Four-division world champ Mikey Garcia may be facing Jessie Vargas this Saturday in Frisco, Texas, but he’s also keeping an eye down the road. The Mexican-American ring technician is in pursuit of a fifth divisional title, a blockbuster bout with Manny Pacquiao, and continued success in bagging monstrous paydays as a very fortunate free agent fighting in a total boxer’s market.
With the sport divided three ways in the US and all three broadcast/promotional factions (Matchroom/DAZN, Showtime/Fox/PBC, and Top Rank/ESPN) desperate and hungry for exclusive content, a fighter with name value has never had it so good financially.
In 2016, after spending about a year-and-half getting out of his Top Rank contract, Garcia returned to the ring as a promotional free agent and fell right into this current business dynamic where upstart companies are willing to pay above market value for fighters who could generate buzz among fans.
Mikey Garcia was snatched up by relative newcomer Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on a fight by fight basis, where he began making seven-figure paydays instead of the six-figure purses of old. The relationship with PBC culminated with Garcia’s losing effort against welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. at Cowboys Stadium, on pay-per-view.
Although the Spence loss was ugly and decisive, he was still in a position to field offers from streaming service DAZN and would eventually sign a one-fight, $7 million deal to face Jessie Vargas in a second stab at welterweight success. Needless to say, the free agency model has been very, very good to Mikey.
“I can use my leverage. I can use my flexibility and my options to work a good deal,” Garcia told Forbes.com. “I wouldn’t want to say the best deal, because there are fights that are more valuable for other than financial reasons. You have to balance a lot of things. But I’m able to use my freedom and work a good deal for me…
“Once I came back from my layoff, we started working on fight-by-fight agreements…It just showed me that I can do that. People working with me were allowing me to do it. I’m going to continue working this way. It makes sense. It works well for us. If they didn’t allow me to work that way, I’d have to figure out another way. But they’re willing to work with me.”
Garcia’s business flexibility will make it even easier for him to eventually nab the fight he’s been pining after for a couple of years now– a blockbuster pay-per-view contest against Manny Pacquiao.
“Obviously, I would love an opportunity to fight Manny,” Garcia told Yahoo Boxing. “That’s a chance to fight an icon in our sport. It’s been talked about for many years and the moment it comes available, I’d jump on it. I don’t know if it is going to happen or not, but I’m down. But I need to win this fight first and then we can think of what is after it.”
Yes, Jessie Vargas stands between Mikey and his big plans, but most experts feel Garcia should emerge victorious against former Pacquiao foe, Vargas. And then Garcia will keep going along with his winning business strategy while hoping to fight his way to legendary status with a win over a true legend like Pacquiao.
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