Hailing from the esteemed Garcia fight family, one of the hottest properties in world boxing, Mikey Garcia, attempts to become a three weight world champion when he challenges defending lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin for his WBC belt at the MGM Grand on 28th January.
Boxing has been robbed of one of its best stars in recent years with Mikey Garcia’s absence. He’s only had one fight in nearly three years due to promotional disputes but he showed no signs of any ringrust when he finally got back to doing hat he’s best at.
In his highly anticipated return in July of this year he had no problem in dispatching game contender Elio Rojas. It was a clinical display in which he stalked Rojas with an unforgiving intensity by cutting off the ring and landing clinical shots.
His distance control is one of his big strengths. He applies pressure simply by controlling the distance and when his opponents feel the constant sense of threat it encourages them to exchange. Mikey Garcia is not the type of fighter you want to be standing and trading with.
Few fighter’s have been able to stand up to his power. Add to the power his excellent fundamentals and you have the raw ingredients that make a top fighter.
He is already a two weight world champion having scooped up world titles at featherweight and superfeatherweight and physically he still looks big enough up at lightweight.
He is yet to prove that he carries the devastating power at lightweight as he has only boxed Rojas at the weight who is not the biggest or strongest of punchers. However he didn’t find it a breeze to make the superfeatherweight limit so it would suggest he will still pack plenty of punch.
At 35-0 with 29 of his wins coming via way of knockout many in the boxing fraternity believe that it would be him and not Venezuelan, Jorge Linares, who would be the number one ranked fighter in the 135lb division. It’s a potentially great unification fight between two fantastic fighters down the line.
Zlaticanin makes the first defence of his title which he won by knocking out Franklin Mamani. Standing at just 5ft 4 inches tall he is a busy, bustling front foot fighter who has learned how to fight supremely well on the inside. His trademark hooks to the body and looping overhands have left many opponents unable to continue.
He also has a notable win over Ricky Burns in Scotland. Burns is a very good boxer and you would have expected him to be able to keep him at range but the Scot lacked the power to keep Dejan cautious. Therein lies the difference with Garcia who I believe does possess the power to keep the Montenegro dynamo from wading in.
Garcia will have a big reach advantage of at least 3 inches in this fight. I think he is just too well equipped and mentally astute to entertain Zlaticanin on the inside. With former trainer of the year, Robert Garcia, in his corner I don’t believe he will give him this sort of opportunity. Dejan’s power should serve to keep his senses razor sharp.