Fresh from a dominant eighth-round knockout of Rocky Martinez on Nov. 9 to win a junior lightweight world title, Mikey Garcia’s first defense is on the drawing board.
Garcia, whose only problem with Martinez was getting dropped in the second round, is expected back on Jan. 25 to headline an HBO card, possibly at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com.
As for who Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs), 25, of Oxnard, Calif., will fight, Arum and HBO are talking. HBO would like to make a fight between Garcia and interim lightweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa, but that’s probably a pipe dream, thankfully.
Arum has no particular interest in making it, and I was glad to hear that. Gamboa is not a draw, his style has become very boring, he looked bad in his last fight against Darleys Perez, he has twice been arrested for domestic abuse of his ex-wife (including earlier this month) and the Miami resident was implicated in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.
Add all that baggage to the fact that Gamboa has never been a ticket seller or a ratings draw but still commanded large purses and it makes no sense.
Arum’s take: “He is not deserving of fighting Garcia, who has a great image. Who needs a guy who has a second (arrest) for domestic abuse?”
Arum said the opponent he is looking at is contender Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs), 25, of Mexico.
In January at the MSG Theater, Burgos got ripped off in a draw against Martinez and was denied of the title on the undercard of the show on which Garcia beat Orlando Salido in the main event to win a featherweight belt.
“Burgos is one of the names we’ve talked about and he’s a difficult opponent,” Cameron Dunkin, Garcia’s manager, told ESPN.com. “I even talked to Alex Camponovo (of Burgos co-promoter Thompson Boxing) about the fight and they’re interested. But HBO wants to explore other things, Gamboa, of course. They’ve even got a couple of other guys they want to explore. I told (Top Rank vice president) Carl Moretti to go ahead and explore whatever you want.”
Dunkin said that once Mikey Garcia and his brother and trainer, Robert Garcia, are settled after their trip home from Macau, China (where they were for the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios fight) that the three of them would get on the phone and discuss what Mikey wants to do.
“We’ll try to put something together but Jan. 25 is great,” Dunkin said. “We’re ready to go.”