Is lightweight world titleholder Mikey Garcia on a path to become the next cash cow of boxing.
Garcia (38-0, 30 KO's), a former three-division world champion, has been brilliant, for the most part, in how he has handled his career. When the 30-year-old sees an opportunity, he exploits it.
Garcia previously fought under the Top Rank banner, but sued the company in 2014 because he was unhappy with his purses. Unfortunately for Garcia, Top Rank stood their ground, and as a result, he was out of the ring for two years while both parties fought it out.
Garcia, who had won world titles at 126-pounds and 130-pounds before his hiatus, returned to the ring as a super lightweight in July 2016, when he knocked down Elio Rojas twice en-route to a fifth-round stoppage. But his initial stay at 140-pounds was a short one, as he saw an opportunity to snag a world title.
Then, Garcia went to the lightweight division to challenge new WBC beltholder Dejan Zlaticanin. The January 2017 bout ended with Zlaticanin, boxing's only world champion from Montenegro knocked out cold after a spectacular third-round knockout from a Garcia straight right hand. Moreover, Zlaticanin was previously undefeated, and had never been knocked down.
But rather than defend the belt, Garcia jumped at the opportunity for a major fight against former four-division titlist Adrien Broner, whom he easily outpointed the following July.
After a tough unanimous decision victory over Sergey Lipinets to win the IBF super lightweight world title in March, Garcia has since vacated the belt, and is expected to face Robert Easter in a lightweight unification fight on July 28 in Los Angeles according to multiple reports.
Garcia is also reportedly in negotiations to sign with UFC president Dana White and his new Zuffa Boxing Promotions. If he inks a deal with White, it could be harder for fighters from other promotions to get in the ring with him, but on the other hand, Garcia has significantly benefitted from not being under the thumb of a promoter.
If Garcia were still fighting for Bob Arum, he probably would not have had as many opportunities to land some of the fights that he has. Additionally, his current management team has been a tremendous help.
Garcia takes calculated risks. Some fans do not like the lowest risk - highest reward, businessman approach. But from a fighters' standpoint, if your goal is having a long, healthy career, that is the kind of approach you have to take. Taking on a world beater in every fight is bound to catch up to you eventually, and there is no shame in taking an "easy fight" here and there. Every fighter has done it, from Muhammad Ali to Floyd Mayweather.
Not many fighters in the modern era are willing to move around different divisions as regularly as Garcia has, and that makes him unique. That should give him a reputation of a man who is willing to fight anyone at any weight class.
As long as he keeps winning, Garcia has a chance to become the new cash cow of boxing. But there's one fight in the way of the potential accolades, and that is a bout with three-division world champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO's), a 30-year-old former duel Olympic gold medalist hailing from Ukraine, recently stopped Jorge Linares to win the WBA lightweight world title last Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
"Lomachenko did good, beat a solid world champion at 135 [pounds]," Garcia texted the Los Angeles Times. "I would love a fight with him. Hope we can make it in the near future."
Lomachenko likely presents the biggest threat to Garcia on multiple levels, but not just in the ring.
Garcia's bout against Lipinets drew 7,800 fans at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, while Loma-Linares had 10,400. This number will likely come up at a future meeting, and the purse split for this potential scrap is going to be a hot topic.
The quest for cash cow supremacy is in order for Garcia, but he has to do two things. Keep winning, and beat Lomachenko. However, it could be a few years before this fight is made. But when it happens, it will likely be a pay-per-view, and one of the most intriguing matchups of the last decade.