PBC on Fox Results: Garcia Stops Granados, Ruiz Stops Dimitrenko
By: Hans Themistode
What a statement!
Adrian Granados suffered the first stoppage loss of his career tonight at the Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson California at the hands of Danny Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs). Granados is known for his aggressive come forward style, along with his granite chin but that aforementioned chin could not hold up to the power of Garcia tonight. During the build up of the fight, Garcia warned Granados that he would do what others have not, and that is stop the Chicago native.
In round one Garcia came out aggressive. He landed a monster left hand that had his opponent visibly hurt. Not to be outdone, Granados landed a few good shots of his own but it was Garcia who thoroughly dominated the action early on.
The second round for the former two division world champion was a superb one. Garcia caught his man with a huge left hook, one that Granados did not see him coming. Shortly after Granados hit the deck. He managed to make to his feet and did not seem to be in serious trouble. Garcia gave his opponent no time to relax as a right hand by Garcia landed with just a few seconds left on the clock. Again, Granados hit the deck.
After a great round two, the rest of the contest was a bit more of a balanced playing field. Garcia continued to have more success than his opponent but Granados had his moments.
Garcia landed hard shot after hard shot which in turn made Granados back peddle for the majority of the contest. Round five saw Garcia score yet another knockdown, but once again Granados managed to jump back up to his feet.
As we went to round seven, it was becoming increasingly clear that Garcia was on his way to an easy decision victory. However, that was not enough as he poured on the power shots and combination punching which forced the referee to put a halt to the contest.
Granados has never been known as a world beater, but he has always been incredibly durable. He has faced former champion Adrian Broner and current WBC title holder Shawn Porter. Although he lost both of those contest he was never in any danger of being seriously hurt. Garcia put the rest of the Welterweight division on notice. Many have written him off, thinking that his days as a contender were over but think again.
Sure, Garcia had a dominant performance tonight but he isn’t the only one who performed at a high level as both Heavyweight contender Andy Ruiz Jr (32-1, 21 KOs) and Super Bantamweight fighter Brandon Figueroa (19-0, 14 KOs) dominated their opposition as well. For Ruiz he picked up a fifth round stoppage win over Alexander Dimitrenko (41-5, 26 KOs).
Dimitrenko just had no answers for Ruiz who was the much better boxer and had his hand speed on full display. Although Ruiz was at a large deficit in terms of height and reach, it didn’t matter tonight as Ruiz quite simply beat up his larger opponent to the tune of a fifth round stoppage.
Also on the card, Brandon Figueroa not only had a dominant performance but he also picked up the interim WBA Super Bantamweight title against Yonfrez Parejo (22-4-1, 11 KOs).
The contest started off close as both men had plenty of success. Through four rounds it was anybody’s contest. The fifth round however, changed the landscape of the fight as Figueroa hurt his man. The punishment continued as the rounds went by. After eight rounds Parejo could no longer continue and was forced to withdraw from the contest.
All three men made impressive statements tonight. They have all solidified their positions as top contenders in their respective divisions.
PBC Boxing Preview: Garcia vs. Granados
By: Hans Themistode
It’s hard to believe but former two division champion Danny Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs) has become an afterthought. This Saturday night, he takes on Adrian Granados (20-6-2, 14 KOs) at the Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson California and there really isn’t much buzz surrounding the contest. Its mostly because current WBO Welterweight champion Terence Crawford and Amir Khan have stolen much of the headlines, as they’ll be battling it out in Madison Square Garden on the same night.
It has mostly relegated Garcia to the sidelines. It isn’t a surprise. Crawford vs Khan is a much more compelling matchup than Garcia vs Granados. Garcia should seemingly roll right through Granados, or at least he should right?
For as much grief as Garcia gets from the fans, he is still a terrific fighter. His resume ranks amongst some of the very best in all of boxing. Wins over the likes of Zab Judah, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson and others have solidified his position. His two losses to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter were close fights that could have gone either way. In short, Garcia is an elite fighter. Granados on the other hand is a differently story entirely.
