Junior lightweight champion Mikey Garcia has informed the WBO that he will be vacating his WBO title.
Moving Up to 140 Pounds
According to WBO President Paco Valcarcel, Garcia informed the WBO of his decision through a letter which the organization received last Tuesday. Garcia wrote in the letter that he will no longer be fighting interim WBO junior lightweight champion Orlando Salido in a mandatory defense because he is still embroiled in a promotional dispute with Top Rank and that he is having difficulty making the 130-pound weight limit.
Garcia also wrote that he was planning to move to the 140 pound weight class and requested to be ranked at the 140-pound division. In doing so, Garcia will be effectively skipping the 135-pound weight class in favor of fighting in the talent laden junior welterweight division where the likes of Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner fight.
A Dominating Force
The 5-7 Garcia has been a dominant force in boxing’s featherweight and super featherweight division with his height and power.
Garcia took away Salido’s featherweight belt in January 2013 with an eight round punishment before capturing the junior lightweight belt with an impressive eight round TKO win over Roman “Rocky” Martinez in November 2013. Garcia defended the WBO 130-pound title with a lopsided decision win over Carlos Burgos last January 25th.
But an ongoing squabble with his promoter Top Rank has frozen him until this day. Garcia has already taken his promotional woes to the courts, suing Top Rank earlier this year. The 26-year old fighter from Oxnard, California is unbeaten in 34 fights and has knocked out 28 of his opponents.
Top Prospect Wasted?
Trained by his brother and 2012 Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia, Mikey Garcia is one of the top American boxing prospects today. His impressive run of beating top quality opposition since 2012 has made him the darling of the US boxing fans who have been accustomed to seeing him destroy his opponents in the ring.
Garcia was hoping to fight one more time before the end of the year, and was even looking at the prospect of taking on fellow Top Rank fighter Manny Pacquiao or setting up an explosive matchup against Yuriorkis Gamboa. But his disagreements with Top Rank have put him on the sidelines since January and it has become alarming. The boxing public certainly hopes that Mikey Garcia doesn’t end up like Andre Ward and James Kirkland who have wasted their prime years with contractual problems.