Mikey Garcia Invites Lomachenko to 135
Mikey Garcia’s two-year hiatus from the sport of boxing led many to forget about the undefeated 29-year-old. His return in July, a steamrolling of Elio Rojas, put Garcia back on the map. Garcia will fight for a title in January, and he may have big fights on the horizon — including one with rising star Vasyl Lomachenko.
Before any super-fight with the Ukrainian star, Garcia (35-0) will challenge for the WBC lightweight title on January 28 against Dejan Zlaticanin on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s rematch with Leo Santa Cruz.
Zlaticanin will be a step up in competition from Elio Rojas, who Garcia handled with ease in his return fight. Garcia told Albert Perez (per Boxing Scene) that the undefeated Zlaticanin presents many risks in the ring and promises not to take him lightly.
“He is a strong and dangerous fighter, he has heavy hands,” Garcia said. “Other boxers did not want to face him. He’s a threat, he’s undefeated, he’s young and he’s very hungry.”
Garcia is not looking to ease his way back into competition after two years off and only one return fight. He is taking on Zlaticanin because of the dangers that the matchup presents, not in spite of them.
“A lot of people look to take an easier path to the championship. I’m not like them, I want the biggest challenges.”
If Garcia can stay active and continue winning, one name he will be increasingly linked to is Vasyl Lomachenko. The Ukrainian phenom is a champion at 130 lbs, and will likely continue moving up in weight (and the pound-for-pound list).
Garcia welcomes the Lomachenko matchup, but knows it is up to the powers that be and won’t expend any energy chasing the fight.
“I’ve already said that if [Lomachenko] goes up to 135 pounds, we have to make a fight. If Bob [Arum] and Lomachenko’s manager do not want to, why am I going to waste my time? I’ve never looked for anyone, they’re looking for me.”
Lomachenko has only had eight professional fights but his performances have earned him a place in discussions with the best fighters in the world.
Garcia recognizes a talented fighter, but seems relatively unimpressed.
“I’m on a different level,” he said. “He is doing what I already did three years ago. He’s just catching up with me. From what I hear, the TV ratings for his fights do not compare to the ones I had [on HBO].”