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Is Garcia About To Be Zuffa Boxing’s Inaugural Signing?

By Aaron Cooper   - @intuboxingfm

Ok, I’ll admit that the prospect of Dana White throwing his hat into the boxing promotional ring isn’t exactly news that’s hot off the press. For those of you who do not know, the UFC president is, in fact, a lifelong boxing fan, and talk of him entering the world of professional boxing began to surface last year.

Fast-forward to March, and The Guardian printed a story that White had his sights set firmly on the Unified Heavyweight Champion Of The World, England’s Anthony Joshua. The money on the table wasn’t chump change either. A reported $500 million was put on the table for a multi-fight deal. But, as we all know. Joshua and Matchroom promoter, Eddie Hearn have forged a partnership that has popularised the sport of boxing in the UK. Such is the strength of that partnership that Joshua made it clear that he would see out the remainder of his contract with Hearn, and beyond. "Listen, I'm riding with Eddie. I've been riding with Eddie. He got me from the get-go," Joshua said. "I'm not into the UFC, so I don't know what their plans are. ... I'm interested because we can all work together. Remember, mine and Eddie's relationship is a really good working relationship. And I'm sure Eddie has an interest in working with Dana White. If it's good business, it makes sense.

Dana White is a smart man, and he has access to some very deep pockets. So whilst he may well want to sign the biggest star in the sport one day. I can't help but think that this was all just a good bit of PR for him … in the short term at least.

So where does White go from here? And is he welcome in the world of boxing?

Well, where he goes seems simple in the first instance. New’s from America suggests that he has set his sights on multi-weight world champion and pound for pound elect, Mikey Garcia. Garcia is unsigned and unattached to any promotional company, most of which probably having to do with the long dispute he and former promotional company, Top Rank went through, no so long ago.  

We last saw Garcia in San-Antonio, Texas in March claiming the IBF Super-lightweight title against Sergey Lipinets. The victory saw a fourth world title at a fourth weight. Garcia did, however, elect to vacate that title. Instead, deciding to keep the WBC Lightweight title he won with a chilling knockout of Dejan Zlatacanin back in January of 2017.

Garcia’s brother and trainer, Robert had this to say to ESPN ‘"A month ago maybe, before Mikey's last fight, [White] saw Mikey train a full workout," Garcia said. "When he left the gym, he said, 'I want to invite you guys to [Las] Vegas.' I never went to Vegas, but I think Mikey went, and they had a meeting. He was there, and he said after the fight, 'I want to invite you guys to Vegas,' that he wanted to fly us in."

White’s entry into the professional boxing world is being frowned upon by many. But let us not forget that White transformed the UFC from a failing promotion in a minor sport into a global juggernaut watched by millions across the world. A promotion that has seen fans turn away from the squared circle in favour of the octagon.

The crossover from Connor McGregor from the UFC to Boxing saw the second highest grossing fight in history. Make no mistake about it I like all of you would not wish to see too many crossover fights like the aforementioned fight last year. The bout did nothing but highlight how different the two disciplines are. But signing such an elite fighter like Garcia is a clear statement of intent, and one I would go as far as to say that I have no problem supporting.