Welterweight Boxing Preview: Mikey Garcia vs. Errol Spence Jr.
March 17th is the date we have all been waiting for. The day when the welterweight division could see a shakeup, Errol Spence Jr. Vs. Mikey Garcia.
This is a true boxing fan’s dream, champion vs champion, both fighters undefeated, and one of the fighters is jumping in weight to try to cement his legacy.
Errol Spence Jr. is listed as a -400 (moderate) favorite over Mikey Garcia who is a 3/1 underdog in the bout. But does that mean we should hurry up and throw our money on Spence Jr? Let’s break it down.
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The atmosphere in Arlington, Texas will be electric. Garcia has a massive fan-base in the Southwest. But will the fight live up to all of the hype? Mikey Garcia is a Champion … but a lightweight champ. He’s moving up two full weight classes to try and unseat Errol Spence Jr. from his welterweight throne
They say that Garcia hits as hard as any welterweight … but I’m not sure if we should buy into that. Punching power does have a lot to do with the amount of weight coming from behind the fist, so he may be the hardest punching lightweight, but to say he punches as hard as any welterweight is reaching a bit too far. He punches as hard as some welterweights would be a more accurate statement. But does he punch hard enough to throw a guy like Spence of his game? That’s the question.
There is no doubt that Mikey Garcia is a world-class fighter. He is adaptable and will do whatever necessary to win. He has no quit in him. But Errol Spence Jr. has been coasting through the welterweight division for quite some time. There just doesn’t seem to be anyone that can really challenge him. Lamont Peterson, the former super lightweight champ, quit during his fight with Spence because he was being mauled so badly. Twenty-one of his twenty-four professional fights have come by way of knockout. And against guys naturally bigger the Mikey Garcia. It’s commendable that Garcia is challenging himself to such a degree, but will the fight be competitive; will it live up to the hype?
The odds-boards say that it should be fairly competitive. They don’t have Spence listed as a -1200 favorite or anything extreme.
Mikey has a few things going for him. He has an extremely high ring IQ. Part of this is instinctual and another part is wisdom earned through battling against top-opponents nearly 40 times. He also has an interesting punch delivery. Placement and angles make it hard for opponents to time him or evade him. If we shrunk Spence down to a walking lightweight, I would give the fight Garcia in a heartbeat. But the ugly truth is Spence is a whole lot bigger than Garcia. So even if Mikey boxes better, will it be enough? Will it be nothing more than peppering shots to the larger fighter?
Spence has four inches of height and two inches of reach on Garcia and his average fighting weight is 150-pounds. Garcia’s career high was 139.5 against Broner and after that, he admitted that weighing in at lightweight is optimal for him. So, the argument that he can put on weight is moot. If Garcia puts on too much mass for the Spence fight, he would lose his main advantages: speed, and endurance.
The fight will be entertaining for a few rounds. Garcia will be peppering Spence and outboxing him. Then at some point, Spence will just start pushing Garcia around with heavier punches and more substantial body weight and take over the fight. Garcia has to change his thinking for this fight and try to win on points. For him, this has to be a boxing match, not a fight. If he can keep away from Spence and avoid taking damage, he has the opportunity to win a decision. But if he stands in there and fights Spence, he is going to end up on the losing end of a size battle and end up TKOd or KOd.