After a brutal loss to one of the world's best boxers, former 4-weight world champion Mikey Garcia is returning to the ring with Manny Pacquiao in his sights
- Mikey Garcia, a former four-weight world champion boxer, returns to the ring this weekend, fighting Jesse Vargas in Texas.
- It will be Garcia's first fight since he was resoundingly beaten in his welterweight debut against the masterful Errol Spence Jr.
- The beating was so one-sided it sparked questions as to whether the 147-pound division was a step too far for Garcia.
- But Garcia told Business Insider that he believes his boxing skill and overall ability can overcome his size disadvantage, as he continues his quest for a championship in a fifth division.
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The stakes have rarely been higher for former four-weight world champion boxer Mikey Garcia.When Garcia last fought, he was resoundingly beaten by Errol Spence Jr. - one of the world's best boxers. Spence Jr, who is a few wins away from being anointed the welterweight division's new Floyd Mayweather, won almost every minute of every round in a 2019 battering of Garcia.
They wanted to pull Garcia out of the bout - an act of surrender to save their son and brother from taking a severe beating. But Garcia told them he was fine. He wanted to fight on, finish the contest on his feet, and go the 12-round distance.After the fight, he went back to his locker room where he contemplated the defeat. He felt slow, tired, and knew he had had a bad night. The loss was his first as a pro athlete. His record dropped to 39 wins (30 KOs) and one loss.
Garcia has had almost a year to regroup. He returns to the ring on Saturday in Frisco, Texas in a comeback fight against Jessie Vargas, in the welterweight division. The fight will be broadcast by DAZN in the United States.It is a career crossroads bout. Victory could see Garcia challenge Manny Pacquiao, one of the sport's marquee names, in a fight worth millions of dollars. Defeat, meanwhile, could send him down a weight class.Nobody knows the stakes more than Garcia, who is gunning for a world championship in a fifth division.
"It's the first fight back after my defeat but I'm motivated, as always," Garcia told Business Insider in Las Vegas last week.
"I'm hungry to get back and prove to everybody that I have a lot more to give and I have more in me. One loss is not the end of my career."
'My body is not made to be a natural welterweight'
Garcia has been in championship bouts since 2013. He has won world titles at featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight, and super lightweight. Through those divisions he has beaten some of boxing's top names like Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Adrien Broner.
Garcia had been developing a reputation as a fearless warrior, taking fights at whatever weight. But after the loss to Spence Jr, a fight he acknowledges he could feel the American's power in, but never felt hurt, there is now backlash as to whether he is a suitable fit in the 147-pound welterweight division.The 32-year-old seems to see questions about his ability at welterweight as a challenge to overcome. "
"My last fight was not a good representation of that. But that was why I wanted this fight, against Vargas, to be at welterweight so I could show everybody that I could be a contender, a key player, even at the welterweight limit."A conclusive win would be proof he belongs in the division. A second successive loss would mean a rethink. "Whether I stay or not at that limit, we'll see … but I just want to make sure everybody has the opportunity to see me perform at the best of my ability.
"This is a very good fight. Vargas is a former two-weight champion, with only two defeats to Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley. He's a quality opponent and an experienced fighter."He's bigger than I am. A win over him will let everyone know that I am a serious contender even at welterweight. If I can defeat Jesse well, and look good doing so, that's going to answer questions."
Returning to winning ways could see Garcia campaign for a Pacquiao fight
Beating Vargas, who is ranked No.6 in the world at welterweight, could see Garcia campaign for more lucrative fights in the near future.
"I would love to fight anybody at the welterweight limit with a belt," Garcia said."You got Manny Pacquiao there and Terence [Crawford]. Potentially, in the future if I do well against one of those guys in a title fight, I would love to eventually have a rematch with Errol Spence Jr.
"Those are great match-ups but [who knows] if I stay at welterweight or not," he said.
"I just want to make sure this fight gets done so I can show everybody I can be a good, quality contender at welterweight and if the options are available to fight for a world title next, I will definitely jump on that opportunity to fight for a fifth division title again."Everybody better watch because I got a lot to prove and I want to show everybody there's a lot more to Mikey Garcia, so you better not miss it."
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