Mikey Garcia was in a much tougher fight than expected, but he still looked incredible, dropping Sergey Lipinets in the seventh round en-route to a unanimous decision victory, and won the IBF super lightweight championship -- his fourth world title in as many weight classes.
“Winning this fourth world title in a fourth weight class, to be mentioned along with fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, is a great honor,” Garcia, who also holds the WBC lightweight title, said during his post-fight interview.
“[Lipinets] came in exactly as I expected, ]he is] very determined, strong fighter. We knew he was going to be there for a long time, he’s very dangerous. I know I carry power, but I’m fighting bigger men now, and they take a good punch.”
Garcia (38-0, 30 KO's), 30, of Moreno Valley, California, fought a smart fight from the opening bell, countering Lipinets effectively with the jab.
Lipinets (13-1, 10 KO's), a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Beverly Hills, was a huge underdog, but put up a great effort, connecting with hard jabs to the head of Garcia, and straight right hands to the body.
After a mediocre performance against Akihiro Kondo last November to win the belt, many expected Garcia to win the fight handily, but it was anything but easy.
The 28-year-old Lipinets was connecting with hard jabs early, and Garcia was bleeding from the nose for much of the fight after taking a shot in the third round.
However, the fundamentals of Garcia, a boxer-puncher, and a masterful counter puncher, took over the fight. Even when he was against the ropes or boxing off the backfoot, Garcia was landing the more effective punches.
Garcia dropped Lipinets with a beautiful counter left hook in the seventh round. It was the first time that Lipinets had ever tasted the canvas.
“I think experience just took over at some point,” Lipinets said through a translator.
“It’s a learning experience. I’ll go back and work on the flaws I showed tonight and come back better.”
After tonight, Garcia would be wise not to consider a move up to the 147-pound division, but once he settles on one weight class, we should have a better indication as to where he will go next.
The more he fights as a super lightweight, the sooner we will see him at welterweight.
“I have options,” Garcia said. “I can drop down to 135 pounds and unify, which I really want to do, then come back up and unify at 140 pounds, and eventually go up to welterweight.”