RingTV.com caught up to newly-crowned RING and WBO featherweight champion Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia in the wake of Friday’s nasal reconstruction surgery to repair the broken nose that he suffered during last month’s technical-decision victory over Orlando Salido at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“We’re cool. We had our surgery on Friday for my nose, so I have a small cast over my nose right now. It’s just a band-aid sort of small cast right over my nose to protect it from other damage and from it getting hurt more. The doctor put down on the paper that it was nasal reconstruction, and he did what he had to do. The surgery went okay,” said Garcia. The procedure took place at the Oak Surgery Center in Murrieta, Calif.
“I think I was in there for about an hour. It wasn’t very long. I get checked out again next week on Tuesday by the doctor again. We’ll go from there as far as what happens with the healing and determining the length of time that I’ll be out. We have to go next Tuesday and get it checked out, post-op, and he’ll tell me how long it will be before I can actually put on a head-gear and spar. Right now, we don’t know yet.”
Although the unbeaten 25-year-old Oxnard resident failed to earn his ninth-straight knockout win, Garcia (31-0, 26 knockouts) did drop Salido (39-12-2, 27 KOs) four times over the course of the first four rounds, ending the rugged Mexican’s streak of five consecutive stoppage wins, two of which were against Juan Manuel Lopez in Puerto Rico.
In what was a brilliant fight for Garcia, tactically, the nose injury resulted from an accidental clash of heads. Salido, 32, suffered a broken right orbital bone, according to his manager, Sean Gibbons.
Garcia-Salido went to the scorecards after the eighth-round injury, according to Garcia, rendered him unable to breathe. Scores were 79-70, 79-69 and 79-69, all for Garcia.
“But it’s working out because I’m actually getting some time to really rest and chill down from training and working out all year-round. So it’s actually a good way to change things up a little bit and to enjoy the victory.”
Salido, who sported a badly bruised right eye, had entered the clash with a 16-2 mark and one no-contest in his previous 19 fights. Gibbons said Salido would welcome a return bout with Garcia, although there was no rematch clause in their contracts.
Garcia said he would consider bouts with Salido or Lopez, the latter of whom ended an 11-month ring absence with this past Saturday’s ninth-round knockout victory over Aldimar Silva Santos.
Another potential opponent might be southpaw Javier Fortuna (21-0, 15 KOs) of Miami, who scored December’s unanimous decision over Ireland’s Patrick Hyland (27-1, 12 KOs) in a physical fight for the WBA’s interim belt.
Still another consideration is Orlando Cruz (19-2-1, 9 KOs), who has scored three straight victories, including two knockout wins since being stopped himself in consecutive losses to Cornelius Lock and Daniel Ponce de Leon in September of 2009 and February of 2010.
Cruz is currently scheduled to face Aalan Martinez on March 22 in Kissimmee, Fla.
“We don’t have anything yet, and that’s really up to my manager and my promoter to decide. Right now, we haven’t talked about or spoken about any opponents,” said Garcia, who is promoted by Top Rank CEO Bob Arum and managed by Cameron Dunkin.
“Right now, there are different opponents and guys who are calling me out. We’ve heard JuanMa Lopez, and Javier Fortuna and Orlando Cruz. Those are guys who have asked about fights with me and who have been asking for a fight with me, but we haven’t discussed anything with our promoter or my manager.”
Garcia’s most desired match, however, is with former featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0, 16 KOs), who rose from a ninth-round knockdown after scoring one each in the second and seventh of December’s unanimous decision for the WBA’s interim junior lightweight belt over game southpaw Filipino Michael Farenas.
Gamboa faced Farenas on the undercard of Juan Manuel Marquez’s sixth-round knockout of Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand. The victory had Gamboa in the ring for the first time since September of 2011, when he decisioned current WBC featherweight beltholder Ponce de Leon.
“A fight with Lopez would be pretty big. He just fought on Saturday, so he wants to get back into the championship league again, so it would definitely be a good fight,” said Garcia.
“That’s really up to my manager and my promoter to decide that. But like I tell everybody, if it was up to me, I would go after Yuriorkis Gamboa. He’s undefeated and he vacated the title in our featherweight division, so I would love to go after him.”
Photo by Chis Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com