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Mikey Garcia explains decision to drop IBF title

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Garcia says he couldn’t commit to the IBF’s timetable with all the other options he has on the table.

Mikey Garcia v Robert Easter Jr Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Lightweight titleholder Mikey Garcia may no longer be the IBF champion, opting to vacate the title, but he still holds onto his WBC strap. So what was the deal with that anyway, you ask? Well, Garcia details to ESPN his thought process for walking away from one of his belts while looking towards a fight against welterweight titleholder Errol Spence.

Garcia, who was given two weeks to sign a contract to face IBF mandatory challenger Richard Commey, starts by mentioning that he wasn’t willing to commit to a fight with Commey within that time frame as he’s still known to be in negotiations to face Spence.

“The IBF was pushing for the Commey fight ASAP but with the WBC I have more time to decide what I want to do,” Garcia said. “But I’m looking for bigger fights. We have options and I just couldn’t get excited for the Richard Commey fight and the timing [the IBF] required to get it done was not enough time to negotiate considering the other options I have.”

Garcia wouldn’t elaborate on exactly where things stand with the Spence fight, but promoter Richard Schaefer — who works with Garcia — said he’s received clear instructions about what Mikey wants and how to proceed.

“I met with Mikey and the fact is Mikey is not the kind of guy to say something for the heck of it,” Schaefer said. “When he said he wanted to fight Spence and that it was the fight that motivated him and excited him, he was serious. He takes pride in winning these world titles, but if you are one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world you want these big events and big challenges. For Mikey to get motivated after already having achieved so much, he really wants to test himself. He wants to dare to be great and the fight with Spence is the fight he told me he wants to pursue and that’s the fight we are pursuing.”

With the move Garcia has now vacated two IBF titles in 2018, the first of which occurred when he opted to pass on a mandatory 140lb title defense against Ivan Baranchyk in lieu of a lightweight title unification with Robert Easter Jr.