Garcia fails to make weight, but Lopez can win featherweight title in Dallas tonight

Posted Saturday, Jun. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Mikey Garcia’s reign as WBO featherweight champion was short-lived.

Garcia failed to make weight for his Saturday night fight against former title-holder Juan Manuel Lopez, The Associated Press reported. The fight at American Airlines Center in Dallas, scheduled to be telecast on HBO (coverage, 9:45 p.m.) will go on, with Lopez regaining the title if he wins. The title will be vacant if Garcia wins.

The bout’s promoter, Top Rank, tweeted the development Friday.

Garcia weighed in at 128 pounds, 2 over the featherweight limit. Lopez weighed in at 125 1/2.

ESPNDallas.com reported that Garcia decided not to lose the 2 pounds before Saturday night and that Top Rank helped Garcia sweeten the purse for Lopez to make the fight happen.

Saturday night’s fight had been billed as another chapter in the ultimate rivalry of boxing, a Mexican-American fighter, Garcia (31-0, 26 KOs), vs. a Puerto Rican boxer, Lopez (33-2, 30 KOs.

In the week leading up to the fight, however, intimidation and trash talking remained well outside the minds and comments of two fighters, who both have been described by fans and media alike as humble men.

Ultimately, Saturday’s main event, the second fight after the HBO cameras begin broadcasting at 9:45, will be a bout of gentlemen.

“I just respect everybody,” Garcia said. “I don’t have any grudges against anybody or rivalries like that. We met several years ago and we talked, and we have mutual respect for each other.”

Minutes later 29-year-old Lopez countered with similar praise.

“I’m very friendly with him and I consider him a friend, but this is business, and sometimes in this business you have to fight your friends, too,” the 5-foot-7 southpaw challenger said.

Lopez, a former world featherweight champion with two title defenses, said Thursday that the two had met before Garcia had been crowned the world featherweight champion and he told Garcia he would take the crown one day.

Garcia, 25 who lives in Oxnard, Calif., and serves as a reserve police officer there, exceeded Lopez’s high expectations.

“Not only has he become a world champion, he’s become a great world champion,” Lopez said.

The only comments close to trash talking were aimed at the media and boxing analysts from the mouth of Lopez, pointing them to look at his whole body of work when making a prediction for the bout.

“It bothers me because they don’t look at my whole work,” Lopez said. “I’ve been a two-time world champion. There’s other guys you should be looking at in my career than that one fight.”

Both fighters faced Orlando Salido, Garcia most recently to take the featherweight title. Lopez, however, lost to Salido in the 10th round by technical knockout, leading most to give the edge to the reigning champion.

Lopez went on to reference another common opponent, Bernabe Concepcion, whom Lopez fought in a featherweight title defense in 2010, knocking Concepion out in the second round.

In his 2012 bout with Concepcion, Garcia also won by TKO, but it took five more rounds than Lopez’s victory.

To Garcia, the comparison demonstrates each fighter’s unique style than offers a look into the matchup, which he also explained using his bout with Salido.

“I just made it my fight,” Garcia said. “If I stand toe to toe with Salido, that would make it an interesting fight and it would be a close fight and I give him an opportunity. If I stay on the outside and box my way around him — it makes it easier for me.”

On the contrary, Lopez hopes the fight escalates quickly.

“I know he’s going to trade with me sooner or later,” Lopez said. “It’s a question of him if he’ll adjust to my fight.”

Hidden in these statements of strategy is a confidence that speaks louder than any taunt or form of intimidation and is what Garcia said will make this fight an outstanding way to bring big-time boxing to the AAC.

“He believes he’s going to win, of course, and I believe I’m going to win, which is just ingredients for a good fight,” he said.

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