Bob Arum doesn’t think Mikey Garcia is ready for Manny Pacquiao just yet; reveals why a Gamboa fight makes more sense

Mikey Garcia in the ring on Jan. 25 handling business vs. Juan Carlos Burgos (Photo: Chris Farina – Top Rank)


By Chris Robinson

As his company moves forward, Bob Arum continues to recognize the role that WBO junior lightweight champion Mikey Garcia will play for Top Rank in the coming years.

Sporting a 34-0 record with 28 knockouts and coming off of another dominant victory, this one over former title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos on HBO on Jan. 25, the 26-year old Garcia’s stock continues to rise.

Reflecting back on the Burgos win, a match that saw Garcia overcome a rocky second round before regrouping and cruising towards a unanimous decision, Arum admits that there are still lessons being learned.

“It’s very tough to fight a very good opponent when he doesn’t want to engage and for the first three rounds I found it to be a very exciting fight,” Arum stated. “Garcia got stung in the second round and then he came back and really hurt Burgos in the third round. Burgos was safety-first for the rest of the nine rounds.

“I think that Mikey has to understand that if he’s going to be a superstar, that when his opponent goes into that defensive mood, that he can’t take the bait and just win the rounds,” Arum added. “He’s got to go out and search and destroy.”

Arum has been playing with the idea of Garcia moving up in weight and facing eight-division titlist Manny Pacquiao in the coming years in a big pay per view match. It’s an attractive encounter for the future but Arum realizes that he can’t rush such a scenario and instead looks at Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa as a far more ideal opponent for now.

“Certainly not off his performance against Burgos,” Arum explained. “But we’re optimistic that as he steps up and fights guys like Gamboa and is successful, that Garcia is a possibility.

Arum affirmed that Top Rank president Todd duBoef is in talks with HBO to stage Garcia vs. Gamboa on May 17 inside of the Forum in Los Angeles and revealed why Yuriorkis is still dangerous.

“A fighter like Gamboa is a threat to everyone, because he is an extraordinarily talented,” Arum continued. “But that’s what boxing is about. Where Gamboa’s head is, even if I was with him, I couldn’t tell you.”

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