Mikey Garcia has it all in the ring. He's accurate, patient, quick, can move a little bit, has some power, and has the schooling and the pedigree. But if HBO and Top Rank are trying to create a superstar, they need only to look into their recent past for examples of similar fighters with somewhat hidden limitations for comparison -- and it's a comparison they might not like.
While Garcia improved to 34-0 (28 KO) with a wide win over the capable Juan Carlos Burgos (30-2-2, 20 KO) tonight at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, and won cleanly and with no doubts left, the Mexican-American super featherweight titleholder also heard his share of boos late in the fight, as he patiently picked apart an opponent who had proven inferior several rounds prior.
It's one thing to be Floyd Mayweather, an ultra-brash, headline-stealing personality, and get away with being the class of the division(s). For Mikey Garcia, a soft-spoken, humble fighter who simply goes in and does his job at a very high level, the sell may be a bit tougher. And talk of Garcia facing Manny Pacquiao seems absurd at this stage of his career, coming off more as talk led by Top Rank because they don't have many Manny opponents left in their stable.
Garcia was friendly toward Burgos after the fight, telling HBO's
Mark Max Kellerman, His height was giving me difficulty at first, but once I found rhythm, my range -- he's a tough guy. he's resilient. He can take a punch. He went the distance, and I expected him to do that,"
Garcia is an above-average or better fighter in every regard, but even Kellerman couldn't help but accidentally point Garcia toward what may be his ultimate future with a question after the fighting, noting that Garcia does his best when opponents come to him, and if they give him movement, he doesn't look like quite the same guy.
Nonito Donaire, anyone? Yuriorkis Gamboa? Guillermo Rigondeaux?
There's no doubt that Garcia is currently a top fighter, an elite-level super featherweight and one of the mots complete in-ring packages in the game at this time, or at least he looks to be. Is he a superstar? That's a whole other ball of wax.