Granados lost his second pro bout. Hardly the mark of an elite fighter. His resume is littered with losses and draws against opponents that are hardly known in the boxing world. He is a tough nosed competitor who seems to always receive the short end of the stick. His loss to Adrien Broner was debatable. The defeat he suffered at the hands of current WBC Welterweight champ Shawn Porter, was a close call.
In 2015, he picked up his biggest win to date when he surprisingly defeated then undefeated Amir Imam. Granados has recently gotten two wins via stoppage against Luis Valdez and Adalberto Borquez, he will be looking to make Garcia his third straight knockout victim.
A win for Granados doesn’t seem likely, but if we take a deeper look, his chances of pulling off the upset increases. Granados will carry a half inch height advantage along with a significant six inch reach advantage as well. Garcia, also has a style that many would consider tailor made for Granados. Garcia is a counter puncher, he allows his opponents to initiate offense which allows him to sit back and counter. He isn’t a volume puncher but he is an accurate one. Granados on the other hand, throws punches in bunches. His work rate and granite chin could cause some problems for the former champion.
Being written off is something that Granados has grown accustomed to. However, Danny Garcia must be weary, if he underestimates his opponent he could be in for a long night.
Granados won’t be the only massive underdog on this card as Heavyweight contender Alexander Dimitrenko (41-4, 26 KOs) takes on former title challenger Andy Ruiz Jr (31-1, 20 KOs).
Let’s be honest here. Dimitrenko, who is coming off a knockout loss at the hands of Bryant Jennings, is essentially being brought in here to make Ruiz look good. Dimitrenko has lost every time he has stepped up his level of opposition. Ruiz has tasted defeat just one time in his career, a 2016 majority decision loss to Joseph Parker. Ruiz has won two straight victories since then and is looking to pick up his third win and position himself for a future title shot.
Much like Granados, Dimitrenko has plenty of advantages on paper including a five inch height advantage to go along with a staggering eight inch reach advantage. At age 36, he also has experience on his side as well. If Ruiz hopes to add his name in the mix in the Heavyweight division than he will need to dispatch of of Dimitrenko in impressive fashion.
While Danny Garcia and Andy Ruiz will be looking to re-establish themselves as title threats in their respective divisions, both Brandon Figueroa (18-0, 13 KOs) and Yonfrez Parejo (22-3-1, 11 KOs) will be battling for gold as the interim WBA Super Bantamweight title will be up for grabs.
Both men will be highly motivated to bring the title home with them. In the case of Figueroa, he will be looking to continue his impressive run. Not only has he gone undefeated in 18 pro bouts but he has also stopped his last five opponents. Parejo has only been stopped one time in his 10 year career. Parejo recently challenged Ryan Burnett for his WBA title but fell short. He will now get another crack at the title with hopes of a different result.
All three of these fights represent something significant. No one can afford to lose. The men that go on to achieve glory come Saturday night will have a plethora of options awaiting them while the losers will be forced to the bottom of the barrel.
The Other Fight this Saturday: Danny Garcia vs. Adrian Granados
By: Rahat Haque
All eyes will be turned towards Khan vs. Crawford this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Several articles have been written on that fight in this very site, including one by the author of this article. However, there is another fight that will take place on the same night on the other coast, in Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California. Danny Garcia vs Adrian Granados. While the Fox card will carry much lesser intrigue than its ESPN counterpart, it is still a match worth watching.
Danny Garcia is the bigger name, and will be drawing most of the audience for the fight. Here is a man who has worked very hard to climb up the ranks and make himself a name in the sport of boxing. But whatever Danny does, he is always seen as the underdog against legitimate opposition. His fans will remind you of that no doubt, but it is a valid criticism from the neutrals. There is something in Danny’s game that is not convincing enough to make you think he will cruise past his opponents. He was the underdog vs Khan and Matthysse. He did win both fights, but most claim the victory versus Khan to be a work of Khan’s own undoing. Similarly, most claim the victory over Matthysse as a result of the cut on Lucas’s right eye, which bothered the Argentinian slugger for most of the fight. Fans also frown upon the fact that he took too many low blows from Danny in that encounter.
