Big Fight Preview: Errol Spence Jr vs Mikey Garcia
By Sina Latif
Undefeated four-division champion and WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KO’s) knows how things stand in terms of general consensus. In an era so dominated by social media, he won’t be oblivious to the fact that unbeaten IBF welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr (24-0, 21 KO’s) is the overwhelming favourite ahead of their historic showdown at the AT&T Stadium, Texas.
This is one of the most captivating match-ups in recent memory. A new star in the welterweight division, in Spence, against a multiple division world champion.
Not only is Garcia a huge underdog, but this is seen as a very dangerous fight for him.
Garcia is stepping up two weight divisions to fight Spence. Of all the welterweights, Spence, is arguably the best on the planet in the 147lbs division, and the ‘boogeyman’ of the division.
It is also remarkable to consider that Garcia started his professional career as a featherweight. When Spence made his professional debut in November 2012, Garcia was a featherweight.
He is now fighting a super-talented welterweight who is physically massive for the weight. This is undoubtedly the most dangerous fight of his 13-year-career, and one that is widely viewed as a physical mismatch.
To overcome someone in Spence with such a size advantage but also someone that possesses such a tremendous skill set, provides Garcia with the challenge of his lifetime. Potentially a challenge as big as any he could possibly face during his career.
Nevertheless, the 31-year-old’s move is refreshing. Moving up two weight classes to fight the division’s ‘leader’ if you’d like to call it, as the most dominant and arguably avoided, is very old school.
Manny Pacquiao moved up two weight classes to fight Oscar De La Hoya at 147lbs in 2008, however that was De La Hoya’s last fight, when he was on his way out of boxing for good.
In this case, Spence is in his physical prime, at the peak of his powers. The danger posed to Garcia is much greater than that posed to Pacquiao, a future Hall of Famer, a decade ago.
In 2019, the biggest fights in boxing amongst the best take unnecessarily long to make, or do not happen at all. Garcia is creating a fresh contrast.
Garcia has provided fans with the opportunity to witness two great fighters in their primes, both in the majority of people’s top 10 pound-for-pound rankings, and maybe for some, both in top 5.
Garcia willingly called out Spence in his post-fight interview after he unified the lightweight division last July against Robert Easter Jr and is now ‘daring to be great’.
For Spence, since his break-through performance in Sheffield, England to claim his world championship belt from then IBF champion Kell Brook in the former champions’ backyard, Spence has been at the forefront of boxing’s best conversations.
Although he is younger and has had less world title fights than Garcia, Spence’s win against Brook on away soil in hostile territory means that Spence can match Garcia in terms of experience on the big stage and displaying mental toughness.
Spence has shown relentless power and great technique throughout his pro career whilst coming up the ranks and during his title reign, but his attributes that have really shone through have been his vicious body attacks, and his fantastic distance control. The southpaw’s skillset has got many believing that Spence is the best in his talented weight division.
In two years, Spence has become one of the premier welterweights of a star-studded division and is now becoming a real star, headlining his first pay-per-view fight.
Although his victory over Brook was fantastic, Spence still hasn’t had an opponent to show how truly great he is. He is a great talent, but it takes greatness to bring out greatness. Perhaps Garcia is the perfect opponent for Spence to show people how phenomenally talented he is and significantly build his legacy on his pay-per-view debut.
With Spence, there is no real weakness to be exploited, Garcia is going to have to be the best he has ever been, plain and simple. Having said that, Garcia is on the brink of near-immortality. If he can beat Spence, he will become a five-weight division champion and will have conquered three successive unbeaten champions in three weight divisions in the space of a year. That is history. That is special. That is the sort of legacy that lives on and is referred back to for decades and centuries after.
History can be written in this fight. Legacies can be created. It’s not one to be missed!