Five keys for Mikey Garcia
Plotting a path to victory in Saturday's title bout against Juan Carlos Burgos
Unbeaten Mikey Garcia makes the first defense of his junior lightweight title Saturday (HBO, 9:45 p.m. ET) against Juan Carlos Burgos at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
ESPN.com Boxing on Twitter
Don't miss any of the latest boxing coverage from around the world. Follow us on Twitter and stay informed. Join »
The fight could mark Garcia's final appearance in the 130-pound division, with talks of a possible move to lightweight and beyond in 2014.
Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs) is coming off three impressive victories in 2013 against Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez and Rocky Martinez. But before making any future plans, Garcia must overcome the danger posed by Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs), who hasn't endured a loss in more than three years.
Here are five keys to victory for Garcia against Burgos:
The more aggressive, the better
|Garcia has won most of his fights by being patient and utilizing his counter shots. This time, however, he should change the script. Garcia is facing an opponent who moves constantly around the ring. Burgos often fights from the outside and is more of a defensive fighter. Garcia should take center stage, cut off the ring and put on pressure until he finds his distance and begins to take risks early. Otherwise, boos will start echoing from an audience expecting action.|
Throw more ... and often
|If we take a look at the CompuBox statistics, all of Garcia's fights are carbon copies of each other. He throws an average of 40 punches per round early and increases it to 80 late in the fight. Against a durable opponent like Burgos, Garcia should increase this average from the beginning. Any failure to do so might give Burgos the space he needs to take over the fight and influence the judges' decision.|
|Burgos is bigger than Garcia and has strong defense. Because it will be difficult for Garcia to penetrate his guard, outside shots will be essential. Hooks to the ribs are a good way to open up an opponent's guard, and if Garcia is able to eventually work his way inside on Burgos, the knockout will come early.|
Do what you do best
|Burgos is as patient as Garcia and his high guard is tight. He knows how to use his reach advantage and is very effective with his jab. This tool often becomes his best offensive weapon, faking a straight punch only to surprise from outside. If he finds any success with this approach, Burgos won't hesitate in accelerating the attack. Many have fallen into the trap, and the same could happen to Garcia.|
In the corner he trusts
|Garcia is the favorite, but Burgos could be his most difficult opponent. Burgos' style does not fit with what Garcia is used to, and that could complicate Garcia's strategy or, literally, become a headache. This is where his corner, headed up by father Eduardo and brother Robert, should pitch in, as they'll be essential to solve any contingency such as this one.|
MORE BOXING HEADLINES
- Frampton to make first defense in hometown
- Klitschko to make 18th title defense in Brooklyn
- Pacquiao reply to Mayweather: Let's get it on
- Fury to fight in Feb., risk status vs. Klitschko
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
- Dan Rafael retweeted