As Mikey Garcia approached the podium to talk in a press conference not long after he won his 140-pound debut, the Mexican star knows he has a bright future ahead.
After all, his win against Adrien Broner in front of more 12,000 people at the Barclays Center just opened up new roads for Garcia, all of which are extremely beneficial to both Garcia and fans of the sport.
Garcia, the WBC's lightweight champion, fought Broner at junior welterweight because it was the biggest fight for him. Despite no world titles or world title opportunities being on the line in the fight against Broner, Garcia now has the chance to become a big star yet another weight class, be it at 140 pounds, or even at 147 pounds, which makes a strong case for being the sport's most loaded division.
When asked about whether or not he would move back down to lightweight and defend his title, or move up in weight permanently, Garcia didn't really give a straight answer, leaving the door open for him to fight at three different weight classes.
"Anybody that wants to come join us on Showtime, give us a call, we are ready for anybody. Maybe I'll go down to 135, stay at 140 or go up to 147," Garcia said.
If Garcia were to return to 135 pounds, the only fights that would benefit a star of his caliber would be unification bouts. Garcia's a three-division world champion, but has never had a chance to unify world titles during his time as the featherweight, super featherweight or lightweight champions.
Of the three other world champions at lightweight, Terry Flanagan (WBO), Robert Easter Jr. (IBF) and Jorge Linares (WBA), only Flanagan and Linares would provide the big fight feel that Garcia needs to keep his momentum going while competing as a lightweight world champion.
Moving up to welterweight would provide a new challenge for Garcia in trying to win a world title in a fourth division. But after beating Broner in a television main event, there's probably only one name at 140 pounds where Garcia can get a bigger fight than Broner: Terence Crawford.
Crawford is the unified WBO and WBC junior welterweight champion and will fight WBA and IBF champion Julius Indongo later this month. Crawford is the bigger star of the two and the favorite in that fight. Should Crawford win and unify all four titles, Garcia could make history by potentially winning the unified junior welterweight titles if he decides to move up in weight.
While a Crawford vs. Garcia fight has "Fight of the Year" potential, politics will most likely prevent that fight from ever occurring. Garcia is with Showtime, and looks to be very happy with that fact, while Crawford's fighting on ESPN. Even though ESPN would guarantee a much bigger audience, there is probably more money to be made with Showtime and the network has consistently put out great television boxing cards as of late.
If Garcia doesn't see the big money fight that he deserves at either lightweight or junior welterweight, then the only other option, and it's still a viable one, would be for Garcia to fight in the welterweight division.
Garcia briefly mentioned potentially fighting at welterweight in the post-fight interview, but addressed it even further in the post-fight press conference, even saying he would love to fight unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman.
“I would do it,” Garcia said. “If it’s a good fight that the people and the networks want to discuss, I’m open to discuss that too. He’s a great champion. He’s a good fighter. He’s the unified champion at welterweight, so that would be a great match-up and a great accomplishment. It’s a big challenge, but that’s what we want. That’s exactly the kind of fight we want, a big challenge. If I want to be remembered in the sport, these are the fights you got to take. I could take easy fights, fighting top contenders. But easier fights don’t really do anything. The boxing fans want to recognize you and remember you. That’s not going to help build a legacy,”
The great thing about Garcia is that he's only 29 years old, still young enough to make a dramatic enough of a jump (12 pounds specifically from lightweight to welterweight) and have a great career there. Even if he doesn't get a fight against Thurman, especially since he's out for the remainder of the year, the 147-pound division is rich with great, talented boxers that would provide fans with amazing matchups.
The possibility of having fights with the likes of Errol Spence Jr., Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Victor Ortiz, Jessie Vargas and countless others is almost as good as potentially fighting Thurman himself in the meantime.
That's how good Mikey Garcia is. Garcia is able to effortlessly transition to numerous weight classes and still make a case he's the top fighter wherever he is.
What fans saw was a masterful performance against one of the most successful boxers of this generation in Broner. Broner could only play defense throughout most of the fight due to Garcia's constant pressure. Garcia has always been a world-class boxer and perennial top-10 pound-for-pound boxer, but his win against Broner may have been the best performance in Garcia's career.
As Garcia was leaving the Barclays Center, he could only imagine what big fights await for him on the horizon. The only thing is, he's good enough to make those big fights a reality and that is a treat that boxing will always accept.
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