Mikey Garcia dared to be great last year when he jumped up from 135 pounds to challenge 147-pound IBF titleholder Errol Spence Jr. But Spence proved too big an ask for Garcia’s first foray into the welterweight ranks, so Garcia ended up suffering the first loss of his professional career via unanimous decision.
As it goes for such matters on social media, there were plenty of boobirds ready to offer their criticisms of Garcia’s performance after that fight. Indeed, the boxing community seems filled to the brim with these types of people whenever a fighter suffers a loss, even in such cases as Garcia’s, where a perennially ranked pound-for-pound fighter, who had won titles in four different weight classes, was jumping up two divisions to take on an undefeated elite fighter in his prime.
But Garcia revealed to Heavy he didn’t have any problem at all letting these types of boxing fans have their says. In fact, the 32-year-old from Oxnard, Calif., said he welcomed the doubts some fans expressed about Garcia after seeing him lose to Spence in 2019.
“I see their reasons to doubt me,” Garcia said. “My last fight was horrible. My performance was horrible. They have the right to have their opinion based on that one fight.”
Still, Garcia believes he can begin to turn back the tide Saturday night against rugged veteran welterweight Jessie Vargas. Garcia-Vargas begins at 8 p.m. ET on global sports streaming network DAZN. Moreover, Garcia’s response is epic because he refuses to get bogged down in the negativity.
“There’s a lot more I can do,” Garcia said. “I just wasn’t able to do it that night. I think that’s why this fight is such a great matchup with Jessie Vargas. I think it will help answer a lot of those questions.”
Garcia said his method of dealing with the fickle nature of fan support in boxing was just to accept the way things are. Moreover, the fighter seemed sure the only thing he could focus on anyway was simply getting ready for his next fight and making plans for what he believes will be a bright future.
“I don’t mind any of that,” Garcia said. “As soon as they see a good win, they’ll be back on the bandwagon. That’s fine. That’s just the way it is.”
Garcia said other people’s opinions about him don’t carry any weight with the fighter. While Garcia admitted he probably shouldn’t have jumped up two weight classes to fight Spence, he also revealed he doesn’t regret that decision.
More importantly, Garcia said losing to Spence wouldn’t keep him from seeking other big welterweight fights, particularly the long-coveted opportunity to face WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao.
Besides, anyone who saw Garcia win titles at featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight already knows what kind of fighter he is. Most importantly, Garcia knows.
“I know I have true fans who always back me, and I know there are true analysts who see my skills and not determine my future based on one bad performance,” Garcia said. “Those are the people who really know boxing.”