Lem Satterfield

Garcia receives WBO belt, encounters Lopez

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While receiving his official WBO belt in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday, newly-crowned RING featherweight champion Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia came face-to-face with ex-titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez, who is among those being considered to face Garcia in May along with twice-beaten Orlando Cruz.

Dates of May 11 and May 18 have reportedly been considered for the return of Garcia (31-0, 26 knockouts), who is coming off January’s eighth-round, technical-decision victory over Orlando Salido at New York’s Madison Square Garden. 

Although the unbeaten 25-year-old Oxnard resident failed to earn his ninth-straight knockout win, Garcia 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 the hard-hitting southpaw Lopez (32-2, 29 KOs) in Puerto Rico.

“It would be a really interesting fight. A Puerto Rican against a Mexican. Garcia might be coming to Puerto Rico to fight him. There is a lot of intrigue surrounding a fight like that,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.

“I think that Mikey Garcia could become a superstar. I think that he’s that good. We’re considering (Lopez). We have to hear from HBO and get a date, but it would be in May.”

Garcia said Lopez expressed interest in facing him.

“He just mentioned that the fight would be very interesting, because not only would he have another shot at a title, but because a win over me would definitely get his career back on track where he wants to be. So he was definitely interested in that,” said Garcia, who is trained by his brother Robert Garcia, and their father, Eduardo Garcia.

“Plus, it would make a lot of financial sense for him to take a fight with me for the money. That’s probably what everybody thinks is going to happen, but we haven’t signed anything. That’s definitely an interesting fight if you would want to see it. All of the Puerto Rican reporters were asking for it, and people are defiitely pushing for it. They were all asking about it, but nothing is confirmed.”

Cruz (19-2-1, 9 KOs) is slated to face Aalan Martinez on March 22 in Kissimmee, Fla., having 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.

 

Photo by Peter Amador, Top Rank

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

 

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