Garcia may have options with a win over Burgos Saturday night in New York

Rich Mancuso

Mikey Garcia will not look beyond Saturday night when he defends the WBO Junior Lightweight title against Juan Carlos Burgos at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He headlines the Top Rank HBO telecast and will be the center of attention.

Garcia is in a division that gets attention. But there is always speculation of moving up in weight because of his ability and potential to be this continuing and rising star in the sport.

“Hopefully things turn out well and we can move forward with our plans,” he said this week after arriving in frigid New York. He will highlight the first boxing show of the year in the Garden Theatre adjacent to the arena where he defeated Orlando Salido last January for the WBO featherweight title.

That was his debut in New York, and it was a memorable fight. Salido hit the canvas twice in the first round and again in the third and fourth rounds. Later in the eighth round, there was an accidental head butt and Garcia sustained a broken nose.

For now, Garcia continues to address questions about moving up. There are also inquiries about possibly moving up more to face Manny Pacquiao.

“I would have to make a fight at 135 before moving up to 140,” he says. “I feel that 135 would be a very good division for me and I think I can do something in the lightweight division.”

On the scales Friday afternoon, Garcia weighed in easily at 129.2. Again he had a rigorous training camp but had no struggles making weight. Of course, when the bell rings late Saturday night, as is the case with most fighters, he will come into the ring much heavier.

And the added pounds never seem to hinder Garcia. He seems to get more power with added weight and that is why the recurring questions arise about moving up and taking on bigger fights. Not that this fight has no value. Burgos is a quality challenge to his title and he is not looking ahead.

The promoter, Bob Arum, of Top Rank also will say that Garcia has that ability to be a top ten fighter. The 26-year old Garcia, 33-0, 29 KO’s, from Oxnard California is making the division viable. There are opponents waiting in the wings if he prevails over Burgos.

“He is a powerful puncher and when he throws his punches it is with great intent,” commented Arum about Garcia. “In other words he does not waste a lot of punches.  He measures his opponents. He is a complete fighter and getting better.”

Burgos, 30-1, 20 KO’s, the native of Tijuana Mexico is that viable opponent and capable of taking the title.

“I will let him come to me and take it from there,” says Burgos who has a height advantage over the champion and is coming off  two split division draws that could have went his way. So the natural instinct will be to take care of business and go for the knockout.

To that Burgos said, “I don’t think about that. Like most fighters in the world today I let him come to me and see what happens. I am just going out there to do my work and to put everything into play that I have practiced.”

Time will tell what the future holds for Garcia. Arum can provide the answer and his fighter has no quarrel about the plan. Saturday night will be another test and with boxing crying for more super stars, Garcia could be in that plan.

“A lot can happen so we go one fight at a time,” says Arum. “Whether he goes up, stays at 130… that’s going to depend on what’s happening in boxing.”  And of course a lot depends on what happens at Madison Square Garden Saturday night.

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