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Mikey Garcia set to defend belt

Junior lightweight titlist Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia will make his first defense against Juan Carlos Burgos on Jan. 25 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com on Friday.

The fight will headline an HBO-televised doubleheader that will also include rising Philadelphia heavyweight Bryant Jennings (17-0, 9 KOs) against Polish brawler Artur Szpilka (16-0, 12 KOs).

"I think Burgos is the most competitive guy we could find at 130 pounds to fight Mikey," Arum said.

This past Jan. 19 at the MSG Theater, Garcia won a featherweight world title in dominant fashion, scoring four knockdowns in an eighth-round technical decision against Orlando Salido.

But Garcia never defended the belt, instead getting stripped for failing to make weight the day before a June 15 defense against former titlist Juan Manuel Lopez in Dallas. Garcia stopped Lopez in the fourth round and then moved up to junior lightweight, where he knocked out Roman "Rocky" Martinez in the eighth round on Nov. 9 in Corpus Christi, Texas to win his second world title.

Burgos, a longtime contender, challenged Martinez for the belt on the Garcia-Salido undercard, and although many believed Burgos had clearly won, Martinez retained the title on a controversial split draw.

"One can make a strong case that Burgos beat Rocky Martinez, almost a year ago to the date, so a year later he'll get his shot at the title against a rising star in Mikey Garcia," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said. "Great way to kick off Super Bowl week in the New York metropolitan area.

"Burgos' style and size will definitely cause some problems for Mikey, but if Mikey is who we think he is, his hand should be raised in victory at the end of the night."

Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs), 25, of Mexico, will be getting his third shot at a world title. Besides the disputed draw with Martinez, Burgos lost a unanimous decision challenging then-featherweight titlist Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan in 2010.

"I think Juan Carlos should have already had the title against Martinez," said Artie Pelullo, who co-promotes Burgos with Thompson Boxing. "He fights better when he has better opposition in front of him and we know good Mikey Garcia is. Juan Carlos is getting his third shot at a world title. He has one loss and one draw. Hopefully, the third one is the charm."

Arum said the fight probably will be Garcia's last at 130 pounds, regardless of the outcome.

"I think he will move up one or two weight classes," Arum said. "He wants to move up so he can target (welterweight star) Manny Pacquiao."

With a win, Arum said that Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs), 25, of Oxnard, Calif., would return in the spring to fight at lightweight or junior welterweight with an eye on a future fight with Pacquiao, who fights in the 147-pound division but is small in the weight class.

Gary Shaw, who recently signed Jennings with co-promoter Antonio Leonard, told ESPN.com that the fight with Szpilka has been finalized.

Jennings, one of the top American heavyweight hopes, fought only once in 2013 and is close to a mandatory title shot.

Jennings' last fight was a sixth-round knockout of Andrey Fedosov on June 14, but he did not fight the rest of the year while ironing out his promotional situation.

"I'm happy to be working with Bryant, who has a great work ethic, the determination and skill, to go on to be a legitimate American heavyweight (contender)," Shaw said. "The heavyweight division is wide open and Jennings has the opportunity to make a name for himself with a big win over Szpilka, Polish Rock Star. On Jan. 25, someone will emerge to start the run to champion stature. Let's hope it's Jennings."

Arum said the untelevised undercard will include fights involving popular Long Island light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (19-0, 12 KOs), 20-year-old lightweight Felix Verdejo (9-0, 6 KOs) -- a 2012 Puerto Rican Olympian and one of boxing's elite prospects -- and Philadelphia super middleweight prospect Jesse Hart (11-0, 10 KOs), the son of 1970s middleweight contender Eugene "Cyclone" Hart.