Regarding Danny’s demolition jobs against Rod Salka and Paulie Malignaggi, he is again discredited as having cherry picked his opponents. The Rod Salka matchmaking was a shocker, and Malignaggi was already over the hill. Most fans looked at the latter as setting up an old man up for a devastating left hook, which is of course how things turned out. Then there were also the controversial decisions where people felt Danny got the nod. The Lamont Peterson fight was extremely close, I attended that fight live at Barclays Center as a matter of fact. I did score it for Danny, but by only one round. The Herrera fight in Puerto Rico was the much bigger controversy. The majority of the boxing world agreed that Danny was beneficiary of some home cooking.
So as Danny Garcia raked up the wins prior to his first defeat versus Thurman, it was not at all a stellar critique free resume from his end. He won all right, but fans were hesitant in giving him credit because either they disagreed with the scorecards, or they thought the opposition was too weak, or they believed he got lucky. The bubble was supposed to burst against Keith Thurman for the Philadelphia pugilist. It did. That was no surprise again to most observers. Thurman was one of the big stars at 147. But could Danny bounce back and beat Shawn Porter with his boxing skills and power? It would be an easier task than the Thurman fight, and if Danny was as good as his loyalists said he was, he should have had no problems negating the athleticism and work rate of Shawn Porter with his mix of skills and power. But he could not overcome Porter and ended up with another loss. That was the low point of Danny Garcia’s career, his boxing nadir.
Come this Saturday night, it is his chance to get back to winning ways against Adrián Granados. Even though a bigger name opposition would be preferable, at least he did not reach down to the level of boxer-cum-trainers like Rod Salka. No disrespect intended for Lightning Rod, he is very knowledgeable about the game, but he himself would tell you that he is a journeyman and was on no one’s radar when the fight between him and Danny first got announced. That is not the case with Granados. Here is a man who has quietly build himself a reputation ever since surprising Amir Imam with a TKO. Imam was considered a rising prospect until then. But does Adrián have the firepower to trouble Danny? It is unlikely. Danny has demonstrated he has a great chin versus Peterson and Rios. Some heavy punches were landed throughout the course of those fights, but none which rocked Garcia too badly. Also, if this fight should at any point turn into a shootout, Granados would not be wise to trade hooks with Garcia. Granados has guts definitely, it shows in the way he fights, and his tempo can take fighters by surprise. But what Danny has is experience and calculated power, which he can unleash when in range. If Adrián come rushing in, he is setting himself up. That will be playing into former welterweight champion’s style, where he favors being the non-aggressor. However, if Adrián chooses his moments when to be on the front foot, but also mix it up by urging Danny to come forward, à la Mauricio Herrera, it should make for an interesting fight.
The most likely outcome is an easy decision win for Garcia, where Granados gets debilitated throughout the course of the fight by Danny’s punches, but continues his charge as an aggressor, albeit with less fervor. This will be the dream sequence for Danny, where he can connect cleanly every time as a weakened Granados comes charging forward. But at the same light, it is also a banana peel for Danny. He is not one of the biggest names in the division anymore after the back-to-back defeats, but because he has crossed that fame threshold, any losses against upstarts like Granados will not look good at all! So while we hold our breaths for the Khan Crawford fight, we might as well pay attention to the fight taking place on the west coast. The more polished Danny is the overwhelming favorite, but Granados is a live underdog.
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia: Why this Trend has to stop.
By: Rahat Haque
There is a reason there are weight classes in boxing, and the mid-March main event between Mikey Garcia and Errol Spence Jr proved it. While it is great to see two star names face off against each other, it is not so great to see a one sided beat down. The fight started off well enough, showing signs of a high level chess match between two fighters who didn’t want to risk it. Anytime you have such a boxing match, you get butterflies in your stomach, the stakes are high, and you can’t imagine any one guy losing. But by the 4th round, the verdict was clear. Mikey was using his boxing skills to survive, and all the thrill was extinguished. It became a boring one sided match after that.
