crop, the best fighter in the super featherweight division. Garcia also expressed his interest in wanting to unify titles in the 130 pound division, other champions in the division include Japanese champions Takashi Miura of holds the WBC title, unbeaten WBA champion Takashi Uchiyama, and recently crowned IBF champion Rances Barthelemy of Cuba.
“I would be interested in unifying title before I leave the division against the winner of them or any of the champions. 2014 is going to be a good year I want to stay active, fight three or four times, make sure we keep winning. First thing is we have to take care of is Burgos, then maybe move up in weight. There are names being mentioned out there. I am ready to fight anyone,” Garcia said. “We saw Mendez last Friday. He lost his title. He got caught early in the first and then in the second round he got hit again. The punch was a little after the bell but you can’t discredit Barthelemy, a rematch would be the best option,” Garcia noted.
One other possibility for Garcia is to move up to lightweight as there here have been recent reports of a potential showdown against Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa.
“Oh I don’t want to fight Gamboa. I am too scared to fight Gamboa. He’s a beast,” Garcia said sarcastically laughing away. “Come on! I will fight anyone they put in front of me. If it was that easy to make the fight I would fight him. Let’s meet up if he wants to fight me, come over here to see who the better fighter is, but he wants to get paid. Well then negotiate the fight. Get your promoter to talk to my promoter. I want that fight!”
Garcia vs. Burgos is a scheduled twelve round championship fight for Garcia’s WBO junior lightweight title. Garcia will be making the first defense of his title as he returns a year later to the Theatre at Madison Square Garden where he won his first world title.
“The night of the fight Mikey will go out and perform the way he does look sensational,” Robert Garcia predicted.
“Time will tell how it is going to be the night of the fight. He we will take advantage and be victorious,” Eduardo Garcia stated.
“It is nice to be given the opportunity to fight in a famous arena but I appreciate the fans. They make it interesting and have showed support the times we have been out there,” Garcia said. “You will see a good performance the night of the fight. It’s not going to be easy because he wants that title, expect me to be victorious,” Mikey Garcia concluded.
Follow me on Twitter @MigMaravilla