Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum has his sights set on a Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28 KO) vs. Manny Pacquiao clash down the road, but Garcia would be wise not to look past his next opponent.
On Saturday night from Madison Square Garden Theater in New York, Garcia will defend his WBO Super Featherweight title against the dangerous Juan Carlos "Miniburgos" Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KO).
The 26-year-old Garcia is one of the best and brightest young champions in the sport. Most recently he stopped Roman Martinez in November 2013 to win the WBO crown.
Burgos is just 26 himself.
He'll be making his second attempt at winning the WBO title. He drew with Martinez in January 2013 in a fight many people believed he won. The way both men punch, it's unlikely we see a draw as the result in this one.
On the undercard, heavyweights Artur Szpilka and Bryant Jennings will do battle in their HBO debuts.
Here's a preview and the information needed to watch the action.
When: Saturday, Jan. 25, at 9:45 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden Theater in New York
The Book on Garcia
[2014 could be] very big for [Garcia], very big for him because it’s going to be a breakout year for him. We’re looking for him to go up in weight. We’re looking for him to get him in a position where he would be an opponent for Pacquiao.
It's a fight that makes sense for several reasons. Garcia is fighting at 130 pounds currently. The division is devoid of the big names that will enable Garcia to maximize his earning potential.
Also, Garcia has had issues making weight in the past. While jumping two weight classes to battle Pacquiao at 147 pounds might seem like a bit much, it may not be as big of a deal for Garcia.
Lastly, Pacquiao's contract is set to end with Top Rank in 2015. If Arum believes there is a chance Pacquiao may leave him to chase a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., he could be trying to get as many big paydays out of Pacquiao as possible before he bolts.
As a fan, I would like to see Pacquiao versus Mayweather. That's a fight that everyone has wanted the last five, six, seven years, it never happened, maybe never will. For business, no I don't want them to fight, because I think Mayweather beats Pacquiao, and that makes a Pacquiao-Mikey Garcia fight less interesting.
I want to be able to fight Pacquiao when he's on a winning streak. If Manny fights Timothy Bradley, who knows what could happen? Bradley is on a winning streak, he looked sensational in his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. If Manny does fight Bradley and loses, we might still get him, but there might not be the same interest.
Sounds like Garcia doesn't think much of Pacquaio right now. Perhaps that means he believes he's an easy mark and stepping stone to the next level of the sport.
With these best-laid plans in front of him, Garcia could be running into a trap in New York if he isn't careful. Burgos is no pushover. Garcia must be on his square if he hopes to keep Arum's master plan intact.
The Book on Burgos
Some might consider Burgos a bit unlucky. His last two fights have ended in draws, and of course, a case could be made that Burgos deserved the decision in both instances.
The fight against Martinez sticks out even more than the most recent tie against Yakubu Amidu in July 2013. Here's a look at that bout:
After two disappointing decisions, Burgos may be looking to make sure he doesn't need the judges to decide this bout.
During a media workout and interview with Thompson Boxing, Burgos was asked about Garcia's big plans. He responded by saying:
"I know they are talking about him, but it is not a reality. He is not there yet. Pacquiao? Gamboa? He is not there yet. He has a long way to go."
Burgos was asked if he'd be interested in facing those same opponents. With a little less confidence, he replied:
"I would like to face them, but I am a realist and I have a long way to go. I am still maturing as a fighter. I am still a young fighter and I have a lot to learn."
Miniburgos will be hoping to teach a lesson on Saturday, as opposed to learning one. It may sound as if he isn't impressed with Garcia as a fighter, but that isn't the case. Tim Smith of The Ring magazine reports:
Burgos is more than aware of what the undefeated champion Garcia of Oxnard, Calif., brings to the table. He saw him dismantle Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight title on the same card where he came up with a draw against Martinez. Later he saw Garcia demolish Martinez to win the junior lightweight title. Burgos believes he’s more than ready to handle whatever Garcia throws at him.
He'll need to be.
Burgos is a relentless body puncher who throws excellent combinations. It's a mystery as to why he hasn't captured a world title yet.
He'll without question be the best fighter Garcia has faced—yes, even better than Orlando Salido. This fight could wind up much more competitive than people expect.
Garcia impressed in his fight with Martinez, not just because he won by KO, but also because he was dropped and responded. Seeing the way he came back after facing a bit of adversity was the next step in his maturation as a fighter.
Garcia will win the fight on the power of his sharp left hook and overall punching power. Burgos may have a few bright spots in the fight, but he won't derail the Garcia train. Mikey will become the first man to stop Miniburgos.
He wins it by seventh-round TKO.
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