Don’t Sleep on Mikey Garcia in Spence Clash

By Paul Magno on February 18, 2019
Don’t Sleep on Mikey Garcia in Spence Clash
Media voices and armchair experts have written this fight off as a pointless endeavor.

It’s always a mistake to rule out a thinking man’s chances of pulling off the supposedly impossible…

Let’s not even try to count the times that a smug boxing intelligentsia played the role of human centipede, feeding on its own crap en route to a laughable miscalculation. Hardcore boxing fans and media pundits are (in)famous for feeding into their own talking points and winding up with egg on their faces as the “impossible” proved to be quite possible.

Remember when people were legitimately concerned for the health and well-being of Bernard Hopkins before his bout with Kelly Pavlik? Remember when Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao was going to be a cynically one-sided cash grab in Oscar’s favor? Those with good memories will also recall more than a smattering of “Oh Jesus, he’s gonna get hurt” remarks before an aged Shane Mosley met fearsome Antonio Margarito.

These are just three examples in recent history of fans and “experts” being so sure of something that they failed to notice some key elements pointing the other way.

That brings us to the March 16 bout between IBF welterweight champ Errol Spence and Mikey Garcia.

On the surface, this appears to be a mismatch. Spence is a big, powerful welter who could eventually find his way to middleweight and Garcia is a former featherweight, super featherweight, and lightweight champ who seemed to be stretching himself as far as he could go when capturing a junior welterweight title last year.

Media voices and armchair experts have written this fight off as a pointless endeavor and, to add injury to insult, as a cynical matchup put together so both can avoid the fights they really should be having.

And, yes, it’s going to be an uphill battle for Garcia to beat Spence. As a matter of fact, this writer talked about the uphill battle last year when giving an early preview of the bout:

“A smaller world class fighter beating a larger, stronger world class opponent is not all that unusual. Speed and precision trump brute force and a case could actually be made that in a battle of elites, a smaller, quicker fighter may actually have an edge over a bigger, but slower foe.

But this is not necessarily a case of the quicker, slicker small man versus the mighty, lumbering giant. Garcia may have the edge in hand speed over Spence, but he’s not the kind of moving stylist/speedster best suited to overcoming the disadvantages he’ll be facing March 16.

The four-division world champ typically fights tall and long, using his assets as a “big” fighter (relative to his opposition) to his advantage. He works the long jab and works well off that jab, throwing an accurate right hand and turning over the left. The sharp jab allows for him to use distance well, creating space not only for issuing offense, but also for facilitating a solid defense based more on timing and space than speed and mobility.

Overall, Garcia is a tremendously well-schooled, efficient offensive fighter with patience and a level-headed calmness that allows for a high level of precision.

But nothing Garcia does well, nothing that has made him a special pound-for-pound fighter will be of much use to him against Spence, someone who is also an extremely efficient offensive boxer who uses his size and physical assets to his advantage.”

Garcia will have to make some fundamental changes—both in style and temperament—to come away with a victory. As I wrote, he’ll have to change just about everything.

But if there’s anyone capable of such a task, it’s Garcia, someone with a high ring IQ and an impeccable work ethic who has shown himself to be utterly unflappable in the face of adversity and supremely focused at all times.

Those dismissing Spence-Garcia as a mismatch are also overlooking the fact that Spence is mostly an untested entity. And on the one occasion when he faced someone in Kell Brook, who could box and think on his feet, he was held to a standstill right up until the very end of the bout.

Mikey Garcia may not need to be Pernell Whitaker to puzzle Spence and keep him one step behind the entire night. We won’t really know how much Garcia can change or how much Spence can adapt until we see both do some of these things they haven’t ever done before.

If you plug all the raw info from Spence vs. Garcia into some sort of boxing simulation program, Spence will come out as the guaranteed winner. But boxing is a thinking man’s sport and, as history has shown us time and time again, it’s always a mistake to rule out a thinking man’s chances of pulling off the supposedly impossible.

