What Sugar Ray Leonard sees in Mikey Garcia

By Johnathan Lee Iverson on March 13, 2019
What Sugar Ray Leonard sees in Mikey Garcia
A loss doesn’t deter his career. He’s the smaller man facing a bigger man in Errol Spence.

When pressed to offer his prediction for the upcoming clash, the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard simply replied, “Because he’s Mikey…”

The atmosphere surrounding the impending events of March 16 between Errol Spence vs. Mikey Garcia is analogous to the atmosphere which surrounded Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard. The elephant in the room is, as it was then—curiosity:

What could he possibly see in an obviously bigger and unquestionably dominant foe that no one else does?

When pressed to offer his prediction for the upcoming clash, the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard simply replied, “Because he’s Mikey.” It remains to be seen what Garcia sees in Spence that no one else in the boxing universe, be it fighters, trainers, talking heads or fight fans can. Leonard also claimed he saw something in Hagler that convinced him he could win; and to the chagrin of some he most certainly did. The adage goes: game recognizes game. Sugar Ray Leonard was always the daring kind. All fighters have a touch of daring, even crazy in them or they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. However, the special ones tend to have an irregularly high dosage which, for better or worse, drives them toward challenges some deem insurmountable. Yet, it’s what makes them great.

The special ones have a keen sense of what’s needed to craft their respective legacies. The objective, above all else, is glory, the coveted prize of warriors past. They were the kid in their family’s bathroom mirror fantasizing about championship bouts, cheering fans, and interviews with talking heads, long before they learned to throw a sufficient jab. Fantasy would eventually give way to manifestation and manifestation to obsession and that obsession would morph into the compulsion which propels them to the most storied heights and even, the steepest lows. They are the risk takers who sincerely believe themselves to be the stuff of lore. The kind of lore that shifts and shapes with each rendering, nevertheless is passed down from generation to generation. In short, they’re contending for street cred. They want to be the talk of the barbershop or the boastrous chatter resonating from the occupants of the corner stoops, where old men shoot condescending stares and chide youthful fans about their lack of pugilistic knowledge (at least according to them), referring, with sacred reverence, to said fighters regaling anyone within earshot of their most legendary feats.

Mikey Garcia is a self proclaimed “Badass” and few would deny his assertion. In him Leonard sees a kindred spirit, thus, his prediction in favor of Garcia. He more than most understands that which motivates Garcia to endeavor such a perilous venture. The fact is, Mikey is truly in a no-lose situation. A loss doesn’t deter his career. He’s the smaller man facing a bigger man in Errol Spence.  A victory, against a primed and dangerous Spence, will not only be one of the most significant victories in the history of the sport—even more so than Leonard’s win over Hagler—it will position Garcia in a league all his own. As it was with Sugar Ray Leonard, Mikey Garcia will become the face of the sport.

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  1. Joe Giordano 04:21am, 03/16/2019

    Mikey Garcia sees himself a boxer capable of overcoming the odds , in the form of Errol Spence. Spence is an awesome foe, the best in his division. Mikey has great courage. Courage is what it takes to be a boxer, it makes boxing a compelling sport. Spence will not take the underdog lightly, he can not afford to make that mistake. Kudos to both boxers. Spence is likely to be more than Mikey can handle. Hard to picture Spence losing. Best outcome is that Garcia isn’t seriously injured .

  2. ROBERT STERN 05:28pm, 03/15/2019

    sadly what happens when we get 2 great fighters to sign on the dotted line[ some how/some way]there is a draw. why ? the dead presidents??? second fight then a third or [kind of a tie breaker, now that being said nothing has really changed in boxing in the past 30 or so years fights can still be fixed just in a different way. people like don king are paying off score keepers [who couldnt add 1&1 with there shoes off.we need to change the way things are done in boxing, there is just to much bull shit, this is how these guys pay there bills-do for there families- feed there kids, there ass is on the line whenever they enter the ring be fair to them. they deserve that.DONT THEY? THANKS ROBERT STERN..

  3. Koolz 02:41am, 03/15/2019

    Kid Blast
    no I can’t remember my other lives…were probably all from Atlantis constantly living out lives.
    I just see nothing special about Garcia or who he has won titles from.
    I give him no chance.
    If he was fighting Lomachenko then I would give him a fair shake.
    If Spence was fighting Crawford I would consider that a fair fight.

  4. Kid Blast 04:53pm, 03/14/2019

    Geezuz Koolz , did Garcia do something to you in another life?

  5. The Barker 02:04pm, 03/14/2019

    I don’t see Garcia winning, but I wouldn’t simply count him out. Spence hasn’t actually been tested and he’s vulnerable in the early rounds. Maybe that’s what Mikey is banking on.

  6. TheOneAndOnly 02:01pm, 03/14/2019

    I’m with you on this one. Either Spence kills him or the fix is in. Garcia doesn’t have the best defense either, so there’s that.

