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Breakout Year for 'Mikey' Garcia?

By Steve Kim
(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)

Miguel “Mikey” Garcia takes on Joksan Hernandez as the opening bout, this Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas; on the premiere edition of “Top Rank Live” on Fox Sports Net/Espanol. At 18-0 with 15 stoppages to his credit, Garcia is poised to have a breakout year. One that sees him make the transformation from a bright young prospect into a bona-fide contender.

"I hope so, I really hope so. I hope this year brings bigger and better things for me, brings me up to the next level in my career and gives me that exposure and that recognition and knowledge for the next step. I hope 2010 is a great year for me," said the talented 22-year old featherweight from Oxnard, California.


Garcia, is a gifted offensive fighter, who packs power in both hands and throws sharp, accurate punches. He has been guided by Top Rank and managed under the watchful eye of respected manager, Cameron Dunkin. An equation that has bred a multitude of world champions.

"We’ve taken it step by step.. We haven’t tried to rush things," Garcia said of his development. "We developed little by little. As I progress, the opponents give me little more of a challenge; different styles and different opponents. I think my management and my promoters have done a great job of trying to develop me into a good prospect."


In Hernandez, he seems to be facing a pretty formidable foe.


"Joksan Hernandez, he’s no bum, 17-1, it’s a step up fight and depending on what he does here, then we start putting him in the top ten and making a move. He’ll catch up to where Brandon Rios is now and he’ll make his step and by the end of the year, we can do a title fight for him," said Dunkin, earlier this week. Of Hernandez, Brad Goodman, matchmaker for Top Rank, tabbed him after the original opponent, Monty Meza-Clay pulled out. "Clay got hurt with a shoulder injury," he explained." [Hernandez] is just a tough, solid, Mexican. He just beat a very, very solid guy in Hector Velasquez. It’s definitely a step up for “Mikey” but I think, at this moment in time, he’s ready for it. He’s getting better and better every fight out."


Dunkin, who manages the likes of Kelly Pavlik, Nonito Donaire, Steven Luevano- all world champions- believes that Garcia has a high ceiling.


"He’s got a huge upside, he’s got so many things. Number one, he’s Hispanic and he can draw and people love the kid," he explained."But he’s so young and so fresh and he didn’t have a long amateur career. I mean, he’s going to be around for a long, long time."


Garcia, comes from good stock, he’s is from the first fighting family of Oxnard, California. His father, Eduardo, is best known for training Fernando Vargas and his brother, Robert, was a former 130-pound titlist during his run as a professional prizefighter.


"We definitely feel proud of our roots, my father being trainer for Robert when he was fighting and turned him into a world champion. My father trained Fernando Vargas, who also did great things in the sport. As a family we’ve always been in the sport and the neighborhood, everyone knows the Garcia family as the boxing family- and not that we’re the only boxing family- but we like that recognition as a boxing family," says Garcia, who works out of the famed La Colonia Gym."I like the fact that my family is involved and I love the sport. We just grew up in it."


And he just might be the best fighter the family produces.


Robert, who has now become a noted trainer, says, "Like my dad said, he’s my brother and I want him to be better than me. I want him to do what I wasn’t able to do. To do what a lot of world champions aren’t able to do. You can be a world champion but there’s that few that make it to that place in their career where they’re making millions where HBO wants to see them. Right now, what he’s doing, I can honestly tell you he will be better than me."


Not bad for a young man who was initially hesitant to join the family business.. As a child, he wanted to do anything but box.


"I think I’ve made the right choice. When I was younger, nine, ten, years old, I really didn’t have plans for my future; as far as a career for me," explained Garcia, who recently graduated from the Ventura County Police Academy. "I just wanted to be a kid and hang out with friends, bike riding and that’s about it. But as I started fighting in the amateurs and I started thinking maybe I could start this as a career and now I’m pretty good at it and I’m going to go for it all the way. I’m not going to regret anything. I feel that I’m doing the best I can. If I can do something with the sport, this will be the best choice I could’ve made.


"I think it is."




As 2010 gets rolling, Gary Shaw is putting the pieces together for his talented stable of fighters. Starting with WBO junior welterweight titlist, Timothy Bradley. Shaw is trying to make a unification fight versus WBA titlist, Amir Khan.

