On Saturday March 16th, unbeaten IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. will defend his title against undefeated WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. The fight will be broadcast in the USA on FOX PPV and in the UK on ITV4. Both Spence and Garcia are in the Top 10 of my most recent P4P rankings.
Tale of the Tape – Spence vs. Garcia
|Errol Spence Jr.||Mikey Garcia|
|Record||24-0-0 (21 KOs)||39-0-0 (30 KOs)|
|Country||United States||United States|
Fight Breakdown – Spence vs. Garcia
With an 88% knockout rate and an unblemished record, Errol Spence Jr. is regarded by many as the most dangerous welterweight in the world. Spence is on an 11-fight knockout streak that includes an eleventh-round stoppage of Kell Brook in England back in 2017 to win the IBF strap. Since then, Spence has wins over former two-division champion Lamont Peterson and the previously undefeated Carlos Ocampo.
Spence is a big, powerful southpaw known for his devastating body attack and technical skill. He has a great power jab which he regularly uses to set up heavy shots downstairs and to the head. In addition to his offensive skills, Spence has shown solid defense and a sturdy chin.
Mikey Garcia is a four-division world champion with recent wins over Adrien Broner, Sergey Lipinets, and Robert Easter Jr. Garcia, who owns the WBC lightweight belt and fought at 126 pounds as recently as 2013, will be essentially moving up two weight divisions for this fight.
A knockout artist at the lighter weights, Garcia has had to rely more on skill and footwork to defeat bigger men in recent fights. The veteran has one of the highest boxing IQs in the sport and possesses the toughness and talent to go along with it. Garcia’s best punches are his jab and straight right hand, though like his opponent Errol Spence he will sit down on his punches and throw bombs different angles if he sees an opening to do so.
Being the smaller man, Garcia absolutely needs to use his jab, head movement, and footwork to work his way into punching range where he can let his hands go. Spence has an excellent jab of his own, so fighting on the outside would theoretically put Garcia at a disadvantage. In my opinion, Spence has more options as to how he can approach this fight. He can either choose to box and counter Garcia, or go forward and try to impose his size and strength on the challenger; he probably will try both.
Prediction – Spence vs. Garcia
I predict a late-round TKO victory for Errol Spence Jr. Garcia has a pretty good chin and he does not get hit that much, but I think his only chance of winning is by going forward and taking the fight to Spence. In other words, there will be plenty of opportunities for Spence to hit him. Garcia has never faced somebody who hits even remotely as hard as Spence (at least on paper), and he has definitely never faced a fighter with the all-around skillset and talent that Spence has.
Now, on the other hand, Spence has never faced somebody with the skillset that Mikey Garcia has. The difference is Spence is used to getting hit by strong welterweight fighters, Garcia is not. Spence also has significant edges in height, weight, and reach. As great of a fighter that Garcia is (he is certainly the better fighter pound-for-pound, at least right now), I would be surprised if he pulled off the upset here. Things could go to a decision if both fighters choose to play it more safe, but even in that scenario I would favor the champion fighting in his hometown to get the benefit of the doubt if it is a close fight.
Respect to Mikey Garcia for daring to be great. He has nothing to prove, yet he is still willing to put his undefeated record on the line against an elite, bigger fighter. If he wins this fight and becomes a five-division champion in the process, not only does he become the #1 fighter in the world, he also secures a spot in the Hall of Fame. Despite the odds, he definitely has the tools to win, especially if Spence underestimates him and/or lets his guard down.
Will Spence’s size and power be too much for Mikey? Will the fight go the distance? Comment below with your opinion.