In front of 7,805 boxing fans at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Mikey Garcia (38-0, 30 KO'S), who was a three-division world champion, made boxing history and became a four-division world champion.
Coming into this junior welterweight title fight, Garcia was a 20-1 favorite, but after the first several rounds, it was obvious that it was going to be a fight. Despite the oddsmakers, Garcia and his team knew that Sergey Lipinets (13-1, 10 KO'S), the bigger guy, and that he was going to bring it.
Having won the vacant IBF Junior Welterweight title last year against Akihirio Khondo (30-7, 17 KO's), the very tough Lipinets began and ended the fight by attempting to walk down the master boxer Garcia.
Although, the taller Lipinets was met with numerous right hands to the head that either he blocked, glanced on the top of his head, or that were missed by the mark. If Garcia had connected with any of the missed punches to the head, the fight may have been over very early. The first round was a very cautious round by both boxers.
Each were calculating the moves of one another, each not willing to give the other any advantage. It appeared that both boxers had only landed one left hook each in the entire round against each other. After the first round, Garcia was seen pumping his fist as he went to the corner, something he did for almost every round. He appeared very confident in this round as he did in all the other ones.
Statistics of each fighter, list Garcia as 5 foot 6, but in person he seems much shorter. Nevertheless, it didn't make any difference, because the boxing skills of Garcia were on another level compared to Lipinets.
Having said that, Lipinets does have a very good jab, left hook and and uppercut to add to his arsenal, including his Mexican style of fighting.
Throughout the fight, the pro Garcia fans were either chanting his name "Mikey, Mikey, Mikey," or "Let's go Mikey.
In the third round, Lipinets landed a left hook to the body of Garcia, and Garcia quickly countered with his own left hook to the body of Lipinets. The pattern was the same throughout the fight, Lipinets kept moving forward and Garcia kept countering all the punches. Mikey continued to hold his ground throughout the fight and made Lipinets honest.
The fourth through the sixth rounds kept the pro Garcia audience entertained and on the edge, hoping and anticipating something big to happen. And in the seventh round it happened.
Lipinets let his guard down and Mikey caught him with a huge left hook that put the Russian on the canvas. The crowd went crazy and rose to their feet, including me, because it looked like it might have been over.
But just like every other punch that Lipinets took from Mikey, he took the knockdown well and got right back up. After the count by Laurence Cole, the third man in the ring, Lipinets didn't miss a step, he continued to force the fight just as nothing happened. Yes, he was stunned momentarily and that round would be a 10/8 round, but he went on as usual.
It appeared that the knockdown made Lipinets even more aggressive from the eighth to the eleventh round. He was relentless, but he was being outboxed by Garcia, even though he did land a good uppercut at the end of the round.
Both fighters didn't take one step backward in the twelfth round and despite a bloodied up face of Mikey, it didn't stop him from letting his hands go.
Despite the final scorecards of 116-111, and 117-110 twice for Garcia, the fight was much closer because Lipinets never took a step backward and was able to land very hard shots.
Garcia captured the 140 pound belt, as he joins Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez as the only fighters in history to win titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140 pounds.
Garcia has many options and one is to either unify all the belts at 135 and or eventually take all the belts at 140. But to the surprise of the boxing world, he is even talking of eventually moving up to 147 and getting another belt in that division. I have no doubt that will happen too.