Mikey Garcia isn’t one to waste words, so when you hear him say that 2014 is going to be his year, you may want to start taking the hard puching Super Featherweight champion seriously. The 26-year-old Oxnard, California product wants to be the best and takes no shortcuts in attaining that status. Garcia, (33-0 28KO), will once again try to claim his place among boxings top 10 pound-for-pound when he faces off against Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-2 20KO), for the WBO Super Featherweight Championship on January 25 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden and broadcast on HBO.
Garcia sat down with BlackSportsOnline to talk about his move up to 130-135 pounds, being the best in the world, his future and whether or not that includes a mega-fight with one Manny Pacquiao at some point this year.
BSO: Your back in New York, fighting at Madison Square Garden. You have California roots, but you seem to love and emjoy fighting in New York, and more specifically, Madison Square Garden. Can you tell us what MSG means to you, and the excitement you get from the Garden.
MG: I’m happy to be back. It was a great fight last time I was here at The Garden and I am looking forward to this opponent who is in front of me. I know he will be difficult – he has had great accomplishments in the boxing ring. After his last fight a lot of people felt he should bechampion. It’s going to be a good fight and it’s going to be a great card. There are some really good fighters and Burgos and I are going to put on a great show for the fans. It’s really important for me to fight on the east coast and in New York. This is a real big boxing venue with big fights. Really Historic fights have taken place there and I just want to make sure the fans see a good show and remember watching me fight in that arena. They are real boxing fans there. They are not just there to watch the main event. They are there to watch the whole night of boxing. That’s what is great about being in New York. And boxing is alive and it’s great and I am really happy to be back.
BSO: How is your training camp going. We spoke about two months ago and you were feeling good. You won your last fight of course, and then turned around pretty quickly to take this bout with Burgos. How are you feeling?
MG: We feel good. Training camps going very well. We are working very hard, and we always work very hard. We had great sparring, great training. I couldn’t be more satisfied with my work.
BSO: What are your thoughts on your opponent, Juan Carlos-Burgos. He’s talented, and some feel like he should be champion. What are you thoughts?
MG: I think he’s a very good fighter. He’s going to make things difficult for me, and I know that he’s going to try and make it a different fight than some people expect. Some people are giving him no chance. I think that can only motivate him. It’s going to be a better fight for the fans. I’m in really good shape. I’ve covered every scenario, every gameplan that we can think of, and I plan to come out on top.
BSO: What are your plans for the Junior Lightweight division? Would you like to stay there, or will you bounce back and forth?
MG: I thought about bouncing up and down. We need to make sure that the fights are available. If I do move up to Lightweight, am I able to come back down to 130 and still defend my title. It has to be the right guys you know. We’d have to look at the top fighters in the next weight class and if I do that I have to grow into the weight class. I would like to unify the titles before moving up but if there is something better at 135 then I will go there. Then I can unify the titles there or move up to 140 if the right fight is there or what options are available. It’s not easy to put a fight together and in this business you’ve got to look at everything before you can move up in weight class. I can’t move up in weight class, and then move back down to take a fight that’s not even interesting anymore. I would have to make a fight at 135 before moving up to 140. I feel that 135 would be a very good division for me and I think I can do something in the lightweight division.
BSO: What are your feelings on the pound-for-pound best list? And do you feel that you are one of the 10 best boxers in the world?
MG: None of that affects me or bothers me. I don’t get into that as much as some people may think. Everybody has their list or their numbers where they want to rank us as boxers. I go out to do my job one fight at a time and that’s all I focus on.
BSO: Their has been loud conversation about Alex Ariza and his tactics as a trainer. What are your feelings on Ariza and how has it been with him in your corner for this camp and the forseeable future?
MG: I think it’s been a great experience working with him. I think he’s the best. He knows what he’s doing. It makes it a lot easier for me. If having him around helps me perform, than thats how I feel. I feel better when he’s around. So I’m not going to change it. Other people can criticize him, or find negative things to say. I’m going to keep using him so I can be a better fighter.
BSO: To Stay on that topic. Manny Pacquiao defeated your stable-mate Brandon Rios a few months back. Pacquiao is back in the eyes of many. Can you see that matchup with him looming in the near future?
MG: Yea we can definitely do it. It will have to be down the road, when I feel like I’m ready. I want to be ready to be able to challenge a guy like himself at the weight class that he’s at. I want to build muscle mass and the proper amount of weight. Right now, I’m 2-3 weight classes below him.
BSO: The last time we spoke, you gave your opinion about Maidana-Broner before the fight happened. We saw the fight, know the result. There’s a rematch scheduled to happen. What are your feelings on your stable-mate and his rematch with “The Problem?”
MG: It won’t be a problem at all. Broner wants he because he feels he needs to prove himself. He thinks he can beat Maidana. I think Maidana will crush him again. Broner we will a couple of rounds here and there. Once he feels the power, it’s going to be curtains.
Here is a video of Mikey Garcia’s greatest hits for our readers.