The last time Mikey Garcia fought in New York, in October 2011, he was known as a solid prospect and the little brother of name trainer Robert Garcia, who cornered Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios and Antonio Margarito.
Robert, who held a junior lightweight title in 1998 and 1999, was no slouch as a hitter, but his little bro might be on track to surpass him. He beat Juan Carlos Martinez (TKO4) at the Madison Square Garden Theater on a card topped by Donaire.
Mikey Garcia, of Oxnard, Calif., is coming back to the East Coast on Saturday, when he will take on featherweight belt holder Orlando Salido at the MSG Theater. Salido is a hard man, of body and will, and Garcia can't have an off night and beat him.
Garcia, 25, seems to be pumped to make the trek to NYC to try to wrest the crown from the Mexican fighter.
"I love going to New York for this fight," Garcia said. "New York has always been a great fight town, and I had a great experience there when I fought there last year. It's a great place to fight and a great place to win my first world championship." Just as his brother was as a fighter (who now conducts himself as one of the handful of best-known tutors in the sport), Mikey isn't prone to getting himself jazzed with trash talk.
"Orlando Salido is the best featherweight champion in the world, and he has earned the right to be called that," he said. "He is very strong and very experienced, and this will be the toughest test of my career, but I am ready for it."
I'm inclined to agree. Salido (39-11-2, 27 KOs) is 32, but has been a pro since 1996, and so his tires are a little balder. Garcia (30-0, 26 KOs) doesn't wow you out of the box, as he's a methodical worker who takes a couple of rounds to scout his foe and look for holes. But by Round 4, he should begin to exert his youthful vigor over Salido en route to a victory.