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Garcia vs Lipinets: Fight preview and matchup

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Mikey Garcia challenges Sergey Lipinets for his 140-pound title on Saturday.

Mikey Garcia

Adrien Broner v Mikey Garcia Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Record: 37-0 (30 KO) ... Streak: W37 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5’6” / 68” ... Age: 30

Thoughts: One of the most skilled boxer-punchers operating in the sport today, Mikey Garcia has won titles at 126, 130, and 135, and now he’s targeting a belt at 140, with at least early thoughts that sooner than later, he could be at 147.

But before he gets thinking about the big fights against the big names at welterweight, he has to take care of business here. Garcia has fought twice at 140, beating Elio Rojas in 2016 in what was a comeback fight for both men, and then Adrien Broner last July. Broner is no elite fighter, but Garcia outboxing him over 12 rounds was still very impressive.

So is Sergey Lipinets a step back from Broner? I don’t know. Depending on the night, AB still shows flashes of greatness, and I don’t think anyone has ever imagined “greatness” with Lipinets, who is more of a workmanlike, solid fighter. But he’s probably more consistent than Broner, too, and that’s worth something.

Garcia should win this fight, at least on paper. If he doesn’t, it’ll be a big upset. He’s the bigger star, the more talented fighter, and is on pound-for-pound lists.

Sergey Lipinets

Sergey Lipinets vs Akihiro Kondo Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Record: 13-0 (10 KO) ... Streak: W13 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5’7” / 67” ... Age: 28

Thoughts: Terence Crawford avoided this guy. OK, so it’s because Crawford was looking for bigger money fights and a move up to 147 instead of facing one of his 140 mandatories, which was Lipinets, but technically, Terence Crawford avoided this guy.

When we saw Lipinets last, he was facing Akihiro Kondo on Showtime, for the vacant IBF junior welterweight title. Lipinets did the flashier work, but it was no easy fight for him. He met real resistance from Kondo, and the fight was tougher and more competitive than the scorecards, which came back widely in Lipinets’ favor. (Not saying there was controversy, really, but if you looked only at BoxRec, you might think it was a relatively easy win for Lipinets. It wasn’t.)

Lipinets can fight. We know that, because Kondo made him battle, and he proved he could do that over 12 rounds. But while Lipinets is no joke or pushover, on paper he appears to have no actual advantages against Garcia. Maybe in punching power at 140 pounds. Maybe. Lipinets is defending the title, but he’s the B-side, both promotionally and in terms of talent. He’s the underdog, and should be.

Matchup Grade: B-. I think this has some good ingredients to be an entertaining bout. Even if Garcia boxes Lipinets’ ears off, there’s a good chance Lipinets will do what he can to make it a fight. Or he might just get his ears boxed off, but I prefer to be optimistic going into fights.

Undercard

  • Rances Barthelemy vs Kiryl Relikh: Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KO) and Relikh (21-2, 19 KO) met last May, and neither has fought since. Barthelemy won a decision, but both men were down in an entertaining bout. A rematch makes plenty of sense. Relikh has lost two straight, to Barthelemy and Ricky Burns, but he’s still plenty dangerous here. My general feeling is a rematch favors the more skilled fighter, and that’s probably Barthelemy, plus most rematches are won by the winner of the first fight. If Barthelemy can handle things more convincingly this time, it’ll be a statement. Grade: B
  • Richard Commey vs Alejandro Luna: Commey (25-2, 22 KO) is a tough, tough dude, a good fighter who has two losses, both by split decision, to Robert Easter and Denis Shafikov. If he wins this fight, which is an IBF eliminator, he’s got Easter in his sights again. Luna (22-0, 15 KO) is a undefeated prospect with wins over Andrey Klimov and Naim Nelson in his last two, both solid victories for his level. We have to see if he can fight at this level, because Commey never makes anything easy for the opponent. No grade for this one, because Luna is something of an unknown.