Garcia-Lopez fight in the works
March, 6, 2013
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
Chris Farina/Top RankUnbeaten Mikey Garcia is likely headed toward a showdown with Puerto Rican star Juan Manuel Lopez.Featherweight titlist Mikey Garcia could be headed to sunny Puerto Rico for his first defense against island star and former titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Tuesday that he is working on that fight, which he wants to hold in San Juan, and is talking to HBO about a May date.
"It's not done yet, but that's what we're working on," Arum said. "May 11 or May 18, probably, because of the schedule. I'll tell you one thing -- one way or another that fight ain't ending in a decision."
HBO isn't planning to televise a card on May 4 in order to avoid a conflict with the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero bout on Showtime PPV and because it already has the Mikkel Kessler-Carl Froch super middleweight title rematch on May 25 (and probably will also have the Jean Pascal-Lucian Bute light heavyweight bout on that date).
Garcia (31-0, 26 KOs), 25, of Oxnard, Calif., won a 126-pound belt Jan. 19 at New York's Madison Square Garden Theater via lopsided eighth-round technical decision against Orlando Salido, who was knocked down four times. The fight ended when Salido broke Garcia's nose with an accidental head butt at the end of the eighth round and Garcia was unable to continue.
Cameron Dunkin, Garcia's manager, said his fighter's nose is healed and he will be ready for whichever May date they get.
"His nose is good and he'll be ready to fight, no doubt," Dunkin said. "We're fine with that fight. We like that fight. [Lopez] is a tremendous puncher and he's a really good attraction. I think it's a good fight for Mikey and for boxing."
While it makes the most economic sense to have the fight in Puerto Rico, where Lopez (32-2, 29 KOs), 29, is a star, Dunkin said he still needs to discuss the location with Garcia, his brother and trainer Robert Garcia and their father, Eduardo Garcia.
"My job is to call them and tell them that's what [Top Rank] wants to do and let them hash it over," Dunkin said.
The two defeats of Lopez's career came by knockout in all-action title fights with Salido. Lopez lost his belt by eighth-round stoppage in 2011 and by 10th-round stoppage two fights later in March 2012.
He served a suspension for remarks he made immediately after the second fight in which he accused referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. of stopping the fight because he had wagered on the outcome.
Lopez returned Feb. 2 and stopped Aldimar Silva Santos in the ninth round at 128 pounds.