ORANGE, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2014) – In what might be his toughest challenge to date, super featherweight Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs) aims to capture his first world title against undefeated and current WBO champion Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs) on Saturday, Jan. 25, from The Theater at Madison Square Garden televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark (9:45 p.m. ET/PT).
“It’s go time for me,” Burgos said. “I had two, tough draws in 2013 that I felt I deservedly won and in order for me to put those experiences behind me, I have to take that title away from Mikey.”
Many in the boxing community believe Burgos defeated Roman Martinez for the WBO title last January. Burgos looked sharp early and appeared to control the tempo from beginning to end, but the judges ultimately signaled the fight a draw. In November, Garcia would later strip Martinez of his belt via an eighth round knockout.
“I did everything right against Martinez,” Burgos said. “This time, I won’t be leaving Madison Square Garden without the hardware that rightfully belongs to me.”
“Burgos is fighting for a world title that we thought he had cleanly won last January,” said Ken Thompson, president of Thompson Boxing Promotions, who, along with Banner Promotions, promotes Burgos. “To say that Burgos is highly motivated to become a world champion is the understatement of the year.”
“This is going to be a fight between two excellent fighters,” said Arthur Pelullo, president of Banner Promotions. “Mikey Garcia is at the top of his game and it is going to be a difficult fight, but we believe Burgos is going to become a world champion. He has been training hard in Tijuana. You are going to see two guys that do not know how to back up and everybody knows that, so it is going to be a great fight.”
The telecast opens with a 10-round battle between undefeated heavyweight contenders Bryant Jennings (17-0, 9 KOs) and Artur Szpilka (16-0, 12 KOs).
The event is promoted by Top Rank, in association with Banner Promotions, Thompson Boxing Promotions, Gary Shaw Productions, Warriors Boxing Promotions, Madison Square Garden and Tecate.
Tickets priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at ticketmaster.com and thegarden.com.
Burgos held his training camp in Las Playas, an oceanside town in Tijuana, Mex. Here are camp notes and quotes.
With your fight against Mikey Garcia only days away, describe how your training camp went and how you physically feel heading into the world title fight?
This is the best that I have felt going into a fight in a long time. My body feels better than ever and I am one to two weeks ahead of schedule in regards to making weight. We have eliminated some of the mistakes that I made in my last few fights. I am more aware of closing out rounds. We sparred 4-minute rounds to have the strength and endurance to finish rounds. We constantly shuttled fresh sparring partners in and out of sessions to get maximum results.
You are doing things a little differently during this training camp over previous ones. You employed a CrossFit trainer to help increase your speed, stamina and power. How has this helped you prepare for your fight against Garcia?
My CrossFit trainer, Jaime Verdin, has designed an excellent program that has made me more explosive. I can tell in my movements in the ring that I am moving faster, my lung capacity has increased and I am punching harder. I do all kinds of resistance training, flexibility exercises, lunges, sprints, core workouts, power jumps, all designed to shock my muscles to produce quick, rapid movements.
A lot has been written about your last two fights, both ending in draws, what did you learn from those experiences?
I learned to always keep the pressure on. It is not like I took rounds off in those fights, but there were instances, especially in the Roman Martinez fight, that I let some middle rounds slip away. That is what probably cost me in that fight. I still think I won that fight and that is not just me saying that. The fans, media and other ringside observers thought I did enough to win, but I can’t change what happened. In this sport, it is best to have a short memory. You learn and move on. It is a closed chapter in my book. All I can do now is focus on this fight. Nothing else matters but beating Mikey.
What were your initial thoughts on facing a boxer as talented as Mikey Garcia?
Mikey is a great champion and I respect his skill set. He has done a lot in a short amount of time. He is young, strong and well trained. As a boxer, these are the challenges that you want. You always want to go against the best and Mikey presents a tough challenge for me, but if you want to be the best, you have to go after the champions.
What kind of fight do you expect and what advantages do you have over Garcia?
I plan on fighting an intelligent fight. We put together an excellent game plan for Mikey. My trainer, Roberto Sandoval, is a tremendous teacher and knows how to get the best out of me. As far as advantages, I have always been tall for my division and that is something that might give Mikey some problems early as he tries to adjust to my reach. This fight is going to be tough. Once you get to this level, there are no easy fights. I feel confident going in and I look forward to accomplishing my goal of becoming a world champion.