"I’ve been speaking with Frank Warren’s people almost daily and Amir Khan was in Pakistan, so it’s been a little difficult," Shaw told Maxboxing on Tuesday afternoon. "There’s a contractual disagreement, I believe Frank is working hard on re-signing Khan. So I think we’ll iron this all out by next week."


Should this come together, the fight would most likely take place in London on May 8th, according to Shaw. Despite what may have been floated out there, “The Desert Storm” was never seriously considered by Floyd Mayweather. "No. Never. I never got one call from Leonard Ellerbe or Al Haymon ever mentioning Tim Bradley to fight Floyd."


Then, there is Chad Dawson, who is slated to face WBC light heavyweight belt-holder Jean Pascal on June 19th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. "It does look like that’s going to happen. I’m meeting with Yvon Michel next week in New York city to finalize the deal," said Shaw, who confirmed that HBO would televise this affair.


Then there is Alfredo “Perro” Angulo, who could be the lead-off bout to an April 24th date that will most likely feature a heavyweight slugfest between Chris Arreola and Tomasz Adamek at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.


"We’re still working on it. That is the proposal right now. We’re trying to lock in Joel Julio," confirmed Shaw. "We’re waiting for that contract to come back. We’ve given them an offer; they have accepted verbally. We’re waiting for the contract and then see if we can make a deal with Goossen that makes sense to open up that fight on HBO."




It was announced on Tuesday morning that Jermain Taylor was pulling out of Showtime’s “Super Six” super middleweight scrum. He was slated to face Andre Ward on April 17th in Oakland, California. Sources say that the February 5th bout between Sakio Bika and Allan Green is essentially a “box-off” to see who takes Taylor’s spot in the modified round-robin.


Ward’s promoter, Dan Goossen, said of this development, "I just got the official word today like everybody else and I’ve had some conversations with Andre and his team. I’ve got more conversations scheduled this afternoon. I’m going to have to have some talks with Showtime because those are points that have been discussed."




Had a chance to talk to George Peterson, the manager/trainer of Paul Williams, who mentioned to me that they will most likely rematch Sergio Martinez sometime in April.


"That’s one of three fights we’re looking at," said Goossen, who promotes “The Punisher.” "Obviously, Bob Arum ran and took Kelly Pavlik with him, which was fine. Sergio Martinez, I had conversations with HBO the last week or so. And we’re also looking at bringing Paul down to 147."


And by “147,” he means, "Any of the viable fighters. Certainly Luis Collazo, or one of the champions, any of those fighters because, look, to me, it does kinda make me a little upset whenever I hear anybody tell me that Shane Mosley is the best welterweight out there and it kinda turns my stomach when I hear all these other welterweight champions. To me, Paul Williams is the best and biggest welterweight champion and if anyone says that I’m wrong, just please step up."




It was announced by Golden Boy Promotions that heavyweight John Ruiz has joined their stable. I think this greases the skids for a Ruiz-David Haye fight later this year...The welterweight scrap between the undefeated Luis Abregu and veteran Richard Gutierrez, which was to have been on the January 29th edition of ShoBox, will now instead lead off Showtime’s broadcast on February 6th before Edwin Valero and Antonio DeMarco battle it out for the WBC 135-pound belt. Abregu-Gutierrez is a pretty good scrap...Heavyweight Lateef “Power” Kayode’, 9-0 (8), has been added to the February 5th edition of ShoBox...Lightweight contender Urbano Antillon will make his return on February 27th against Luis Arceo on “Top Rank Live” on FSN. That night’s main event will feature welterweight prospect Mike Jones against Henry Bruseles...For all this talk of “The Steroids Era” being the worst thing ever for baseball, I contend that “The Black Sox scandal” and the 1994 work stoppage were much more damaging...Based on the recent NCAA problems that USC has encountered, is Lane Kiffin really the best choice to replace Pete Carroll? I’ll say this, he brings a great staff with him....Larry Merchant had some prior commitments, so he will not be on this week’s edition of “The Main Event”...But Joe Tessitore of ESPN2 is confirmed...Any questions or comments can be sent to


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