Two-weight world champion Mikey Garcia says it’s time to show everybody what they’ve been missing for two and a half years when he aims to win a third world title.
Garcia (35-0 29KO) embarks on a challenge that’s yet to be conquered when he takes on WBC lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0 15KO) on January 28 at MGM Grand, Las Vegas.
The 29-year-old has fought once since January 2014 – a fifth-round TKO victory over Dominican Republic’s Elio Rojas on July 2016 at super-lightweight.
The former WBO featherweight and super-featherweight champion says his absence is long overdue, but he’s here to take over and dominate once again.
“I knew my time would come,” Garcia said. “I was gone for two and a half years. Now we’re here, and we’re ready to take over. We’re here to show everybody what they’ve been missing in Mikey Garcia, and I believe this next stage of my career is going to be the best.
“I believe this is where I belong. I believe this is what I need to do to be where I deserve to be. I don’t have more time to waste.
“I don’t want to waste time on easy fights or fighting for a vacant title, I’m here to take over.”
Garcia’s opponent – Montenegrin Dejan Zlaticanin, has been involved in two contests in the U.S, both ending in a brutal, yet incredibly methodical way. The 32-year-old crushed American-based Ukrainian Ivan Redkach in four rounds in June 2015 – Redkach is trained by Mikey Garcia’s trainer and older brother, Robert Garcia.
Zlaticanin then captured his WBC strap against Franklin Mamani twelve months after his Redkach win, defeating the Bolivian inside three rounds.
Despite concerns circulating that it may be too soon for Garcia to be sharing a ring with such a ferocious, avoided fighter, the Oxnard native says beating a credible, feared champion is exactly what he needs.
“I need someone like that to come in, push me to the limit, who can push me to that next level,” he said. “That’s the only way that I can give myself credit. This is the guy that we want.
“There’s no better way than to take the title from a legitimate champion. An undefeated young champion like Dejan.
“No one wants to fight him. It’s tough for him to get fights, but I’m here, I stepped up, he stepped up. It’s going to be a great fight. This fight is guaranteed a knockout either way.”
Garcia also respects Zlaticanin’s remarkable Montenegrin support, and provides several reasons why it’s not one to be missed.
“He has a lot of support, he’s not only fighting for himself or his team, but for his whole country which is great because that only makes for a better fight.
“I have a lot of power, he has a lot of power. He always comes forward. He’s a very strong southpaw, a lot of aggression, a lot of pressure. It’s just going to be a great matchup.”