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Mikey Garcia: 5 Opponents That Make Sense For New 4-Time World Champion

March 12,2018 07:14

On Saturday night in San Antonio at the Freeman Coliseum, Mikey Garcia captured his fourth world championship in as many divisions with a unanimous-decision victory over the tough Sergey Lipinets. Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME. Garcia - Lipinets ...and more »

Brian Mazique , Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

On Saturday night in San Antonio at the Freeman Coliseum, Mikey Garcia captured his fourth world championship in as many divisions with a unanimous-decision victory over the tough Sergey Lipinets.

Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Garcia - Lipinets

Garcia seemed to have no problem carrying his power up to the 140-pound class as he dropped Lipinets with a powerful left hook in the seventh round en route to winning the IBF crown. He also took some clean shots from Lipinets and never looked to be hurt. Without a question, Garcia did nothing to impugn the notion that he is one of the best fighters in the world.
The following five fighters would make for suitable opponents the next time he climbs into the ring.
Robert Easter Jr. 

BROOKLYN, NY - JANUARY 20: Robert Easter Jr (right) defeated Javier Fortuna (left) by split decision on Showtimes Championship Boxing card on January 20, 2018 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by Edward Diller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The 27-year-old, undefeated IBF lightweight champion was in attendance to watch Garcia's win over Lipinets. He is also a Premier Boxing Champions product. Both factors give Easter a decent shot at being Garcia's next opponent, or at least on a short list of practical choices in the near future.
Garcia expressed interest in coming back down to 135 pounds to unify the titles, but he has had some issues making weight in the past. Also, Garcia vs. Easter is a good fight, but it may not be the money clash the Garcia camp is looking for, especially considering it could be the bout that carries the most risk.
Kiryl Relikh

BOLTON, ENGLAND - MAY 13: Kiryl Relikh lands a right shot on Joaquim Carniero Batista during The WBA Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Championship fight between Kiryl Relikh and Joaquim Carniero Batista at Macron Stadium on May 14, 2016 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

On the undercard of Garcia-Lipinets, Relikh avenged a loss to Rances Barthelemy by handing the Cuban his first professional loss. In the process, Relikh captured the vacant WBA 140-pound title. There is a chance Relikh and Barthelemy could meet for a third time to complete a three-fight series.
However, a meeting with Garcia would seemingly be more attractive for the Belarusian.
Danny Garcia

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 17: Danny Garcia celebrates after defeating Brandon Rios in a welterweight boxing match at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on February 17, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Garcia won the fight with a ninth-round TKO. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

A Garcia vs. Garcia bout was mentioned during the post-fight interview on Saturday night. It would obviously require Mikey to move up to welterweight, but it makes sense for a number of reasons. Danny's side may be interested in the bout because Mikey is a solid name to have on his resume, and they have already faced most of the best at 147 pounds.
Danny isn't a champion at the moment and the chances of making a fight with guys like Errol Spence Jr. don't seem all that promising at the moment for him.
Both Garcias are with PBC and it also extends the Mexican-Puerto Rican boxing rivalry. For all of these reasons, this could be the most commercially successful of all the fights on this list.
Jorge Linares

INGLEWOOD, CA - JANUARY 27: Jorge Linares of Venezuela celebrates his victory over Mercito Gesta at The Forum on January 27, 2018, in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

A Linares-Garcia bout probably should have happened already, the two fighters nearly came to an agreement in 2017, but the fight obviously didn't take place. That was the second time negotiations have fallen apart to bring the two fighters together in what figures to be a compelling bout at 135 pounds.
According to Golden Boy President Eric Gomez, he still believes he'll be able to successfully negotiate a unification bout.
It makes as much sense as any fight on this list, but this is boxing, so that may be the reason it never happens.
Ray Beltran

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 12: Ray Beltran (L) follows through after connecting with Arash Usmanee during their lightweight boxing match at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 12, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Beltran won by unanimous decision. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The same could be said for a fight with WBO champion Beltran. The rugged Mexican is one of the slickest and most professional in-ring competitors in the weight region. Despite his age (36), Beltran appears to be in the prime of his career.
Garcia would be the big favorite if the two were to meet, but it would be another opportunity to unify the 135-pound titles. Beltran is also a Top Rank fighter, so the same kinds of impediments that could hinder a fight with Linares could become an issue here.

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