Sergey Lipinets vs Mikey Garcia
Former 3 division world champion, current WBC lightweight world champion, California based Mexican/American, Mikey Garcia, puts lightweight defences on hold to compete at light welterweight, and on this occasion, he takes on undefeated IBF world champion, Russia's Sergey Lipinets. The fight takes place at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, the venue, containing a supportive, mostly pro Garcia crowd of fans.
The fight is tentative as both fighters are trying to punish their opponent for a mistake which both are intent on not making. The champion is the one on the front foot, controlled, focused, but the challenger, also focused, and very mobile. Garcia uses good reflexes, good timing to land the first punches of the fight, as he scores with clean with a few quality straight shots. Garcia remains controlled in the second round, but is able to create more openings, land with all the punches in the fight, and raise the quantity, landing a few hard punches at the end of the round.
Garcia takes a clear lead after 2 rounds, but Lipinets is not deterred, as he lands his first decent punches in round 3, and sees a sign of his success, as blood exits the challenger's nose. Garcia bleeds, but as his opponent takes more chances, Garcia only hits him with good, clean punches more often. Garcia seems to be getting bullied to an extent, as the champion is aggressive in round 4, raising his work rate, looking physically stronger than the challenger, struggling to find accuracy, as a backward moving Garcia's back touches the ropes more often, but hits the target of his opponent with heavy hands, although Garcia, using his boxing brain, and finishing the round well, putting a couple of good combinations together.
Lipinets looks able to make Garcia uncomfortable, but doesn't dent Garcia's composure, and as the champion takes more chances, he is countered, often, as a mobile Garcia taggs him on the way in consistently. Lipinets is able to find more ground in the sixth, he struggles for accuracy, but does land with a couple of good, hard shots, as a less active Garcia struggles to negate Lipinets's attributes as he has in previous rounds.
For most of round 7, Lipinets is more active, continues with his offensive mission, but Garcia, well prepared, and able to land good counter punches. It seems Garcia has more respect for Lipinets's power than vise verse, after Garcia lands a couple of big punches which Lipinets takes well, but Garcia proves that to be a big mistake, as he sets a trap, and as the champion moves forward, the challenger lands a fantastic counter left hook, a crushing shot which puts Lipinets down heavily. The champion shows great recuperative ability, mental strength, as he applies pressure on his opponent in the next round. Throughout round 8, Lipinets is able to land some good shots, his output his high, and he overpowers Garcia, Garcia, able to take the punches, and respond with his own, he lands a significant amount of quality punches towards the end of the round, but does not manage to hurt Lipinets again.
Lipinets sustains his aggression in round 9, knowing he is behind, and he seems to outwork a cautious Garcia for much of the round, finding little accuracy, but landing the occasional thudding shot to the head and body. Garcia lands hard, clean counter punches, late in the round, as Lipinets increases his effort and aggression, to finish another close round in a competitive fight. Lipinets continues to plough forward in round 10, but his aggression looks desperate, as a calm Garcia settles down, and his skills start to allow him some control back, he looks to be out boxing the champion, in a wise tactical mindset.
Lipinets takes chance after chance, but in a narrow round, he is rarely able to find the target, and is out timed, out thought, by the more controlled boxer. Lipinets becomes, of anything, more aggressive in the final round, but as the round goes on, he becomes more of a target, and rather than coasting in the last 90 seconds, Garcia raises his output, lands some great, clean scoring punches, not hurting the champion, but getting the better of the action in the closing stages of the fight.
Mikey Garcia raises his hand, whilst Sergey Lipinets looks dejected.
Mikey Garcia is declared a wide winner (by 5-7 points) by all three judges, and therefore, is awarded a unanimous decision victory, as he wins the IBF belt, leaving Lipinets, disappointed, but with nothing to be ashamed of, having tried his best, put up a great effort.