With names like Adrien Broner, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and many others transitioning from prospect to star prize fighter, many in the sport believe Miguel “Mikey” Angel Garcia (30-0, 26 KOs), could very well be the next young man to etch his name onto that growing list. Garcia, the Oxnard, California native, who is the younger brother of former world champion, and currently one of the sports’ finest trainers who he happens to be under to under the guidance of, Robert Garcia, is an unblemished hard hitting 25 year old featherweight with good technical skills. Hence, the boxing worlds’ fascination with the young pugilist whose seldom faced adversity in 30 professional fights.
Come January 19th however, Garcia’s days as a heavily sought after prospect are over for good. He’ll be mixing it up on an HBO main event telecasts at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York City. The man who will be attempting to blunt Garcia’s ascension to stardom? Orlando Salido, 32, (39-11-2, 27 KOs), Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, a real Mexican fight fans’ fighter. Salido has been in with the absolute best the world has to offer, it is without a doubt one of his advantages heading into next Saturday night. As polished as Garcia is, his level of competition has yet to have been on the tier of Salido’s. With that in mind, it’s more likely that Salido will present tricks to Garcia that Garcia has yet to have seen in his professional career. Salido will more than likely be able to deal with Garcia’s arsenal due to his experience against the sports’ finest.
Because of this, in the early going, Salido’s deceptive combination punching and intelligently applied pressure may boost the older champion to an early advantage. It would be foolish to mistaken Salido’s aggression and ballsy style into thinking he’s susceptible to being caught with punches with ease. In his bout earlier this year, against former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez, Salido beautifully demonstrated how to consistently apply pressure while appropriately taking some time to step back and slip some shots. Make no doubt about it, look past Salido’s record. He’s the featherweight champion of the world and he’s peaking right now.
It’s not uncommon for Mexican born fighters to rack up professional defeats earlier in their careers due to the culture’s insistence on neglecting the amateur ranks. The amateurs are of course the place to truly learn from defeats, where as in the professional ranks it’s looked upon as too hard of a blemish. A downfall Salido will have against Garcia however, is that despite him having a good overhand right,he tends to wing his punches in combinations and Mikey Garcia has a tight defense. Garcia keeps his hands held high, which should be able to parry Salido’s hooks. He can also move side to side rather than just going straight back, which would enable Salido the momentum he needs to go forward and apply his pressure. It’ll be the school of hard knocks for Garcia, in the early going he’s going to have be taught some nuances he’s yet to have faced before against one of the sports’ most rugged, wouldn’t-want-to-be-caught-in-a-dark-alley fighters.
However, Garcia’s always shown himself to be quite the precocious, patient young man. History shows he has the ability to learn on the fly, and this site believes he will do so and earn himself his first world championship in a terrific scrap to kick off the new year. Garcia’s the younger, more versatile, slightly harder hitting, technically sound fighter. Salido has his advantages as well, but as said before he likes to wing his punches in combinations, and as the old adage goes: “Never hook with a hooker.” Ask former world champion Victor Barros what kind of left hook Mikey Garcia has. Boxing fans are in for a treat; will Salido solidify himself as one of the sports’ more under appreciated warriors? Or will Garcia be the new sheriff in town at the featherweight division? This publication will have to go with the latter.
BLEACHER REPORT BOXING’S FINAL PREDICTION:
MIGUEL “MIKEY” ANGEL GARCIA VIA LATE ROUND STOPPAGE.