Like Frank Sinatra, Mikey Garcia will do it his way
There’s no doubt that current WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia, who faces reigning IBF beltholder Robert Easter Jr. in a unification tilt this Saturday night, from the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) is one of the best pure boxers in the sport. Any listing of the game’s elite simply isn’t complete unless his name is included.
But for all the accolades the four-division titlist has earned, Garcia isn’t necessarily a big star, despite being a Mexican-American who hails from Southern California.
Since breaking free from Top Rank a few years ago, he’s made it clear that he wants to be free from any real long-term commitment to any promoter. He doesn’t just crave his independence; he insists on it. However the question is, while IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua, Saul Alvarez and WBC/WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin – arguably the three most popular and lucrative entities in the sport – have full-time dedicated promotional entities, can Garcia reach that status without one?
Richard Schaefer, the head of Ringstar Sports, whose company is staging this weekend’s promotion, said last week, “Well, I tell you that it worked for Floyd (Mayweather Jr.); it worked for Oscar (De La Hoya). Let’s face it; the two biggest names, the two biggest pay-per-view stars of our generation have been Floyd – Floyd is like in a league of his own – and then Oscar, and it worked for both of them. They both took control of the reins; they controlled all aspects of the promotion, and I think it worked very well for them.”
In the case of De La Hoya, he broke off from Top Rank to create Golden Boy Promotions, after he had long been established as a superstar. While Mayweather also left Top Rank a bit before he hit transcendent status, it wasn’t till he faced the “Golden Boy” in 2007, and then ironically used GBP as the promoter for his events for the remainder of his career.
At age 30, Garcia has still yet to be a part of a pay-per-view promotion.
“I believe that Mikey Garcia will be. He’s certainly on the way to become as big of a star as either one of those two guys,” Schaefer continued, “so it seems to work well. I mean, look at Floyd; I did all his fights from 2007 on till I left Golden Boy, and we not only broke records. We shattered them, which people before believed wasn’t possible. I never had a contract with Floyd, and yet I knew that Floyd and me were going to work together. Now I wouldn’t say forever; forever is a long time but it worked very well, and, I believe, with Mikey, the relationship I have with Mikey is very strong.
“We trust each other; we like each other. We get along very well, and he’s very ambitious and I like that. I’m very ambitious, as well. So I have to say so far, so good. I think it’s working well for Mikey.”
This is actually Garcia’s first appearance in Los Angeles since 2011 (yeah, it’s been awhile), his first time in the main event and he’s doing it at the Staples Center. According to Schaefer, “Certain ticket categories are already sold out, and so it’s performing extremely well. I think it has been long overdue for Mikey to come home but Mikey’s not just coming home. Mikey’s coming to the Staples Center, and to be headlining at the Staples Center really shows that you are on top of your game and only big stars – and I’m not only talking boxing – generally perform at the Staples Center.”
For Garcia, who has actually boxed multiple times at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, and whose most recent bout against Sergey Lipinets took place in San Antonio, last March, to perform at the Staples Center with his name at the top of the marquee is a milestone achievement.
“You look back 60, 70, 80 years in L.A. boxing and it’s always been somebody, most of the time it was a Latino, a Mexican, Mexican-American, more specifically, who carried boxing here in L.A., who was the king of L.A., when it came to boxing, and, all the time, the king of L.A. became a big star globally, as well, in the sport of boxing and I am convinced Mikey Garcia is that one who is the king of L.A., when it comes to boxing,” stated Schaefer.
The question is, will Garcia ever participate in that breakthrough fight that elevates his status? For De La Hoya, it was Julio Cesar Chavez. For Mayweather, it was De La Hoya, as it was for Manny Pacquiao, a short time later. Recently Garcia has turned down chances to face Jorge Linares and Miguel Cotto, and now, instead of actively looking for a showdown with WBA lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, he is instead calling out standout welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr.
“I have to tell you that today, when I was with him, we spoke a little bit, and he is dead serious about trying to pursue – assuming everything goes well for him – an Errol Spence fight,” Schaefer said last week. “That’s what he really wants but, the fact is, at 135, 140, there’s a lot of fights which can be made, and I believe that Mikey Garcia, at 135 and at 140, is the best fighter in the world and we haven’t seen him at 147 yet. But if would decide to go to 147, I think he would very quickly become the man at 147 as well.
“There’s a lot of potential fights out there for him, and if it goes well, he would love to come back before the end of the year, maybe November, December.”
Whatever he decides, like Frank Sinatra, Garcia will do it his way.
The official line-up for the third edition of the “SuperFly” series (which takes place on September 8, at the Forum, in Inglewood) was announced on Thursday. Kazuto Ioka will return from retirement to face McWilliams Arroyo; Donnie Nietes will square off against Aston Palicte and, in the main event, Juan Francisco Estrada will meet Felipe Orucuta.
Here’s the ticket info:
Advance tickets for SUPERFLY 3, priced at $150, $100, $75, $50 and $25 will go On-Sale Tomorrow, Friday July 27 at 10:00 a.m. PT and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (Ticketmaster.com, 1-800-745-3000) and the Forum Box Office.
Here’s this week’s edition of “The 3 Knockdown Rule,” with Mario Lopez and me:
Heavyweight hopeful Joe Joyce has begun training with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear…The battle between WBC junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez and Antonio Orozco for September 14, in Fresno, California, at the Save Mart Center, is official and tickets go on sale August 3, for $150 (floor), $90, $60, $35 and $25…Kevin Durant just needs to block more people on Twitter and move on…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.