In three fights since his 2 1/2 year hiatus, Mikey Garcia has been on a mission: he's won two bouts by stoppage, and in his 140-pound fight vs. Adrien Broner — the highest profile bout of his career — he dominated the former champion.
Garcia, the WBC lightweight champion, searched for the biggest fights possible, and was in serious negotiations to face Miguel Cotto at the end of 2017; Garcia didn't want to be locked into a promotional agreement with Golden Boy Promotions. A fight had also been discussed with WBA lightweight titleholder Jorge Linares but the latter wasn't available to compete in December.
The way Garcia fought against Broner convinced him to stay at 140 pounds. This time around, the 30-year-old fights for another world title, battling IBF junior welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets on March 10.
Garcia is ranked No. 8 in Sporting News' pound-for-pound rankings and is regarded by many boxing pundits as one the best fighters in the world. Garcia knows that the only way to continue his upward trajectory and secure his goal of being the premiere fighter in the sport, is by taking big fights like Saturday's.
"I just need to secure these fights, championship fights, that’s it," Garcia told Sporting News. "We’re not to far away from getting that recognition. I think I have all the skills to be mentioned in the pound-for-pound list but you need those fights and victories to have the entire world recognize me."
A win over Lipinets will cement Garcia as the 17th fighter to capture world titles in four different weight classes. Garcia understands that the accomplishment would put him in rarified air and understands what it would mean.
"It would be a great honor for me in my career," Garcia said. "Two fighters have accomplished four titles or more. And to just be included in some of those discussions alongside fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, you are looking at fighters that have accomplished five, six, seven and eight championships. I’m getting closer.
"I don’t think I can achieve all of the eight titles that Manny has won but we’re in a good category with (Sugar Ray) Leonard and (Oscar) De La Hoya. It’s very special to be considered or to be included along in the conversation with those names."
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. You can listen to his podcast, "The Fight Junkies" here . You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA .