Mikey Garcia will get his first world title shot this summer against Celestino Caballero. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Today's purse bid for the mandated WBA featherweight title fight between Celestino Caballero and Mikey Garcia was won by Team Caballero, as Sampson Lewkowicz bid $440,000 on the fight, beating out Top Rank's bid of $402,000, according to Ryan Maquiñana of BoxingScene.com.
July 28 is said to be the date in mind, with venues in Panama, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas in the running. Maquiñana says Vegas is the front-runner.
The fight could in theory wind up on an HBO card, I guess, but it wouldn't likely be a main event, plus HBO has nothing set for that date anyway. Showtime is running the Guerrero vs Aydin card from San Jose that evening. It's also certainly not a set date, and one would hope that the fight would get major U.S. TV, because it deserves that.
Caballero (36-4, 23 KO) just keeps plugging along, even after many thought that a loss at 130 pounds to Jason Litzau in November 2010 would derail his career for good. Following that, he stepped back to 126 and lost a controversial decision in Argentina to Jonathan Victor Barros, which he avenged just three months later in October 2011. His last fight came on New Year's Eve in Japan, where he defeated Satoshi Hosono.
Garcia (28-0, 24 KO) has emerged as a top prospect, but has done so over decent but very limited competition. His best wins have come against the likes of Matt Remillard and Olivier Lontchi, and since beating Remillard, he's been treading water against weak opponents, including a very easy matchup in March against Bernabe Concepcion, the one-time prospect who has long since lost his shine, in a fight that wasn't a whole lot different than when Golden Boy matched Victor Ortiz with Jeff Resto in 2008. Sure, Resto was once supposed to be good, but he'd proven by then that he was a bust.
Caballero is a big, big step up in competition for Garcia, who is a very talented boxer-puncher but hasn't yet been tested. Caballero has been in with top fighters at 122 and 126 for years now. Most of his rougher nights have come against guys who weren't dwarfed by his unusual 5'11" frame (Jeffrey Mathebula, Litzau) or southpaws (Rojas, Ricardo Cordoba). Garcia is 5'6" and a righty.
This is a very intriguing fight on paper, I believe. Either Garcia proves the hype is real, or the bubble gets its first poke, and I think it's about 50-50.