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Errol Spence Jr vs Mikey Garcia | PBC Boxing, March 16th on PPV

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  1. Pete The Sneak 05:23am, 02/21/2019

    You know what? Regardless of the outcome, it should be a good fight and fight fans will be watching to either see Spence ‘destroy’ Mikey or Mikey pull off the upset. I guarantee you everyone posting and/or reading here will be watching the fight, so at the end of the day as a fight fan, that’s all you can ask for; a decent fight that peaks your interest on a Saturday night on free TV…I don’t ask for much…Peace.

  2. Koolz 03:41am, 02/21/2019

    Lomachenko is a Legend.

  3. tetumbo 06:10pm, 02/20/2019

    Damn right it’s a promotional issue as in avoiding risk and loss, e.g., Lomo avoided redeeming his one and only loss v. Salido by confirming an immediate rematch at 130lbs, which was his for the asking. Hell(?!), even Chavez Jr. redeemed questionable wins, never mind losses. “promotional issues” is also why Lomo never targeted Mares or Santa Cruz and why he blatantly avoided Mikey’s direct and public challenges for the past couple of years in favor of Linares and Crolla(?!?). Btw, the Berchelt fight is also Lomo’s for the asking but he has instead leap-frogged over the best comp in favor of the more certain outcome. although Linares gave him some trouble but Lomo’s win v. Linares is looking less impressive nowadays after Linares’s follow-up loss to Cano. Btw, Lomo has also managed to avoid facing a single additional Mexican fighter in divisions typically dominated by Mexican fighters(?!). it’s a “promotional issue” all-right but not one that truly great fighters can’t overcome, e.g., Canelo over-ruled DLH to face Trout, Lara, and Gennady on his preferred timeline. not that of his opponents or promoters. taking all of this into account, it’s obvious to this fight fan that Lomo is a less-than-great fighter.

  4. Koolz 04:42pm, 02/20/2019

    It sounds like Lomachenko vs Garcia fight is a promotional issue.
    and not our flight of fancy with ducking or weight drain.

  5. tetumbo 03:15pm, 02/20/2019

    i like Spence and i’m not betting any money on Mikey but i’m also not sleeping on Mikey since an upset win by Garcia is a much more exciting and invigorating outcome. Mikey does have superior skills and experience but Spence is no slouch in the offensive skills department BUT what Mikey is hoping to exploit are his obvious defensive flaws and betting on his own potent power to at least stop Spence in his tracks but the entire enterprise is a gutsy gamble compelled by the fact that NObody under 140lbs will agree to face Mikey, especially Lomachenko. accordingly, Mikey is the sentimental and even intellectual favorite BUT i’m not betting money on an upset win by Mikey and that says a lot.

  6. Koolz 02:38pm, 02/20/2019

    ok this is for Tetumbo.  Because this is a surprising video that says Garcia has this fight.

  7. Koolz 02:22pm, 02/20/2019

    I believe I already explained that.  Do you know how to read?

  8. fan 07:22am, 02/20/2019

    when fight take place both same weight

  9. tetumbo 09:41pm, 02/19/2019

    Mikey is not Alexis moving up to face Pryor. he’s a more accomplished Duran with a longer reach moving up to face Spence who is no prime and undefeated Leonard. nonetheless, Spence’s size advantage is prohibitive but not unbeatable. Btw, Mikey has not had any trouble making weight since he moved up from featherweight. he may experience some trouble after bulking up(?) to welterish but could and would return to lightweight to finally get his gloves on Lomo, which is unlikely since Lomo desperately avoids ever crossing paths with Mikey.

  10. fan 07:11pm, 02/19/2019

    to avoid smaller vs bigger, we should have fight at natural weight week fight.

  11. Robert 05:29pm, 02/19/2019

    Mikey takes a terrible beating this time out. He simply does not have the size, strength or length to offset the size and power of Spence—and Spence is technically sound and in great condition. Mikey is not Alexis Arguello moving up to fight Pryor—Alexis was tall and had length that allowed him to offset Pryor’s greater strength—not to mention his superb technical skill—and rarely in Boxing history has a smaller man moved up to defeat a bigger fighter with talent, experience and skill.

  12. Koolz 03:57pm, 02/19/2019

    Hey dare to be great like Rigo!

