There is a historical precedent for lightweights moving up to fight welterweights. Many of the greatest at 133/135 have attempted this very feat, with a number of the best successfully capturing the crown. While Spence is not the champion at 147, nor is Garcia the man technically two divisions below, this fight represents something close to a modern tribute and warrants respect. Garcia has received criticism all-around for some of his career choices but this is a task that some welterweights seemed hesitant to try.
Will Garcia prove the the doubters wrong and stun much of the boxing world? Can Spence be the first to knock off his smaller foe? We asked 11 fellas to hear their thoughts.
Roy Bennett (CN) – Independent Writer: Spence
Let’s not pretend Spence v Garcia is a fight boxing fans have been banging the drums for. No one called for it because no one wanted it – and yet here we are.
Against the advice of his father and brother, Mikey Garcia has decided to risk it all to climb two weight classes to take on one of the most dangerous and avoided fighters in the sport, when a bigger fight and a more lucrative challenge against Vasily Lomachenko awaits where Garcia normally resides at 135lbs. Garcia says he’s doing it for his legacy and as an attempt at greatness but the flip side of that dream is the nightmare of a potentially crushing defeat. Garcia has excellent balance and is an adept at controlling distance with well-timed one-twos but this is not a fight he can win by throwing punches from across the street. He’s going to have to engage the younger, bigger, stronger fighter in spurts and therein lies the danger. Spence will bring a kind of irresistible force to bear against Garcia who cannot afford to play the role of immovable object. He must move and he must fight for three minutes of every round because Spence will force him to do so. As the pressure from Spence continues to increase cracks will begin appearing in Garcia’s efforts by the sixth and I see him having to be saved by his corner or the referee before the tenth.
Erich Edmonds (USA) – TGTN Staff Writer: Garcia
Saturday night has the potential to be a future classic. We have two undefeated champs who are both on the p4p list stepping up to face each other. There’s the old adage that goes, a good big man will always beat a good little man. But what happens when that little man is more than good, possible even great. One example that comes to mind is Pacquiao vs De La Hoya. On that night the boxing world saw the much smaller man completely dismantle the bigger man. Another example, while not necessarily a little man, Kell Brook jumped two weight classes to fight GGG which resulted in a TKO loss for Brook and a broken orbital bone. Saturday night we’ll see if Mikey Garcia is another great little man by fighting the boogie man of the welterweight division, Errol Spence Jr. Spence is bigger, stronger and a highly skilled boxer in his own right. In order for Garcia to be successful he’s going to have to feint, get his shots off and get out quick to avoid as much punishment as possible. If Garcia takes too much punishment it’s going to end with Spence walking Mikey down and landing those brutal punches he’s so well known for. Mikey needs to be light on his feet and stay mobile while Spence needs to cut off the ring and give Mikey nowhere to go. If Garcia is able to stay mobile and avoid Spence’s shots, I can see him taking it 12 rounds and possibly pulling out a decision, but if he can’t there’s a good chance Spence can end the night early. If I were a betting man my brain would pick Spence to win by either KO or split decision. On the other hand my heart wants to see Garcia prove his greatness and pull out a decision win. Whatever the outcome this fight is a win for boxing and it’s fans.
Mikey Garcia wins by split decision.
Jack Sumner (UK) – TGTN Staff Writer: Spence
I think Garcia has the edge in overall boxing skills, but normally when a top fighter is moving up in weight it’s for a fight where they also hold a significant speed advantage. I’m not sure Mikey has that over Errol, who is fast and athletic at welter. Then considering the difference in power, size height and reach, I can only see Garcia being outgunned. It may take a few rounds and Garcia will no doubt have periods of success but Spence wins by stoppage. Spence by mid-to-late rounds TKO.
George Jolly (USA) – Boxing Fan: Garcia
What Mikey has that sets him apart from the rest, will set him apart from Errol Spence Saturday night. A dedication to craft and the possession of a subtle sophistication inside the ring. Mikey with his economy of movement will stay half-steps just inside and outside of Spence’s sweet spot. Manipulating angles for new openings, a textbook jab, and steady straight right hands will be Mikey’s staples, but I also suspect some lead left hooks creating openings for uppercuts, and the occasional overhand right to surprise the taller Spence. Mikey takes Spence the distance and gets the decision.
Michael Atkins (USA) – TGTN Staff Writer: Spence
Put me in the camp of people who do not see Spence/Garcia as a truly competitive fight. I think I get what Mr. Garcia is thinking, and why he thinks, believes, he can win, I just don’t see it for a number of reasons, that combined with Spence’s size, will make this like climbing Everest without oxygen for Garcia.
