Garcia & Lipinets Media Call

By Caryn A. Tate on February 26, 2018
Garcia & Lipinets Media Call
“He can box. He can time and counter. So there’s more to Lipinets than just the power.”

WBC lightweight world champion Mikey Garcia is moving up in weight to challenge IBF super lightweight world titlist Sergey Lipinets…

On Saturday, March 10, WBC lightweight world champion Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) is moving up in weight to challenge IBF super lightweight world titlist Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) on Showtime. The event will be televised live beginning at 10:15pm ET/7:15pm PT, from the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas.

The bout was rescheduled from February 10 due to a hand injury sustained by the champion. When asked about it during the call, Lipinets stated (through the translation of his manager, Alex Vaysfeld), “My hand feels like a brand new hand. You’ll see it in action March 10.”

The Texas athletic commission doctor is the one who examined Lipinets’ hand after the injury occurred and advised the Kazakhstan-born fighter to rest it for a month. At his urging, the bout was postponed to the current date of March 10. Per the translation from Lipinets’ manager, “He believes that winning this fight is the only way to make a statement. Even winning the title, he didn’t really feel like a champ because he didn’t really fight a guy who was at the top of the game. No offense to Mr. Kondo, but [Lipinets] can’t wait till he shows his skills and proves to himself first, and then everybody else, that he belongs at the top of the food chain.”

Lipinets’ trainer, former world champion fighter Buddy McGirt, spoke about the upcoming bout. “I think it’s a great fight for boxing,” he said. “I think Mikey took on a big challenge, as well as we have. In boxing, the best should always fight the best. Here’s a fight that didn’t take long to make, and I’m happy to be part of it.

“As far as everything else goes, I just have three words: just wait and watch.”

Robert Garcia, Mikey’s brother and head coach, said, “It’s a big fight for both fighters, so we definitely took this fight very seriously. Even though it got postponed to a month later, we continued our training and sparring. So we’re gonna be in good shape for this fight.”

Despite several members of the media asking Mikey about Lipinets (WBA world champion at lightweight) or a future of perhaps competing at welterweight, Garcia repeatedly addressed that he is not looking past Lipinets. “I can’t take Lipinets lightly at all. I know he’s a tough, determined champion and this is a huge opportunity for him. If he were to beat me, the sky’s the limit for him. But I’m focusing on winning—I believe my skills and my boxing ability are greater than what he brings.”

When asked about Lipinets’ comparatively slimmer professional experience, Garcia said, “I don’t think experience is the difference here. I think he has a lot of experience as an amateur, and then even moving up the ranks as a pro—to be champion in only 13 fights tells you the caliber of fighter that he is. It took me 30 fights to get a title—it only took him 13. So it definitely tells you he’s champion material and experienced enough to be there.

“I think the deciding factor and what will allow me to prevail is my boxing ability: my speed, my footwork, my timing. The boxing skills that I possess I think are greater and that’s gonna help me win the fight.”

At one stage, Mikey was asked if he is done fighting at the lightweight division. Garcia responded in no uncertain terms.

“No, I am not done at 135. And unless you guys just don’t include the entire quote, when I do mention moving up to 147, I always mention that I do want to come back to 135 after this fight with Lipinets and unify the titles there, before officially leaving the division. The plan is to fight this fight first, take care of business on the 10th, then I will look at my options. But I do want to do a unification match at lightweight and eventually make my way up to 147, maybe even by the end of this year—if not, then next year for sure. That’s a rich division with huge names, huge fights that I want to be part of.”

The conversation became lengthy at one point regarding the prospect of Mikey moving up to welterweight or fighting Linares down the line. Lipinets’ team didn’t appreciate the sense of disrespect at some members of the media overlooking Sergey and the challenge he poses for Garcia.

“Excuse me,” Buddy McGirt broke in. “Can we talk about Mikey and Sergey?”

Lipinets addressed the consistent disregard that has been thrown his way leading up to this fight with Garcia. “The fact that everybody’s talking about Mikey talking about fighting this guy or that guy—it really doesn’t matter to Sergey. If anything, it motivates him even more. As far as looking for some other fights after, he’s stated on his Twitter, he’s not looking past Mikey. There is nothing he’s thinking about but Mikey’s fight. When that fight actually occurs and when he comes out the way he’s gonna come out of that ring, then he’ll start talking about future opponents. Of course he wants to fight the best. He’s looking for a challenge all the time, but first things first. March 10th: Mikey Garcia.”

Garcia addressed his thoughts on Lipinets’ last bout versus Akihiro Kondo in November. “I saw another side of Lipinets. He can box. He can use defense, he can time and counter. So there’s more to Lipinets than just the power. More than just the right hand. So those are things I have to be aware of, and be cautious about. That’s why he is a world champion, so I respect him, I give him the credit for being the champion with only 13 fights. Taking on a fight against me shows his heart and determination.”

Mikey also addressed which weight division he feels most comfortable in. “I’m all about taking on bigger challenges, and that’s why we’re taking on Sergey Lipinets. I got a good feel for 140 pounds when I fought Adrien Broner last summer, and I felt good—I felt comfortable in that weight class and that’s why we’re taking on Lipinets this time. I still feel comfortable enough to fight at junior welterweight. Sergey is a strong, natural 140-pounder but I feel comfortable being here.

“I’m open to fighting anybody that presents a challenge, and Sergey definitely does that right now. That’s why we took this fight.”

Mikey also spoke on the risk of losing in this bout. “Of course I understand the risk, what the cost would be if I were to be beaten by Lipinets. All my plans would be tossed out the window, and I wouldn’t be able to do anything that I plan on doing in my future. That’s why I take this fight very serious—I worked very hard, never took a break, and I’m very focused and determined on winning this fight because this fight will open the doors that I’m talking about. That’s why I have to take Lipinets extremely serious—I can’t overlook him at all.”

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