By: Kirk Jackson
“He’s a great champion. He’s the truth,” said Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KO’s) after a long, hard fought battle against the top welterweight in the world.
“He executed his game plan very well. He came out here with a good game plan and kept the distance in his favor. I couldn’t get my rhythm going, and he did what he had to do. I tried to make adjustments and he kept executing.”
The undefeated Errol “The Truth” Spence (25-0, 21 KO’s) executed a near-perfect fight in his first Pay-Per-View event. The defending IBF welterweight champion put on a 12-round boxing clinic in the battle of the undefeated boxers, winning by lopsided margins on all three judges’ scorecards (120-107, 120-108 and 120-108).
It’s fitting pound-for-pound greats Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were sitting ringside as this fight resembled some sort of passing of torch.
The wrongly perceived “Brawler” pitched a shut-out against a top pound-for-pound fighter perceived by many as the more intelligent and greater skilled fighter.
“Throughout training camp, a lot of commentators thought he was too smart and I couldn’t box as well as him,” said Spence, who called out Manny Pacquiao after his extraordinary victory. “I showed I can box and I can move my head if I want to.”
“The game is to be smart. It’s the sweet science. I had the size and reach advantage, so why not use it to take away the jab? It’s a weapon for me and it takes away one of his weapons.”
CompuBox credited Spence for landing 345-of-1,082 overall punches, 270 more than Garcia (75-of-406). According to CompuBox, Spence connected on 183 more power punches (237-of-464 to 54-of-218) and 87 more jabs (108-of-618 to 21-of-188). Stat of the night is Garcia never landed more than 10 punches in a single round.
Spence’s jab controlled the fight that can be deemed as a one-sided massacre. Working off his jab, the defending IBF welterweight champion landed powerful straight left hands and looping left hands around Garcia’s guard, piercing the four-division champion’s chin.
Renowned trainer and Fox analyst Joe Goossen, who appeared in favor of Garcia based on his commentary, even remarked on Spence’s ability to land the looping left hand in round 3 stating, “He’s starting to find that, that’s a punch that Mikey, as smart as he is, shouldn’t be getting hit with.”
The Texas native also displayed superior footwork in front of his hometown crowd of approximately 47,500. It was a frequent occurrence to witness Spence slip, block and outright avoid most of Garcia’s punches. There were even brief moments in the fight Spence switched back and forth between southpaw and orthodox stances, landing punishing punches in the process.
“The Truth” looked more like Marvin Hagler as opposed to Antonio Margarito and “The Truth” hurts. There were times late in the fight where Errol was digging nasty body shots and punishing Mikey, reducing him to a punching bag.
“My brother wanted to maybe stop the fight in the later rounds,” Garcia said. “He didn’t want to let me get hit more, but I told him I was fine and I tried to go out there and pull it off. I thought I could have landed one good shot to change everything, but I wasn’t able to land it.”
“We just went 12 rounds with a great welterweight champion,” Garcia said. “That’s a feat no one has done recently. I’m proud of what I was able to do. I have to go back and think about it. I will probably go back to lighter divisions, but we’ll have to think about it.”
While Garcia didn’t maintain the “Energy” required to execute his game-plan and exploit the weaknesses he claims to have analyzed regarding Spence’s technique, Garcia displayed a tremendous amount of courage.
He dared to be great. Mikey should also be commended for showcasing true sportsmanship along with Errol’s camp as well. Both fighters exemplify championship grit.
But there are no consolation prizes in boxing and it’ll be back to the drawing board for the Garcia clan. A move back down to junior welterweight or lightweight is more than likely in the cards for the four-division champion. As of now, the welterweight titles are not in reach and the same relates to his recent opponent, as we’re currently in the Errol Spence era.
Gracious in defeat, Garcia did not make any excuses and neither should the media or the fans; Spence deserves full credit for his victory.
Remember, Garcia stated, “Saturday night, Errol is going to find out why I picked this fight,” Garcia said. “All of my opponents say they don’t see anything special when they watch me, until they get into the ring. I have all the tools and all the skills needed to beat Errol Spence Jr. When it comes to timing, speed, reflexes and defense, you name it, I’m better.”
Spence offered his retort stating, “The size difference won’t matter. Skill for skill and talent for talent, I’m more dominant than him in every aspect,” Spence said in response. “I’ll beat him at anything he wants to do. On paper, he’s the toughest opponent to date but once we get in the ring we’ll find out.”
“Mikey is supposed to think he’s going to win this fight. He called me out, so they obviously think that they see something. I’m glad he’s as confident as I am. I hope he keeps that same energy inside of the ring.”
Spence certainly validated the opinions of the few of us in the media who thought he possessed greater skill and boxing ability compared to Garcia. He definitely kept that same energy before, during and after the fight.
Time will tell if someone can match his energy.