Mikey Garcia expresses interest in bouts with Yuriorkis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez while giving Donaire the edge over Rigondeaux

Recently-crowned WBO featherweight champion Mikey Garcia in Southgate, California last month (Photo credit: Chris Robinson – HustleBoss.com)

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Still less than two months removed from the biggest victory of his career and WBO featherweight champion Mikey Garcia already seems to be eager for another big fight.

On January 19th in New York, Garcia was scintillating as he dropped then champion Orlando Salido four times on his way towards a technical decision victory after eight heats. The fight went to the scorecards early, as a ringside physician deemed that a broken nose from Garcia courtesy of an accidental head butt from Salido left him in no shape to continue.

I caught up with Garcia recently to discuss some action taking place near his weight class, including his thoughts on matches with Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa in particular.

Garcia also weighed in on the performance on one of the division’s hottest prospects, Gary Russell Jr., who carved out a commanding 10-round decision on Saturday night over Russia’s Vyacheslav Gusev.

Also on the dais during our discussion was Garcia’s breakdown of the April 13th Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux junior featherweight unification tilt.

This is what Mikey had to share…

Feeling like a champion after defeating Orlando Salido…
“I feel good that people finally get to see more out of me. The fight itself, I was able to show more of what I am capable of doing. All these fans, that’s great. I told them recently that’s what makes me feel like a champion. I’ve got so many fans and people from all over the world, and that’s what makes it nice. I just needed that title to make it official. I felt like I was a champion before the fight; I just needed to prove it.”

Sticking to his game plan…
“I always thought the fight would be a little harder in the first few rounds. But I felt like if I stuck to my game plan, I would make it easy. I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy from the beginning. I was expecting it to be a little harder in the beginning. But I caught him early on and he wasn’t able to recover or change game plans or anything.”

Whether or not he could have continued following the 8th round after a broken nose following an accidental head butt from Salido…
“I could have fought on. The doctor decided to stop the fight, because it’s an injury and they said it was too risky to keep going. If they had called it a punch, I would have had to continue. I wasn’t going to let the fight go with an accidental head butt. I was not going to let that happen. The referee thought it was too dangerous to continue, along with both doctors. They decided to stop the fight. I offered a rematch with him. I told him I would get him a rematch if he wants it and he said he wants to move up in weight.”

Having interest in a match with Cuban stalwart Yuriorkis Gamboa…
“It’s up to my manager Cameron Dunkin, my promoter Bob Arum, Top Rank. They are the ones who are willing to decide. I’m willing to fight anybody. I would really like a fight with Gamboa. I think that would skyrocket me to the very top of the world in boxing. But if it’s not that, it’s fine. It’s up to my manager and promoter.”

Seeing Gamboa dropped and rocked in his bout with Michael Farenas in December…
“He’s been dropped before in his career. It’s not something that is new. He goes down a few times and gets up and wins the fight. That’s nothing to him. I think it’s pretty much common to see that with him.”

Favoring Nonito Donaire over Guillermo Rigondeaux…
“I think Donaire’s got tremendous skills. He’s proven it by beating champion after champion after champion. Rigondeaux is a really good fighter; really fast, heavy-handed. You’re going to have to see if he’s really got the goods like he says. Donaire’s proved it many times. And I feel that Donaire is just going to out-box him. It’s going to be a chess game early on, but eventually Donaire’s going to pick him apart.”

Gary Russell’s performance against Vyacheslav Gusev…
“He looked good. Used his right a lot; jab and right hooks. [He] had speed. He did the adjustments that were needed after he hurt his hand. He did what he needed to do to win.”

How to fight and beat a guy like Russell…
“You got to use what you have. You can either apply a lot of pressure or time him to catch him in an exchange.”

More than willing to face Juan Manuel Lopez in the near future…
“I’ll fight him, even at 130. I’ll beat him with skills and technique. I didn’t see his last fight so I don’t know how he looked. He may need a fight or two to get the rust off.”

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Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com and www.HustleBoss.com


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