  7. Koolz 01:42pm, 03/14/2019

    strange jigsaw puzzle…
    Spence has more reach
    more height
    better movement(have you seen Spence spar?
    He hits harder
    has better body shots
    he is a southpaw…

    Garcia is shorter, smaller, coming up two weight divisions because thinks he
    see’s something?
    Garcia has one training camp that now is going to make him hit hard enough to keep a welterweight honest. 
    Garcia might be faster might have a little better timing with a stiff right jab.
    Spence should just be a train and run him over. 
    I am trying to figure out how Garcia has any chance at all and the puzzle won’t fall into place.
    I see a mismatch of the highest caliber here.

  8. Kid Blast 09:05am, 03/14/2019

    AKT, Not to mention winning big on the books. Mikey is the very definition of a live dog.

  9. AkT 08:42am, 03/14/2019

    If Mikey wins, I dunno really how to describe how shocked I’d be. It’d be like getting Santa to pay off your mortgage, and it actually happened!

    Spence is easy for the first couple of rounds, and then afterwards it’s non-stop pressure. If Mikeys punch isn’t respectable, i believe he’ll get knocked out. I really hope I’m wrong. It’ll be such a great story if he won.

  10. TheOneAndOnly 09:49pm, 03/13/2019

    If Mikey does win, which on paper he has no business doing, the fix is in. I’m calling it now. It is far more beneficial to the busine$$ of boxing to exalt a charismatic Latin/Hispanic Star than another black fighter. “If” Spence wins, only a decisive blowout will do. No black fighter out there has the salesmananship of Mayweather, no matter how skilled they are. The top two, Spence and Crawford are not big talkers outside the ring. They are Hagler types. Very blue collar and low key. Supposedly, stand up guys who stay out of trouble, but let’s just say if either had a tad of Adrien Broner’s penchant for attention they’d be signing monster deals with DAZN:)

  11. Koolz 06:07pm, 03/13/2019

    I just saw Garcia and Spence standing next to each other…
    Spence looks drained Garcia looks…small.  that’s right Garcia is small.
    How the heck do you all of the sudden have more speed, more power in one training camp to cope with moving up two divisions when you couldn’t even stop the guys in your own division.
    Not only that Spence is big for his division and so it’s almost as if Garcia is going up three weight divisions, a weight division where no matter what Garcia is little.

  12. Koolz 02:16pm, 03/13/2019

    forget boxing if I was Spence I would go in there and run him over just start wailing on him as he covers up and then go to the body the fight will be over in a round.

    There is no way Garcia isn’t getting hit.  Spence hits very hard.  Garcia’s gloves are not going to help him, he is going to be punished any time he is on the ropes.

    And let me check out Garcia’s last three fighters….yea that’s…that’s not going to help against Spence.

    Going to be a hell of a fight!

  13. The Barker 12:46pm, 03/13/2019

    It depends on how Garcia loses, assuming he does, that will determine the hit to his reputation and career. If Spence blows him out, Mikey will be humiliated and no longer the same confident fighter he’s always been.

  14. Kid Blast 11:34am, 03/13/2019

    That too

  15. Your Name 11:34am, 03/13/2019

    Mikey “steroids by Conte” Garcia!

  16. Kid Blast 11:18am, 03/13/2019

    Garcia has a higher Ring IQ, much better level of opposition (aka more experienced at top level), has better grasp of fundamentals and technique, has very solid corner, has bulked up, and can make adjustments as required. Spence has size, arguably a better body punching attack, and home field advantage, but Garcia is no Ocampo!

  17. Old Yank 08:30am, 03/13/2019

    Hagler did indeed weigh-in between 157 and 159 for many of his bouts. But keep in mind that from Hagler’s first pro bout in 1977 until 1983, the weigh-in was done the day of the bout. It was a Hagler habit to train to be under the limit the morning of the bout. By today’s standards and frankly in today’s environment of epidemic-level “cheating the scale”, Hagler would be a very small middleweight.

  18. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 06:24am, 03/13/2019

    Leonard’s CONVINCING WIN over Hagler was shocking. And to this day you still have people claiming Hagler won that fight?? Leonard boxed Hagler’s bald head silly. Btw, I was rooting for Hagler and I am a big Hagler fan.  No comparison between Leonard/Hagler and Garcia/Spence though. Leonard was coming off a 3 year retirement and Hagler was no longer in his prime. Hagler was an old 32 soon to be 33 year old, some say he was older than his listed age. What Leonard saw was Hagler struggling with an overblown lightweight, and his old rival Thomas Hearns splitting Hagler’s wig in their epic fight. The fight that really convinced Leonard that Hagler was ready to be taken was the Mugabi fight. Leonard waited until Hagler was beatable. Add to that a larger ring and a 12 round fight which both favored Leonard more than Hagler. And Leonard was taller than Hagler and not that much of a smaller man. Hagler, despite his muscular physique was not a huge middleweight and often fought at about 158lbs or so.

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