Generational Greats Garcia & Spence Out To Create A Legacy
March 15, 2019
Unless you’re a career heavyweight, legacies in boxing are made by winning titles in multiple divisions. Whilst it is definitely easier to move around in weights during the modern era, it is still the sign of a great fighter to capture titles up and down the scales.
On Saturday in Dallas, one of this generation’s greats will attempt to become a five-weight world champion by stepping up TWO weight classes. WBC lightweight king Mikey Garcia will be at a massive physical disadvantage as he tries to win the IBF welterweight belt against current holder, Errol Spence Jr.
This is no typical cherry picking either. We recently saw Canelo Alvarez beat Rocky Fielding to win a title in a third weight class. Whilst this is no mean feat, Alvarez clearly picked the opponent he considered to be the weakest in the division to achieve his dream.
In Errol Spence, Garcia has chosen arguably the best fighter at 147lbs. Many would pick Terence Crawford as their favourite, but Spence and Crawford are without doubt the stellar attractions of a class once dominated by the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
Both Garcia and Spence are considered pound-for-pound greats and whilst Garcia won a title at junior welterweight just over a year ago, he moved back down to lightweight for his last fight. So how did this bout become a reality?
Mikey Garcia has always talked about moving up in weight throughout his career. In fact, there was a rumour of a one-off fight against Miguel Cotto at light middleweight for Cotto’s final outing so facing bigger men has always been on his radar.
It was actually Garcia’s team who initiated talks with Spence about this match. However, Spence is outwardly unconcerned, “They called me out, so they clearly see something, but I don’t think anyone has the power to knock me out and I’m more dominant than him [Garcia] in every aspect.”
Spence’s confidence is not misplaced. He has a three-inch height advantage, a four-inch longer reach and by the estimation of both men, will weigh 10lbs heavier when they enter the ring. The champion also has an unbeaten record of twenty-four wins with only three of those going the distance. He is a ruthless finisher with power in both hands.
Mikey Garcia is acutely aware of the obvious size difference but is equally confident of getting the job done, “You don’t just win a fight with size and weight, I’m in here to win. We’ve prepared to go twelve rounds but if he gives me the opportunity I’m going to try and hurt him.”
If anyone is equipped to dish out some hurtful shots it is Garcia. He has thirty-nine wins, thirty of those wins by KO and he has never been defeated. Like Spence, he is a devastating puncher and has astonishing right and left hooks in his arsenal. Unsurprisingly that power hasn’t always followed Garcia up the weights but even at 147lbs you get the feeling that Spence will know when he’s been hit.
In the build-up to the fight Spence has come under scrutiny for his life outside the ring. Videos surfaced of him out socialising with Adrien Broner and Gervonta Davis, Spence appearing to be a little the worse for wear. Trainer Derrick James was unperturbed by the stories, “He [Spence] is his own man. He knows how to run his own business and he knows what he should and shouldn’t be doing.”
Garcia would be unwise to think that Spence isn’t taking this challenge seriously as the champion has everything to lose in the ring at Cowboy Stadium. Much was made in the final press conference that Garcia had the backing of ex-pros like Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard. However, most current fighters polled thought that it was Spence’s fight. As the saying goes, “a good big ‘un beats a good little ‘un.”
From a betting perspective, I’m inclined to agree. I expect Garcia to win the early rounds but eventually Spence’s size and power will begin to tell, with possibly a late stoppage coming as he overwhelms the smaller man.
What isn’t in doubt however is that this will be a fantastic fight between two of the very best fighters in their era.
In Other News
- A fight between British light heavy prospect Anthony Yarde and champion Sergey Kovalev has been ordered by the WBO. Fresh from a convincing win on Friday night this is a huge step up for Yarde, but many have already labelled him a future world champion.
- Billy Joe Saunders has again decided to change trainers as he leaves Brendan Ingle to join up with Tyson Fury’s coach, Ben Davison. The short-lived relationship between Saunders and Ingle covered Saunders’ most impressive victory to date with the win over David Lemieux but Davison won rave reviews after Fury’s draw with Deontay Wilder.
- Wilder has reportedly been offered a three-fight deal with US online broadcaster DAZN. If the deal were to go ahead it would make the prospect of Wilder vs. Anthony Joshua very real thanks to Eddie Hearn’s close relationship with DAZN.
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Author: George Ogier
George has been writing about boxing and other sports for over seven years. He has written for various sites including The Mirror, Joe and Boxing Scene. He also runs his own social media management company from West Oxfordshire. When not feverishly staring at his laptop he likes to be ultimately disappointed by Tottenham Hotspur.