Mikey Garcia stands on the cusp of greatness as the Mexican-American bids to emulate the spectacular achievements of Floyd Mayweather.
Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) is striving to put together a legendary career and is aggressively pursuing that goal.
He has won world championships at featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight. He now eyes a welterweight title against the consensus class of the division in Spence.
2Fighting out of Moreno Valley, California, Garcia unified the IBF and WBC Lightweight World Championships in his last bout by scoring a unanimous decision victory over Robert Easter, Jr. on July 28.
The 31-year-old first reached the championship ranks by blitzing through the featherweight and junior lightweight division. Defeating Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez, Roman Martinez and Juan Carlos Burgos to establish himself as a star in the sport.
Garcia has been on a fast track since ending a nearly 2-1/2-year hiatus with a knockout victory over Elios Rojas in 2016.
After the victory over Rojas, Garcia scored a KO victory over Dejan Zlaticanin for the WBC lightweight championship in January 2017. Before defeating four-division champion Adrien Broner in July. Then captured a title at 140-pounds by dropping and defeating Sergey Lipinets last March.
Speaking regarding the career-definning fight, Garcia is ready to shine in Texas.
“In my career I’ve always sought to fight the best in boxing and this fight against Errol Spence Jr. is just that,” said Garcia.
“I want to be known as one of the all-time greats and what better way to do that than to win a welterweight title and become a five-division world champion.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Errol and what he’s accomplished, but I fully expect to leave the ring at AT&T Stadium with the welterweight world title.
“This is a match that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and I plan on giving the fans a performance they’ll never forget.’
“These are the kinds of challenges I want. I need someone like Errol Spence Jr., with his demeanor and style, to bring the best out of me. I want the world to finally see the full Mikey Garcia.
“The training that we did in the Bay Area definitely helped me. We are going up in weight and needed to do a different type of training.
“We wanted to make sure that we gained a little bit of mass so that I can be able to hold off Errol Spence’s weight and strength.
“The key to my strength training was that we didn’t want to lose my speed and explosiveness. I can see now that I’m back in sparring that I still have that speed while also gaining the muscle we had to.
“If people say Errol is bigger, that’s just obvious. But who’s faster? Who has better timing? There’s a lot more that goes into this sport and who’s going to win this particular fight.
“When I saw him fight Lamont Peterson I decided that Errol Spence Jr. was the fight I wanted one day. People tried to talk me out of it, but now they’re all on board.
“People have now started to see what I’m going to be capable of on March 16.
“I want the best Errol Spence Jr. I know he’s a great fighter with a lot of skills and talent. He hasn’t needed to use all of his skills, just like me. He does everything well, but nothing spectacular.
“I just feel like I’m the better fighter. I think I have the advantage everywhere except maybe power, but we’ll find out on fight night.
“This is history in the making. I’m trying to establish a great legacy. This is the kind of fight that I need. I know my fans are going to show up and give me a lot of support. This fight truly excites me and motivates.
“I’m not going to let this fight slip away. I’m going to establish myself as one of the best of the generation and eventually one of the best of all time,” he added.
Spence has the pressure of being the favorite. He’s expected to win, but then so were Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito by many experts when a slighter Manny Pacquiao moved up.
“Every time I see Mikey I get excited and anxious and want to go to the gym and spar. Looking into Mikey’s eyes, I can see how hungry he is and that’s motivating me,” said Spence.
“Mikey is very difficult because of how he places his punches. He’s always thinking and he has a high ring IQ.
“But I’ve been clicking on all cylinders. I’m strong mentally and physically and prepared for anything he brings to the table. A win here can definitely catapult me and I’m ready to make it happen.
“Any athlete would love to have their home team supporting them. It just so happens I have the most popular team in the world right here in Dallas.
“It means a lot because they don’t have to do that. I’m very humbled and it feels great to represent Dallas. I always support my people here.
“I’m 100 percent prepared and focused on Mikey Garcia. I’m hungry and I’m already on weight. I can’t wait to put on another show. March 16, you have to make sure you don’t miss it. It’s going to be a legendary night.”
After the weigh-in, Garcia seemed even more confident of victory.
“This fight deserves a home like this. This fight deserves this type of atmosphere and energy. I was a Cowboys fan myself growing up. Now I’m here in their home about to have the biggest fight of my career.
“It’s unbelievable, but here we are. I’m excited to make this a memorable night. This is history in the making.
“I’m very excited for what’s coming in a few weeks. This is a fight that I really wanted and it’s definitely the biggest challenge of my career. To fight the best welterweight in the division is no easy task. Errol Spence Jr. is going to bring the best out of me.
“I’m sure Errol is getting ready for the biggest fight of his career just like I am. That’s what’s going to make this interesting. That’s the recipe for a tremendous fight. It’s not very common to see two of the pound-for-pound best, still undefeated and fighting each other in their prime.
“We’ve been implementing techniques that will help me improve my speed, explosiveness and reaction time, while also adding a little bit of mass. I think all of that is going to be beneficial to me on fight night. I feel very happy with the results.
“If I don’t take these risks, then I won’t be rewarded. I want to be recognized as one of the greatest and the best of this generation. How can I achieve that if I don’t take these risks? That’s why I’m taking the biggest fight available.”
Mikey’s brother and trainer Robert gave his view: “We’ve had a great training camp and our sparring partners are doing a great job preparing us for a very tough challenge.
“By the time the fight comes, you’re going to see what Mikey is all about. Everyone who watches this fight is going to enjoy a great night of boxing.”
As they say, an exceptional little ‘un always beats a very good big ‘un. Errol Spence is still yet to fully prove he’s on the very highest level in the sport.
If he wins, Spence won’t get the credit he deserves until he beats a Pacquiao or Keith Thurman at his own weight.
Garcia is riding the crest of a wave and has looked unbeatable at times in the ring. He has that eye of the tiger that could be lacking in Spence merely due to the weight issue.
Spence has a big burden to carry as the larger man, and that may well lead to Garcia being able to maneuver his way to a points win.
If he stays out of trouble, Garcia could win by at least eight rounds to four.
Tickets for this showdown, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now. They can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.