Zuffa Boxing’s first signing could be one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
What’s the latest update on Zuffa Boxing? Well it appears as if UFC president Dana White is on the verge of his first signing, and it’s one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
White told Yahoo’s Kevin Iole that current WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) is close to a deal with Zuffa Boxing.
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) May 3, 2018
The 30-year-old Garcia has won major world titles in four weight classes, including the IBF junior welterweight title against Sergey Lipinets back in March. Garcia opted to go back down to the 135-pound division instead of defend the belt he just won. He became WBC lightweight champion with this thunderous KO of Dejan Zlaticanin last year.
For all of his talents in the ring, Garcia has been unable to break through as a major star in the sport. A big reason for that was his two-year contract dispute with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, citing an unhappiness with his pay. Garcia wound up inactive from 2014 to early 2016, and has been a free agent ever since.
While Garcia is technically part of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions stable, he isn’t attached to an actual promoter, and is merely “advised” by Haymon. In fact, he reportedly turned down a potential $2.5 million purse to fight Miguel Cotto late last year, because Golden Boy Promotions wanted to sign him to a multi-fight contract. Garcia’s most recent reported fight purse was $1 million for his win over Adrien Broner last July, in a Showtime-televised card.
Interestingly enough, Garcia has expressed some interest in taking on Vasyl Lomachenko, who is challenging WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares next week. Should Garcia indeed wind up with Zuffa Boxing, making that fight would involve negotiating with none other than Bob Arum, who promotes Lomachenko and obviously has an adversarial relationship with Dana White.
Garcia’s next bout is expected to be a unification bout against IBF champion Robert Easter Jr (21-0, 14 KOs). The fight is expected to take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles either in mid-to-late August or July 28th, of which the latter would literally be the week before UFC 227 in the same arena.