Home News Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Carlos Burgos preview & prediction, plus Jennings-Szpilka

Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Carlos Burgos preview & prediction, plus Jennings-Szpilka

Credit: Chris Farina - Top Rank

January 25th sees the new year’s first face-off between Showtime’s and HBO’s boxing schedules, with Showtime bringing us a double-header. First up is rising heavyweight Bryant Jennings taking on undefeated Artur Szpilka, followed by the main event of Mikey Garcia defending his WBO super featherweight crown against Juan Carlos Burgos. Compared to the HBO offering, this is clearly the fight night to watch live.

Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs)
5’8 1/2″ tall, 68 1/2″ reach, 26 years old

Burgos is now making his third bid at a world title, and his second for the WBO 130 lbs belt. In 2010, he traveled to Japan and challenged Hozumi Hasegawa, losing on points. Although that fight was in the Japanese fighter’s backyard, the loss is perceived as legitimate. Try #2 (on the undercard of the Garcia vs. Orlando Salido fight, incidentally) resulted in a Split Draw with Roman Martinez, who was subsequently knocked out by Mikey Garcia.

“Miniburgos” is increasingly looking like a hard luck fighter. His last two bouts — Martinez, Amidu — were disputed Split Draws, and most thought he clearly beat Martinez in particular. Hard luck or not, however, Burgos is a tough opponent for anyone at 130 lbs. He has good hand speed and outside movement, which serve as the foundation for solid boxing ability. Against that, Burgos has merely average power and durability. Even so, his good side is good enough to stand him as the #5 super featherweight in the world.

Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs)
5’7″ tall, 68″ reach, 26 years old
Former featherweight champion and current WBO super featherweight champion

Mikey Garica is a crisp, poised boxer-puncher with no real weaknesses, and dynamite power. Those attributes have put Garcia on a roll lately, where he crushed Barros, blasted Salido, stopped JuanMa, and kayoed Martinez. Proboxing-fans ranks him as the #2 130 lbs fighter in the world for good reason.

Garcia vs. Burgos Analysis

Given the roll Mikey Garcia has been on lately, some have concluded that he will simply walk right through Juan Carlos Burgos with little difficulty, but that is a lazy bit of reasoning. Burgos is a mover, a description that applies to none of Mikey Garcia’s recent run of opponents. Indeed, in his last four fights it was Garcia himself who used his feet to best effect.

Garcia is undoubtedly the harder puncher in this bout, probably the best technician, and might just have the best hand speed. With a basket of assets like that, Miniburgos isn’t beating him, and that fact shows what a huge gap exists between being #2 and #5 in the super featherweight division. The question of how Garcia wins hinges largely on who moves better, because if Garcia cannot either keep up with Burgos or keep him from using the outside effectively, he will have fits breaking down his defense enough to put serious hurt down.

Garcia vs. Burgos Prediction

Mikey Garcia is arguably the best technician in the sport under the age of 30, which is a big part of why he is the #13 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I see him having some trouble with Burgos’s outside movement early on, but adapting and zeroing in before the middle rounds. A knockdown or two will put Burgos onto the defensive, but against Garcia the increased effort of moving around the outside of the ring will wear him down. The last couple of rounds will be either pure rout or pure bicycling for Burgos, with the fight ending either in a late TKO or a clear UD. I favor the UD.

Prediction: Mikey Garcia UD12 Juan Carlos Burgos

Bryant Jennings vs. Artur Szpilka Preview

This is Jennings’ first major bout since he gave Sergei Liakhovich a beat down in March 2012, and it’s also his HBO debut. His opponent, Artur Szpilka of Poland, is an undefeated one-time cruiserweight whose main assets are his punch and his southpaw stance. Otherwise, Szpilka is crude, sometimes even clumsy. The slick, potent Jennings should have no trouble showing Szpilka what it means to tangle with a top notch Philadelphia heavyweight.

Bryant Jennings stops Artur Szpilka in a TKO7.