    Look Garcia has a hard time making weight as it is and he can’t fight Loma at Loma’s weight class.  Loma can’t move up in weight look at how small his shoulder’s are, he is basically at his weight.

    I can’t see Garcia coming down after Spence destroys him in three rounds and then be able to make weight to fight Loma, I just can’t see it.

    Garcia wishes to be Great!  Well Great look at Roy Jones Right!

    Spence is going to absolutely destroy him.  Spence sparred Brant and Brant is a middle weight.  Brant said Spence hit harder than middle weights he has fought.

    Body shots will stop Garcia cold.

  13. The Barker 01:40pm, 02/19/2019

    Two things will decide Garcia’s chances: 1) How he handles Spence’s power 2)  How he handles Spence’s use of his size.

    Spence is not some lumbering brawler. He’s smart and supremely conditioned. Theirs will be a chess match for sure. It will be interesting to see if Garcia’s power is a factor in this fight. He doesn’t have the greatest footwork and has tasted the canvas before, but, he’s a smart and scrappy fighter.

  14. tetumbo 12:35pm, 02/19/2019

    Garcia is a legitimate top-5 P4Per and head and shoulders above the likes of promotional Hope and Hype jobs like Lomo and Lomo knows it, which is why he’s consistently avoided Garcia’s direct and public challenges over the past couple of years. meanwhile, what Garcia sees in Spence is a porous defense due in large part to Spence’s justifiable but flawed over-reliance on his potent offense. Mikey apparently believes that he’ll be able to time and catch Spence with enough of his own potent shots to either seriously hurt Spence or derail his previously successful fight-plan. at which point, the challenge will be to Spence’s versatility and resilience, which Mikey possesses in abundance. nonetheless, i anticipate that even a winning scenario for Mikey will include some serious punishment from Spence and the smart money must remain on Spence. anything to the contrary will be on par with Duran’s defeat of Leonard.

  15. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 10:56am, 02/19/2019

    I would love to have to eat my words on this one. No problem taking an L on predicting this fight wrong. I would even enjoy reading the follow up article written by Paul Magno telling everyone how stupid we were. hehe.  Garcia is a class act from what I have seen of him. Seems like a humble and down to earth guy. Unfortunately the good guy doesn’t always win in real life. HELL, it seems like the bad guy wins most of the time fo’ real, mate, but we gotz to keep fightin’ the good fight, troop. Rooting for the “little man” in this one.  Sorry to say but Spence by TKO in the middle of the fight is my prediction.

  16. thrashem 09:42am, 02/19/2019

    We are all on the same page. Garcia is not a PnP and has gone up too fast in weight for this test. Duran spent time fighting heavier opponents before going for a welterweight title shot and Garcia is no Duran. He is a slow starter, a plodder, too up right ...
    Don’t know what went through Garcia’s mind in choosing Spence. Loma was the obvious choice. It is a no win for Garcia, only survival!

  17. Koolz 05:40am, 02/19/2019

    This pretty funny I give Garcia no chance I don’t even think he is a PnP fighter or Hall of Fame material.  Spence will destroy him.  Garcia isn’t going to be able to take Spence’s Power. 

  18. Rob Mattews 04:48am, 02/19/2019

    This fight is not about boxing IQ. This fight is about how Garcia can carry his power to welterweight that Spence will respect. If he can’t, it will be avery bad night for him.

  19. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 04:44pm, 02/18/2019

    The old boxing adage of ” a good big man will beat a good little man” is probably true at least 90% of the time. I could list countless times that the bigger fighter won while you have a RELATIVELY small amount of cases where the guy moving up in weight came out on top. Garcia is no Pacquiao and lets not forget that it isn’t like Pacman beat a prime De La Hoya. Me thinks you are just rooting for Garcia because of his ethnicity. Pull those blinders off and try to look at this thing logically. “The bigger they are, the bigger the beating.” If boxing were truly a “thinking man’s sport,” then neither Spence nor Garcia would be world champion. Garcia has a chance of course, it is a fight and anything can happen, but no way would I put down money on him to win this fight.

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