Whenever a Pugilist joins a club, membership consisting of Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, he’s doing something right. Asserting and inserting himself as a consistently dominant force one weight class to the next, firmly entrenching his being within the ranks of prizefighting’s pound for pound elite.
On Saturday, March 10th, Mikey Garcia did just that; winning a unanimous 12-round decision over Sergey Lipinets, relieving him of duties as the IBF World Champion at 140 pounds. Concurrently, Garcia became just the third man in history to have also amassed world titles at 135, 130 and 126. Richard Schaefer’s Ring Star Sports presented this evening of boxing live from Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, TX., with Showtime Championship Boxing providing television coverage.
From Oxnard, California, Garcia (38-0-, 30 KO’s) had a distinct “hometown” advantage in San Antonio; fans chanting “Mikey, Mikey” just prior to the opening ding. He threw some exploratory jabs and jab-right combinations, feinted a left hook or so and seemed poised to eventually open-up on Lipinets (13-1-1, 10 KO’s) as the first 3 minutes concluded. Mikey formally introduced the Russian to his vaunted 1-2 and accurate left hooks throughout the following round, creating visible redness to Lipinets’ face.
A pattern developed, with Lipinets patiently stalking, touching the body and landing occasional left hooks of his own. But in a show of sheer, unspoken Badassery, Garcia made it a point to immediately retaliate to landed shots with “Payback Punches”, sometimes with the same hand that struck him. By the 7th, he planted Lipinets on the canvas hard, courtesy of a counter left hook. Upon rising, Lipinets kept Mikey honest defensively but was all but an easy target for clean 1-2 combos and left-handed counters for the remainder of the evening.
When all was said and done, Garcia landed his best shots to no avail, and the brave, tough Lipinets lasted to the final bell. The verdict was academic, 116-111 and 117-110 (twice), proclaiming Mikey the winner and new champion unanimously. For the first time in his career, Garcia was extended the 12-round distance is consecutive bouts, both of which were at 140. You can’t help but wonder if this is a sign Mikey’s power isn’t traveling up in weight with him and if his fistic gifts and talents are better served at a lower weight.
Without ruling out a return trip to 140 or a foray to 147, Garcia revealed he plans to unify the 135 pound division, where he holds a WBC title. WBA belt-holder, Jorge Linares, is angling to face 130-pound stud, Vasyl Lomachenko, which leaves IBF lightweight champion, Robert Easter, Jr. and the WBO’s Ray Beltran as options. But given Top Rank’s affiliation with Lomachenko and Beltran, the most likely scenario for Mikey will be Easter, Jr.