By Miguel Maravilla
Former two-division world champion “Mikey” Garcia (35-0, 29 KOs) of Oxnard, California will look to add another world title as he returns to the ring against WBC lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 KOs) of Montenegro. Garcia and Zlaticanin will square off January 28th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas live on Showtime Championship Boxing. Fightnews.com caught up with “Mikey” as he talked about his upcoming fight.
“I feel great and excited. It’s only the beginning. Hopefully it goes well and I become a three-division champion,” Mikey Garcia told Fightnews.com®. “This is a world title fight and I looking to add another title.”
After a two-year absence from the ring due to contract issues, Garcia returned to the ring this past summer as he scored a knockout over Elio Rojas at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“I was out two-and-a-half years but returned in July and came out with a victory,” Garcia on his last fight. “I think this year 2017 will be real big,” Garcia promised.
Now the former world champion is gearing up for his fight with Zlaticanin as he is training in Moreno Valley, California under the watchful eye of his brother former world champion Robert Garcia and his father Eduardo Garcia, who has been instrumental in developing Robert Garcia, Fernando Vargas, and now his youngest son Mikey into world champions.
“I feel great my brother, father, training camp has gone well,” Garcia said about camp. “We have had a good camp a total of 8 weeks with great sparring camp and atmosphere. I really enjoyed this camp,”
“We started training camp in December and we had more than enough sparring. Robert Garcia told Fightnews.com®. “We will have a good 8-9 weeks of training camp when we are done.”
Training in the Inland Empire, a suburb region located about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Garcia has found comfort training at his brother Robert Garcia’s ranch stable in Moreno Valley in Riverside County. The Garcia’s have been residing there for quite some time now as Mikey lives the simple farm life secluded with a stable of boxers, sparring partners, horses and livestock as he prepares for Zlaticanin.
“I did camps in Oxnard before and it was good. Right now for this fight training here in Riverside is a good fit. My family and everyone is here now and it works well for me, we still get the job done I like it,” Garcia on training in Riverside
“I have been in Riverside for 2 years and Mikey for like 6 or 7 years. I was still in Oxnard and Mikey would do training camp in Oxnard and stay in a hotel or rent a house but now he trains close to home in Riverside,” Robert Garcia on training in Riverside “Reason I decided to move was to be close to my parents and family now I see them almost everyday,” Garcia added.
His opponent Zlaticanin became Montenegro’s first ever boxing world champion when he stopped Franklin Mamani in his last fight in winning the WBC lightweight title and prior to that he scored a stoppage over previously unbeaten Ivan Redkach. He also has wins over former world champion Ricky Burns and top rated lightweight Petr Petrov.
“I feel I am the better boxer but he is a hard puncher. What I see he is strong, aggressive, he is a brawler,” Garcia on his opponent. “His fight is to cut the distance and stay close to exchange big punches but I think out skills and experience will let me come out with the win,” Garcia added.
“I have seen him fight up close in person. When he beat Redkach, I was working Redkach’s corner. He is very hungry with tremendous power and condition,” Robert Garcia commented on Zlatacanin. “He is a tough Eastern European figher that comes looking for the knockout but when it comes to skills, Mikey is much better than him.”
A win over Zlatacanin, the plan for Garcia will be to stay active pursue bigger fights and unify.
“This is only the beginning after this fight, I want big fights to establish myself and leave a good legacy,” Garcia said. “I won two titles in 2013 and this year 2017 will be even better,” Garcia promised.
Already lurking in the lightweight division Garcia looks to get passed Zlatacanin and win the WBC title and possibly set up a unification bout with another titlist at 135 later down the line in 2017. Champions include Venezuela’s Jorge Linares who holds the WBA title, IBF champion Robert Easter Jr. and England’s WBO Terry Flanagan.
“If everything goes well I would like to fight Terry Flanagan, the winner of Jorge Linares and Crolla, I would like to unify. These are not only good fights for me but good fights for the fans,” Garcia said. “Whatever fight is available at the moment I am willing to take but I understand the business and politics of it also,”
Garcia vs. Zlatacanin will be a scheduled 12 round championship fight for Zlatacanin’s WBC title as Garcia will look to win his third world title.
“You have all of the elements here for a great fight. My opponent is hungry, he’s ready and undefeated. I’m more motivated than ever. So you know it’s going to be a great fight.”
Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla