WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) has turned down a unification fight against Jorge WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares (43-3, 27 KOs), according to ESPN. Golden Boy Promotion president Eric Gomez says Garcia has another offer to fight another opponent. Ultimately, it was a business decision by Garcia to reject the Linares fight offer.
Golden Boy gave Garcia the deal that he was asking for in giving him a 50-50 purse split with no future options, but in the end, he still balked and chose to go in another direction. All the negotiations went for nothing. Linares didn’t get the fight he was hoping to get with Mikey, and now Golden Boy must look in a different direction.
The possible fight that Garcia, 30, will be taking instead is a unification match against unbeaten IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr., who is with the same manager Al Haymon as Garcia. If Garcia winds up facing Easter Jr. in his next bout, it would be televised on Showtime Boxing. Linares vs. Garcia would have taken place on HBO, as that’s the network that Linares fights on.
Gomez let Mikey Garcia know that he’d still like to make the unification fight between him and Linares after he gets done with his next fight. It’s unclear whether Mikey will take him up on his offer or not. Mikey can make more money by moving up to light welterweight and going after the top guys in that division than if he stays at 135 and fights the largely no name fighters in that weight class.
At lightweight there’s only a small handful of guys for Mikey to fight. One of those fighters is Linares. If Mikey remains at lightweight after his fight with Easter Jr. or whoever he faces next, he’ll wind up mixing it up with Linares.
“Mikey said it was a business decision,” Gomez said to ESPN.com. “I got a text from him [Wednesday] morning, and then I called him right after. He said he’s got another offer so he’s going to take the other offer and we wish him well. The way I left it with Mike was, ‘Hey, let’s continue to communicate and if the fight can be made after the next fight and after Linares’ next fight then we’ll explore it.'”
Hopefully Mikey doesn’t mess up his career by rejecting fights left and right, and winding up missing a lot of action. Mikey already lost 2 ½ years of his career from 2014 to 2016 with him dealing with promotional issues with his previous promoters at Top Rank.
Mikey is coming off a 12 round unanimous decision win over Adrian “The Problem” Broner on July 29 in a fight that was televised on Showtime Boxing. It was a satisfactory performance from Mikey, but he didn’t have to deal with much in the way of offense from Broner. The former –division world champion Broner looked weight drained and rusty, and nothing like the fighter that he once was 4 years ago. The many years of Broner not dedicating himself to boxing has really taken a toll on his physical skills. He’s not the same fighter he was back in 2010.
Linares isn’t without his own options. British promoter Eddie Hearn has offered him a big money rematch against #3 WBA Luke Campbell (17-2, 14 KOs) in the UK for January of next year. Linares, 32, defeated Campbell by a 12 round split decision on September 23 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. It was a close fight with the judges scoring it 115-112, 114-113 for Linares, and 115-113 for Campbell. Boxing News 24 scored the fight for Linares 115-112. The fight would have been a lot easier fight Linares if he’d chosen to fight hard for the entire 12 rounds. Instead, Linares fought hard in the first 4 and the last 3 rounds. Linares coasted in the middle rounds and let Campbell back into the fight. Linares can’t afford to do that a second time against Campbell if he wants to beat him, because he might not get the benefit of the doubt, especially if the fight takes place in the UK where Campbell is from.