Mikey Garcia doesn’t buy notion he’ll have ring rust in comeback fight

MIkey Garcia shakes out for reporters Tuesday at City of Angels Boxing Gym in Los Angeles/Photo by Esther Lin, Showtime

It’s always interesting to hear fighters try to convince themselves that sparring is the same as a real fight, or at least close. By and large, that’s the type of comment a fighter coming off a long layoff will make. It’s what Mikey Garcia told reporters Tuesday during a workout at City of Angels Boxing Gym in Los Angeles.

Garcia on July 30 will make his long-awaited return to the ring following a hiatus of 2 1/2 years, no thanks to a contract dispute with his former promoter Bob Arum. Garcia will take on Elio Rojas of the Dominican Republic in a 10-round junior welterweight bout underneath the featherweight title fight between champion Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime).

Garcia was asked about the difficulty of shaking the cobwebs after being out of the ring so long. His response was curious, but not surprising.

“I don’t believe there will be ring rust because I was never really outside of the ring,” said Garcia, of Oxnard. “I’ve been in the gym the whole time, sparring and training. I would spar 10 or 12 rounds, just to do it. Not because I had a fight, but just to keep me active. I know it seems like a long time, but I don’t really see it. I feel like I was gone six months.”

Garcia, 28, is 34-0 with 28 knockouts. He has won titles in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions. Although this fight is at junior welterweight, afterward he wants to move down to lightweight.

Rojas, 33, is a former featherweight champion. He is 24-2 with 14 knockouts and is perhaps the perfect opponent for Garcia as he himself has been out of the ring nearly two years.

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