Firstly, there is the size. It’s not a small difference. Spence, really, is a small middleweight, while Mikey is a lightweight. It isn’t just a few pounds, Spence is a different sized guy. Secondly, Garcia, while a fighter with textbook perfect form and skills, is not a mover who can skirt the ring and limit the exchanges. Garcia is a solid defensive fighter, but not a defensive master by any means. Roberto Duran was able to move up in weight successfully and, especially above 154, this was made possible, more than anything else, by his tremendous defensive ability. Garcia does not have that. Thirdly, Errol Spence is, at least, a very good fighter, not some crude, easily out-boxed strongman. He is a skilled, strong, pressure-boxer with a good jab–a devastating, committed body-puncher. Fourth. Spence’s demeanor. Errol Spence is that guy who, once he determines you cannot hurt him, will just walk straight through you and pound you out. It’s at this point that he really cranks up the power, especially to the body, until it’s over.
I firmly believe that Spence, if he comes out hot, could end this in 3 or 4, but my hunch is that he takes a look at Garcia first before bringing the heat. Garcia opens up confident and looks sharp. At some point, early, he lines Spence up for his best shot and bounces off of him. At that point, the fight is essentially over. Spence by KO/TKO in about the 6th round.
Zakwaan Shaukat Ali (UK) – TGTN Staff Writer: Spence
Spence vs Garcia – Mikey Dares to be Great
When this fight first got announced, I echoed the same sentiment of many fans, I was disappointed and ultimately thought it was a mismatch. Also, mainly because Garcia could have the legacy-defining fight in his own weight class vs Lomachenko for all the marbles. In my opinion a win vs Lomachenko is as good as beating Spence.
Mikey Garcia, as much as he is a great P4P fighter, and highly skilled, he’s been very strategic with his opponents/career especially since his comeback. So I automatically assumed this was more for financial reasons, much like Brook Vs GGG and Canelo Vs Khan.
But as time has gone on, I’ve warmed to the fight and more specifically, Mikey’s innate desire to be great and take the biggest challenges regardless of motive. It is something that isn’t uncommon throughout boxing history and has happened many times, so why berate Mikey for stepping up doing what old school fighters used to do?
I would rate him P4P number 1 if he wins.
In terms of prediction of how I think this fight pans out:
I believe Mikey has the edge in terms of boxing ability, skills and IQ, however, Spence also not a bad boxer himself, is physically much bigger and stronger. I think Mikey may have his way for the first few rounds, but from the mid rounds Spence will take over, with his relentless pace/work rate, attack the body then up top with vicious left hooks.
I simply can’t see Mikey sustaining that kind of punishment from the bigger guy.
Spence KO mid-to-late rounds.
Paul Cupitt (AUS) – TGTN Staff Writer: Spence
Spence by knockout in the middle rounds. Garcia is a great boxer and I think he can make things difficult but Spence’s size and his body punching will eventually catch up on him.
Bob Day (UK) – TGTN/Ringnews24 Staff Writer: Spence
The fight has me intrigued and on different levels. What does Team Garcia see that many don’t? Mikey earns big paydays, so this is a risk. Sure, this will be his biggest payday but he could’ve kept rolling nicely, without this challenge. It’s to his credit, that he’s going out of his comfort zone to confront a bigger, stronger, top-level foe.
Errol Spence needed a high-profile fight and he’s got it. He’s expected to win but I think he’ll still gain kudos, due to the skill-level of Mikey. The fight doesn’t prove that Errol is the main man in his division, he needs to beat the likes of Crawford and Thurman for that bragging right. But, it helps lift his profile and matches him against a P4P opponent.
No catchweight, which is nice these days. Two undefeated champions, who have shown they belong at the top.
Garcia will be cautious and pick his spots and he could well have success. I favour Errol and think it will be an emphatic ending in the later stages. Two top fighters but the bigger, stronger man should, eventually, solve the puzzle and become too much. I don’t believe it’s a formality but I’m siding with the big welter. Errol Spence KO.
Christopher Carlson (USA) – TGTN Writer/Host for Rope-A-Dope Radio: Spence
Write-up and preview coming tomorrow.
Jeremiah Preisser (USA) – TGTN Editor/Writer/Co-Host: Spence
Mikey Garcia took a page out of Max Schmeling’s book when he said, “I see something.” Maybe he does. Maybe it’s noticing that Spence isn’t a great defender and he figures his jab and right hand are the foil to Spence’s southpaw style. It’s not the wildest of ideas. Of course Errol sees something, too, and that is that Garcia is a smaller man who likes to fence at mid-to-long range, and Mikey may not like the rough stuff, as well. And rough it’s going to be, as Spence pushes and punches all night long until Garcia wilts late.
Mike Goodpaster (USA) – TGTN Owner: Garcia
I think Garcia could very well be the best pound for pound fighter in the world. The issue comes from a jump from 135-147 and if he can still be good enough to win this fight. I think he MUST get in tight. He can’t afford to give Spence distance. If he does it could be a short night. I just have a feeling that when Garcia says he sees something, he really does. Spence is still somewhat an unknown quantity and he will be tested here. I like Garcia by a close split decision that will make him a consensus number one fighter in the world. The best part is I think this will be a great fight!
Garcia by SD.
The Final Tally
Errol Spence – 8/Mikey Garcia – 3