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Mikey Garcia plotting to beat lightweight rival Lomachenko to pay-per-view

Mikey Garcia let it be known Tuesday that he wants to participate in a race with fellow lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko toward a first pay-per-view main event.

Lomachenko’s opportunity can arrive soon should Manny Pacquiao defeat secondary welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia on Saturday.

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So four-division champion Garcia (38-0, 30 knockouts) emphasized to reporters that he’s striving to defeat Robert Easter Jr. for a World Boxing Council-International Boxing Federation lightweight unification July 28 at Staples Center, and then pursue a December date against unbeaten IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.

“That’s definitely a pay-per-view … and you talk about high risk,” Garcia fight promoter Richard Schaefer said. “I think Mikey’s going to be the next big pay-per-view star. … Once he beats Spence, you can line them up.”

Pacquiao told The Times last week that should he defeat Matthysse on ESPN+, he expects to return to the U.S. in the late fall to fight Lomachenko in a bout that reminds of Pacquiao’s picking apart of retiring Oscar De La Hoya in a passing-of-the-torch 2008 technical knockout.

Garcia, 30, is dealing with an entirely different type of opponent in the 28-year-old Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), who’s coming off a first-round knockout victory over Carlos Ocampo, a pedestrian opponent last month near his Dallas home.

“Mikey does make the calls about who he fights, but me and my dad will probably try to get him to look in other directions,” Garcia’s trainer-brother Robert Garcia told The Times.

“He understands if it’s me and my dad, we’re doing it to protect him, to ensure he has a long boxing career. Errol Spence is younger than Mikey, he’ll still be there in two or three years … so why do it now when the fight can be worth more by about $15 million? I’m not afraid of him fighting Errol Spence, but when the time is right.”

Even Schaefer said Garcia might be better served to seek to take over the Cinco de Mayo weekend date usually reserved for Canelo Alvarez by fighting Spence then.

Yet, Mikey Garcia said he believes he can effectively press to create the Spence bout sooner.

“I really want to get that. Let me get through Robert Easter, let me get through it healthy,” Garcia said. “A lot of people mention [me fighting] Lomachenko. I think Lomachenko is an easier fight for me [than Spence].

“Bigger challenge, bigger step up … so I’d rather take on Spence. That’s why I want to do it, to prove it, to show everything I can in my fight. Until they see me against someone like Spence, they won’t know what I can do.”

This month’s homecoming date at Staples Center with Easter presents the challenge of another unbeaten champion who possesses 5-inch height and 8-inch reach advantages.

Premier Boxing Champions also announced Tuesday that Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz will fight on the Showtime-televised card against Razvan Cojanu.

“I get to come home to L.A., to fight for a unification … the one time I get butterflies at my fights is during the ring walk, and to get to do that with my home crowd is special, emotional,” Garcia said.

Claiming victory will allow him to pound the drum toward Spence.

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“Maybe certain opponents are not available or there’s politics … but if I can dictate my own career — and I am to this point — I want champions,” Garcia said. “I think a fight with Errol Spence is easier to make than Lomachenko because of promotional reasons.”

Lomachenko is promoted by Bob Arum, whose company’s strife with Garcia led the fighter to sit out of action for more than two years.

“Some of the other fighters [bound by specific promoters] have different agendas. Maybe they want title defenses, a certain number of wins,” Garcia said. “I want to fight the top champions, I want to fight for titles.

“I know they don’t want me to move up to welterweight. That makes me want to do it that much more.”

Garcia said he views Spence as a greater talent than fellow unbeaten welterweight champion Terence Crawford, explaining, “Errol Spence is a fighter. He wants to hurt you. Crawford does what he has to do to win.”

As for picking a fight with Spence, Garcia said, “Who else is challenging themselves like that? For legacy, for victory, for all that. Once I get there, they’ll realize. I have no doubts. You can’t grow your name with nobodies … I want the biggest fights.”

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