By Joshua “City” Brewer
One sure fired way to get fans in the stands and make other boxers take notice is to make a statement. Mike Garcia, 36-0, 30 KO’s, did just that when knocked out Dijan Zlaticanin, 22-1, 15 KO’s, in the 3rd round of their January 28th matchup. Zlaticanin remained out cold on the canvas for over a minute but eventually came to his senses. Being the class act that he is, Garcia refrained from celebrating in order to ensure that Zlaticanin recovered. Garcia picked up the World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight title that Zlaticanin was defending for the first time.
Garcia was stoic from the start. He did an excellent job of maintaining distance utilizing a precision jab and constantly landed the right-hand straight. Zlaticanin was a game fighter constantly trying to move to the inside but Garcia’s height and reach advantage was apparent. That being said, a height and reach advantage works best when properly utilized, and Garcia is a master of using his reach for controlling distance.
Boxing has seen many Mexican/Mexican-American fighters over the years who’ve been great. Often times, they have a high-volume, pressure fighting style. Garcia is the complete opposite. He’s more of a counter puncher who relies on excellent distance and timing. He’s one that is never lured into a brawl and is keen on maintaining composer and sticking with his game plan. His fighting style very much fits his personality.
This was Garcia’s second fight after a lengthy two-year layoff tied to promotional issues and considerations of whether he wanted to continue fighting. The latter is no question at this point, the boxing world truly welcomes Garcia back. He’s now made a mark at lightweight, 135 pounds, only five pounds above junior lightweight, 130 pounds, a division that is currently ruled by Vasyl Lomachenko, 7-1, 5 KO’s. This brings me to my next point, a fight between Mikey Garcia and Vasyl Lomachenko is probably the best fight that can be made between the two divisions at this point and is also one of best fights that can be make in boxing, period.
I previously wrote an article detailing how great a match between Vasyl Lomachenko Vs Terence Crawford would be. This fight seems less and less likely to ever happen as each day goes by. The beauty of boxing is that regardless of a single fighter or fight, the show goes on. The most formidable foe for both Garcia and Lomachenko would be the two fighting each other, though I wouldn’t mind seeing Garcia Vs Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters though we don’t know what the future holds for Walters at the current moment. Also, a fight between Garcia and Jorge Linares could make for an exciting fight. Anyway, I have no doubt that Lomachenko would bring out the very best of Garcia just as Garcia would bring out the best Lomachenko.
The most compelling ‘Common Opponent’ that the two fighters share is Orlando Salido. Salido won a decision over Lomachenko in his second fight. Salido used every tactic in his arsenal, legal and illegal, to pull the victory off but showed that Lomachenko can be beat. Garcia defeated Salido via ninth round technical decision after the fight went to the scorecards due to Garcia suffering a broken nose from an accidental headbutt. Garcia was ahead in the fight, obviously, but Salido was still coming forward with non-stop aggression, per his style.
Garcia Vs Lomachenko would be compelling in viewing how their style contrasts would mesh. As mentioned, Garcia has a patient, counter-punching style that’s precise and effective. Lomachenko on the the other hand is in a class of his own when it comes to transitioning in the ring. He stays on his feet and is almost never in one position for more than a second. He’s perfected an amateur based style and made it both exciting and detracting at the same time. He moves so well that it’s a sight to see, yet his opponents almost never have the opportunity to land a clean shot on him, which detracts from some viewers. I truly appreciate Lomachenko’s style and action just as I do Garcia’s.
Regardless of thoughts, these two would put on an excellent fight. Neither is the type to lie down and would surely do what it takes to win the fight in convincing fashion if matched. I presume that Lomachenko would be the opening favorite should this fight take place. Thus far, Lomachenko has made many promising fighters look average. Garcia has shown that he’s one of the best fighters in or around 130 pounds. No fight was ever solved on paper, so the only way to get an outcome is for them to step in the ring. Now, it’s up to the fans to call for this fight and make it happen.Contact the Feature Writers