Mikey Garcia faced perhaps his toughest test in his last several fights, but was still able to march down the ring and capture another world title.
Garcia defeated a resilient Sergey Lipinets by unanimous decision (116-111, 117-110, 117-110) to win the IBF junior welterweight title. With the win, Garcia, who also holds the WBC lightweight champion, becomes the 17th man in boxing history to win a major world title in four different weight classes and joins Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao as the only men to win a world title in the 126, 130, 135 and 140-pound divisions. Fightful had scored the fight in favor of Garcia 117-110 and it was the main event of a Showtime Championship Boxing card at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas.
The fight started off relatively tame, with both men measuring each other and finding their footing. Garcia managed to land the more effective power punches in the early going, but Lipinets’ own power shots managed to dish out some damage to Garcia, leaving Garcia’s nose slightly bloody by the end of the second round.
Lipinets was starting to mount a comeback in the third round, landing vicious power shots to Garcia that kept him off rhythm. Garcia put a stop to Lipinets’ momentum when he started to use his right hand to land several 1-2 combinations to break through Lipinets’ defense. Lipinets’ evening took a turn for the worse in the sixth round when Garcia connected with a hard counter left hook to knock Lipinets down for the first time in his career. From that point forward, Lipinets was never able to truly get back in the fight.
Garcia continued to land the hard right hand and 1-2 combinations throughout the rest of the fight to completely bruise Lipinets’ face. Lipinets tried to make it a competitive fight, but Garcia’s technical prowess and experience were the deciding factor. Lipinets managed to make the 12th round interesting when he stunned Garcia for a brief moment, but all it did was have both fighters end the fight with a scintillating exchange of power punches that had the crowd on their feet.
As one of the top boxers at 135 and 140 pounds, Garcia has various options for his short term future. Garcia will most likely have a title unification fight regardless at what weight he fights next, but did say in the post-fight interview that he wishes to come back to 135 pounds and unify world titles.
Garcia is currently ordered by the WBC to fight WBA and WBC Diamond champion Jorge Linares, but Linares could be busy in the coming months with a fight against Vasyl Lomachenko at Madison Square Garden. His only other option at 135 pounds would be IBF champion Robert Easter Jr. Garcia also expressed a desire to eventually fight at welterweight, where Garcia could potentially join an extremely elite club, joining Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns as male boxers to win a major world title in five different weight classes.
For now, Garcia said he will explore his options and said he is excited to have numerous roads to take for his next fight.