By Anthony Ross
Saturday night live from the big apple in New York City, New York at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, HBO world championship boxing returns with a doubleheader featuring one of the brightest young stars in boxing today. WBO junior lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28KO) will make the first defense of his 130lb title as he takes on number one contender Juan Carlos “Mini” Burgos (30-1-2, 20KO) in the 12-round main event. Opening up the broadcast will be an interesting clash of rising heavyweight contenders as Bryant “By-By” Jennings (17-0, 9KO) battles Artur Szpilka (16-0, 12KO) in a 10-round bout.
Mikey Garcia is being touted as the next superstar in the sport and Saturday night under the bright lights of New York City has a chance to get one step closer to that dream. The 25-year old Garcia from Oxnard, Calif is unbeaten during his young career under the guidance of his older brother Robert who has become a world class trainer after retiring from the sport where he was a former IBF super featherweight champion back in his hay day. Garcia has quickly become a two-division world champion at 126lb & 130lb while showing superb power, great timing, speed and precise punching. Garcia’s promoter Bob Arum has big things in mind as he has mentioned moving Garcia along to possibly be an opponent for Manny Pacquiao at 140lbs by the end of the year. Garcia could have his eye on the prize yet he has to take of care of the present which is a tough customer in Burgos Saturday night.
The 26-year old Burgos has been hit with a bit of bad luck during his career and most observers felt he could be a world champion. Burgos battled Rocky Martinez to a controversial draw last January where many felt Burgos did enough to win. Burgos came back in July to a less than stellar performance versus Yakubu Amidu with yet again a split draw. Although coming off two consecutive draws Burgos feel confident coming in “I recognize the challenge I have in front of me, but I have prepared well and I am confident I will get the victory.” Burgos stated at the final presser. Burgos wishes for a different outcome Saturday night as he challenges for a world title for the third time.
There is many reasons to watch this fight as a boxing fan yet to me the most compelling reason is to see how much improvement Garcia will show against Burgos. Garcia has yet to show many weaknesses in his game up to this point although we are still waiting for the big name opponent to test the young kid. Despite the odds, I refuse to sell Burgos short in this fight seeing he always makes a good account for himself in the ring as well as willing to trade and mix it up which always makes it interesting. With all the hoopla surrounding Garcia over the last few weeks expect him to use all the fascists of his game as he aims to be the first to stop “Mini Burgos” still it is not easy to overlook the heavy underdog in Burgos yet I believe Garcia is ready to take that next step.
Vegas Odds: Garcia -1600 Burgos +800
Jennings -250 Szpilka +195
Garcia – UD
Jennings – SD