Is Mikey Garcia Ready to Join World Championship Club?
By David A. Avila
The Inland area boasts three world champions in its exclusive boxing club but a new addition could arrive soon.
Mikey Garcia (27-0, 23 KOs) travels to Puerto Rico on Tuesday where he’ll face Philippine Island’s featherweight contender Bernabe Concepcion (29-5-1, 15 KOs) for the number one ranking on the WBO standings. Showtime will televise the match along with WBO featherweight titleholder Orlando Salido clashing with former champ Juan Manuel Lopez.
The Inland big three consists of bantamweight champion Kaliesha West, junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and middleweight belt holder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. If Garcia wins his next two bouts he could be the newest exclusive member.
Garcia arrived in Riverside a few years ago and has proven to be a new force in the 126-pound limit weight division. Though not born ad raised in the Inland area the amiable featherweight has made worldwide impressions with his victories. Many have been televised.
Facing Garcia is Concepcion a fighter hailing from Manila and a veteran of many featherweight wars including slugfests with Juan Manuel Lopez, Steve Luevano, and last October against Aaron Garcia at San Manuel Casino. He’s battle tested.
“I do think he’s comfortable on the big stage and in the big arena. If he beats me he gets a title shot,” says Garcia of his opponent. “I’ve seen him fight several times. I know his demeanor. He does have a good overhand right.”
Trained by his father Eduardo Garcia, one of the more underrated trainers in the world, the 24-year-old Garcia has knocked out his past five consecutive opponents. A world title bid beckons him and also inclusion to the world title club that currently has three exclusive club members.
“It would be nice to be part of the group but that’s not what I’m focused on. I don’t take that mentality to the ring with me. I concentrate on what I do and that’s to win,” says Garcia.
WBO featherweight title fight
The main event on the Puerto Rico fight card is a rematch between Mexico’s Salido (37-11-2, 25 KOs) and Puerto Rico’s Lopez (31-1, 28 KOs). Their first encounter ended with a knockout win for Salido in round eight. That fight took place on April 2011 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. This one will happen in San Juan.
Salido, 31, has been one of the more underrated boxers in the last six years. The Mexican veteran has upset a number of fighters in his career and continues to fight without much fanfare. It was a reason that Lopez underestimated the Mexican and probably the reason he was stopped. But can Salido do it again?
Hollywood Ring Kings
Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Miguel Cotto were greeted by the media and public in Hollywood style nearly all the glitz and glamour befitting tinsel town. Not so much for Sugar Shane Mosley who fights the new darling of Mexican boxing Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
As Mosley began to speak to the media and public somebody shouted “You’re washed up.”
You might as well have assassinated Mosley because those words cut to his heart with a look of pain on his face that hurt more than a dozen Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao or De La Hoya punches combined.
“Somebody better escort that person out of here,” said Mosley, but the hurt look remained on the proud warrior from Pomona, Calif.
Boxing is like Hollywood, it’s all about “what have you done lately?”
Mosley lost three of his last six and fought to a draw that many saw as a loss. He lost back-to-back fights to Mayweather and Pacquiao and now more than a few doubt his ability to fight on the elite level. But not those who actually exchanged punches with him in the ring have a different viewpoint.
“You can never underestimate Sugar Shane Mosley,” said De La Hoya who fought Mosley as an amateur and twice as a pro. “I know. He’ll surprise you.”
Fights on television
Sat. Showtime, 10 p.m. Orlando Salido (37-11-2) vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (31-1); Mikey (27-0) Garcia vs. Bernabe Concepcion (.29-5-1)