Mikey Garcia Still Has Things To Learn


Mikey Garcia Still Has Things To Learn

Mikey Garcia didn’t look particularly menacing when he stepped into the ring in New York City on Saturday night. Yet the WBO super featherweight champion of the world proved to be more than just smiles and sweetness when the opening bell rang for his battle with Juan Carlos Burgos.

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Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

With whispers of a blockbuster payday against Manny Pacquiao floating in the air, Garcia remained as focused and patient as always once the action started. Perhaps he knew that Burgos would mean business in the ring. The Mexican veteran had been denied a title previously, after all. In short, he wasn’t someone to be taken lightly.

Burgos needed to move, keep his distance and not allow Garcia to land if he were to walk away the upset victor. And that’s exactly what Burgos started off doing. The second round, for instance, was a Burgos clinic. If Garcia landed a solid power punch, it was far from obvious. In fact, Burgos nearly dropped him.

Yet Garcia was nothing if not a disciplined fighter. As HBO’s ringside team rightfully pointed out, the young man’s patience had always served him well in the ring. And indeed, it served the Oxnard, California native again as the fight wore on. It was a slow, technical battle, to be sure, but Garcia’s heavier punches ultimately told the tale. Burgos could jab and punch with pop, but Garcia was able to do the same things with a thud.

In the end, Garcia left Madison Square Garden with a unanimous decision victory. Still, it was hard to be overly impressed. Sure, Garcia emerged the winner, but it was difficult to see him doing well against the buzz saw which is Pacquiao. Or the chess master which is Bradley, for that matter. In fact, if one of those potential fights were to actually occur in the near future, it would be easy to imagine Garcia’s patience working against him.

Think about it. If Garcia were to take his time against, say Bradley, it could cost him precious rounds. If he were to take his time against Pacquiao, it could cost him his consciousness. And that’s not even taking into consideration the fact that Garcia would have to jump several weight classes in order to face either man.

The truth about Garcia is he wins fights by slowly taking over the tempo. His big finishes have often made him seem like an exciting fighter. Before Saturday night, he had managed to avoid accusations of being boring. Yet Garcia wouldn’t be able to toss rounds away against the likes of Bradley. And he certainly wouldn’t be doing himself any favors if tried wearing down the likes of Pacquiao.

Still, it can’t be denied that Garcia is an excellent fighter. He needs time to improve, though, before he’s ready to challenge some of the world’s best. As was indicated by the HBO team, the man must work on how to deal with boxers who move from side to side. He also must consider how much of an impact moving up in weight would have on the power of his punches.

It’s good to know that boxing is a family affair for Garcia. His brother, Robert, trains him and his father is always nearby. Perhaps these men will help him resist the pull of the powerful Bob Arum, who wants to place the fighter in marquee events as quickly as possible. Big money might seem appealing, but long term earning potential rests solely on skill and longevity.

Garcia needs to become the best before he can compete with the best. He’s close, but not there just yet. Hopefully, he himself is aware of that fact.

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