Oxnard’s world super-featherweight champion, Mikey Garcia, has the immediate task of fighting Tijuana’s Juan Carlos Burgos on Saturday night on HBO in New York.
The 26-year-old’s challenge is maintaining focus on that task as blinding opportunities are laid before the 33-0 fighter.
Four fights this year, moves up in weight, Manny Pacquiao.
All of this chatter is now attached to Garcia, the kid brother of distinguished Oxnard trainer Robert Garcia.
Especially the Pacquiao talk, which has been mentioned in nearly every recent story about the rising pound-for-pound member with 28 knockouts.
“That’s nothing that concerns me right now,” Garcia said of Pacquiao on Friday before weighing in for Burgos. “We’re too far apart in the weight. Maybe down the road if I grow into that division, that’d be the ultimate fight to plan for a year from now.
“It might make people pay more attention to me and grow my fan base, but I’m not looking for that fight just yet. When I’m ready for it, yeah, but not just now.”
With Burgos (30-1-2), handled by Orange County promoter Ken Thompson, Garcia is facing a gritty 26-year-old coming off two bitter draws, one to Roman Martinez, whom Garcia most recently knocked out in November.
“I don’t see many problems with beating him, but I know there’s risk,” Garcia said. “He’s a tough, resilient, durable guy who I’m sure is hungry to beat me, so I should expect a good fight from him, but I think I have all the skills I need to beat him.”
Martinez sent Garcia to the canvas with a flash knockdown in the second round. Garcia said he has no worries about the strength of his chin.
“It was a good punch that landed right and dropped me, but it wasn’t a punch that hurt me at all, wasn’t like a punch that rocked me,” Garcia said. “It just happened and that’s it.”
The beatdown that followed by Garcia is what has propelled him into a career path that could take him to World Boxing Assn. super-featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama or a lightweight or junior-welterweight bout before the Pacquiao possibility.
“My performances are getting people’s attention, that’s what I’m looking for,” Garcia said. “I want to get bigger and better fights, where people can recognize me as one of the better fighters in the world. I’m not chasing a particular name, but guys at 135, 140, world champions.”
Does that require a sensational performance Saturday at Madison Square Garden?
“I don’t feel the need to do anything other than what I’ve been doing, beating my opponents, getting some knockouts, keeping the fans coming,” Garcia said. “I don’t need to do anything other than that. All this media attention … I’m just going to do my thing in the ring.”
It’d be nice to have him take those bigger fights in Southern California.
“That’s up to my promoter and manager, they handle my career, I let them do their jobs for a reason,” Garcia said.