By Marc Livitz at ringside in San Antonio, TX: Mikey Garcia put on a superb performance on Saturday night in San Antonio as he claimed his fourth world title in as many divisions with a resounding unanimous decision win over Sergey Lipinets at the Freeman Coliseum.
The opening seconds of the IBF world junior welterweight championship bout saw both men a bit tense and wound up. They each took turns at throwing a left jab. Mikey (38-0, 30 KO’s) connected with a quick left hook up high and Lipinets threw rapid jabs back at him. Aggression levels were raised a bit in the second, as Sergey (13-1, 10 KO’s) continued to jab until Garcia took advantage of an opening with another left hook. He used his jab to set up a hard right to the head seconds later, which was a tactic he used a few more times in the round. Lipinets caught Garcia with a few shots up high as the third was underway, after which Mikey answered once again with the straight right. Sergey kept his left hand down by his waist, which allowed Garcia to connect with head shots.
Lipinets tried to go to the body early on in round four. Mikey’s high guard made it difficult for him to land the uppercut he threw his way. He absorbed a few shots until he fired back with great affect with more hard shots to the face. This delighted the crowd at the Freeman. Sergey developed a habit of dipping down low when Mikey landed his left jab, so this made it easier for Garcia to connect with his right hand. Garcia landed a hard, sweeping left hook up high a minute into the fifth, which momentarily put Lipinets off balance.
In the closing thirty to forty seconds, Sergey backed his Southern California opponent into a corner and fired away until Mikey fought his way out. Midway into round six, Lipinets was cautioned by referee Laurence Cole to keep his punches above the waistline. Garcia narrowly missed with a left uppercut that perhaps could have ended the night. Lipinets connected with a short left hook to the chin just before the bell.
The bout’s first knockdown arrived almost midway through the seventh. Sergey tried to push Mikey into a corner and he was caught flush with a perfectly timed, short left hook to the head. Ringside security had to keep Lipinets’s wife from getting too close to the ring. Sergey rose to his feet to continue. He tried as before to take the fight to Garcia with quick jabs and left hooks throughout the eighth round. Mikey was proving to be just too good thus far. He showed he had a chin as well. In the ninth, Lipinets connected with a short right hook, one of which Garcia simply shrugged off. With the bout down to three remaining periods, Mikey had pitched a near shutout thus far.
Sergey tried moving around a bit more to begin round ten and Mikey paid him with an overhand right for his troubles. Another rush inward from Lipinets was answered with a short left uppercut to keep him at bay. The Russian champion caught Mikey with a straight right to commence the eleventh. Garcia didn’t take the round off, but it may have been his least productive. It didn’t really matter because he’d figured Lipinets out perfectly.
Mikey raised his hands high to begin the last three minutes, which brought the crowd to a noticeable roar. Lipinets was able to get him into a corner and connect with successive head shots, but Garcia moved away when he was done. Mikey swung wide with a right, which allowed the soon-to-be former champion from Russia to land a short left. The bell sounded and Garcia once again held his hands in a victorious fashion.
Along with the knockdown, SecondsOut scored the contest 117-110 for Mikey Garcia.
Judge Mark Calo-oy turned in a score of 116-111, while Julie Lederman and Nelson Vazquez each scored it 117-110 to award the IBF junior welterweight title to Mikey Garcia, who’s now a four-division champion.
“It’s a great feeling and I’d like to thank everyone in San Antonio for their support,” said the new IBF junior welterweight champion. “Winning atitle in a fourth division is such an honor. To join the ranks for Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is just great.”
“He was very tough and determined,” he said of Lipinets. “We worked on my footwork and my jab because he’s a very dangerous fighter. The knockdown was when I landed right on the chin. I know that I carry a lot of power but I was fighting a very tough man. I had to be careful and patient. It’s nice to have all the options to either move up or down. I can go back down to 135 pounds and unify in that division. Then, I can come back to 140 and maybe even up to 147.”