Mikey Garcia’s Bid for Pound-for-pound No. 1
By: Kirk Jackson
Mikey Garcia emerged victorious over the weekend improving his record to 39-0 (30 KO’s) and capturing his fifth world title in a lightweight unification bout against Robert Easter 21-1 (14 KO’s).
After another dominant performance, Garcia’s star continues to shine brighter and it’s time for the boxing public to seriously consider Garcia as the top pound-for-pound fighter.
Surveying various pound-for-pound lists, they’re likely framed to feature the likes of Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko, Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence.
Undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk is a fighter who should be considered in the running as one of boxing’s best fighters and is slept on by a vast majority of the mainstream boxing community.
Making a case for Garcia, he has five world titles across four weight classes in seven championship fights. Traveling from weight class to weight class displays the will and desires to be great.
— Team Mikey Garcia (@mikeygarcia) July 30, 2018
Among his pound-for-pound contemporaries, Garcia faced and defeated a larger tally of world champion fighters. As of now, Garcia defeated 10 world champions, six by knockout.
By comparison, Crawford and Lomachenko defeated six world champions each, Golovkin defeated five, Usyk defeated four and Spence defeated three.
This statistic is not the end-all argument especially considering the multitude of variables at play, but this statistic looks good on paper in favor of Garcia.
Accolades, accomplishments, world titles or records set factor in towards a fighter’s pound-for-pound status. The resume is a crucial factor.
Another measure is the skill-set of pound-for-pound elite fighters and the ability to display these talents against the highest level of opposition.
Garcia displays a certain skill-set required to transcend across several weight divisions. Although not flashy, the subtle adept techniques and overall consistency is what establishes Garcia amongst the greatest fighters of today.
Because Garcia isn’t ostentatious with his lateral movement, punches and overall style, his skills tend to get overlooked.
In the sport of basketball, Tim Duncan for example is considered one of the greatest players of all-time, but his style of play for many observes is bland in comparison to flamboyant players such as Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant.
Lomachenko and Crawford are so skillful and flashy with what they can do, it’s somewhat easier for the common viewer to acknowledge and visualize what makes them great and transcendent as fighters.
As he showcased against Easter, Garcia measures his distance well and can find the right angles to land a variety of well-placed accurate punches.
Not recognized for blazing hand speed, Garcia contends with excellent timing and possessing excellent foot work he can move in and out of range; avoiding danger at pivotal times.
Easter can even attest. “He was just a better man tonight,” Easter said. “I take my hat off to Mikey. He’s a true warrior. … I just couldn’t find the timing and I just couldn’t let my right hand go.”
Another measure establishing and separating the pound-for-pound best from other great fighters worthy of the crown is the risks and challenges that fighter is willing to take to prove his weight in gold so-to-speak.
This year alone, Garcia moved up in weight capturing the vacant IBF junior welterweight title against Sergey Lipinets.
This past weekend he added another world title to his collection defeating undefeated Easter and unifying the light weight division.
As far as seeking greater challenges, Garcia intends to face one of boxing’s most avoided fighters and current IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence.
“There’s no one else that excites me enough, that motivates me and that can challenge me other than Errol Spence, and I’m willing to take that challenge, all the way up, because that’s the fight that will motivate me the most,” said Garcia at the post-fight press conference.
”I’m here to challenge myself. He is the best. He might feel that it’s an easy fight for him, that I’m too small, and that’s fine. Let’s get in the ring and let’s go to work.”
That is the biggest challenge possible. Forgoing further lightweight unification with Lomachenko, if this proposed dream bout against Spence manifests into fruition, this would be the third weight division and third championship bout of the year for Garcia.
“I’m not going to wait around for Lomachenko. I want Errol Spence, bigger threat but bigger reward,” said Garcia. “No one has beat 3 undefeated champions in 3 divisions within 9 months that excites me.”
Not only is this pound-for-pound territory, Garcia would be entering Henry Armstrong like territory.
If Garcia is able to pull of the monumental upset and slay the proverbial monster and one of boxing’s top avoided boogeymen, Garcia without question establishes himself as the best fighter pound-for-pound.