All three judges didn’t give a single round to the Oxnard native. One can perhaps argue he won the 2nd round, it was the round where he found the most success, coming to the center of the ring to meet Spence. But that allowed Spence to gauge his opponent’s power, which he didn’t respect at all for the rest of the fight. He walked Mikey down, he swiveled on his pivot foot, and he landed power shots after power shots for the rest of the fight. When there was a lull in action, Mikey was only too happy to not press the action. It was clear that his aim changed midway, from wanting to win, to wanting to survive. Survive he did, but only just. There were multiple occasions in the fight where it looked like Robert would throw in the towel. Mikey would not fire back, as Errol came agonizingly close to scoring a technical knockout. We have seen referees waive fights off for less.
To be fair to Mikey, he acknowledged his severe limitations in the post presser. He said he wanted to hang in there knowing the nature of boxing, and that one punch could change the course of the fight. But given how Spence was using his range so well, and given that he was the much bigger man in the night, there was no chance of a lucky haymaker landing. Spence was too strong on the inside, and too skilled on the outside. He toyed with Mikey, and maybe would have knocked him out another night. After seeing such an uncompetitive fight, looking back at when the details of the fight was first released, it is even more bizarre why Mikey came straight to 147 from 135. Surely if he was avoiding Lomachenko at 135, he could have at least tried his luck at 140 first? He tried pulling a Khan, referring to Khan’s logic in fighting Canelo in a low risk high reward outcome. The fight fan hopes that this trend does not stick. Yes, one wants to see the best fight the best. But in their own weight classes, or at least one weight class apart from each other.
There are some media members talking about how they learned more about Errol’s skills over the weekend. How he made the fight look easy versus one of the most technically correct fighters in the sport in Mikey. While these are fair observations, they are rather naïve when considering that boxing is the hurt business. When you are hit hard, you get the urge to shut shop down for the night. You become sluggish and all your skills go flying out the window. The fight stopped becoming a chess match 3rd round onward, transforming into an exhibition. But it should not have been that, Errol’s job was to knock Mikey out as soon as possible from then on. He played it safe, he knew his opponent was trying to survive and was too hurt to connect with any meaningful shots himself. Thus he took his time to put on a controlled boxing masterclass, where he knew his opponent didn’t have the power to upset him. That is not a testament to his boxing skills, that’s just being smart. He will still need to fight someone like Crawford at 147 in order to really test his boxing abilities.
But in the meantime, it’s a fantastic name to have on his resume and gain more exposure. The Garcias are great boxing strategists, and are boxing royalty, whatever game plan they had for Errol clearly did not work. This may deter other challengers who are moving up to try the Dallas native. Even a high reward low risk scenario may not be convincing enough for them, because they do not want to get beat up like Mikey did. So such a fight did make Erroll look that much more invincible in the boxing solar system. But truthfully, Eroll has already reached a level where no other challenges except Thurman, Crawford and Pacquiao makes sense for him. He realizes it too, calling out Pacquiao in the post-match interview.
But despite the positive consequences of the fight outlined above, one sure hopes it doesn’t become a popular trend. We don’t really get to learn anything new by observing such spectacles. Despite what happened on March 16th, Mikey Garcia is not as bad of a boxer as he was made to look, and Errol Spencer Jr is not as good of a boxer as he was made to look. It would be foolish of the media and fans use those narratives to create stories about the future legacy of the fighters. March 16th should be treated as a hiatus in the records of both fighters, an interesting night for boxing, where two huge stars squared up to put on a card that would be worth of a FOX PPV. The only meaningful result that would change any perceptions would be a Garcia victory. Anything else would be business as usual, and both fighters would shake hands for doing a good piece of business before returning to their real careers. And that is exactly how things panned out.
DAZN Boxing Results: Garcia and Acosta Dominant in Victory
By: Hans Themistode
Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs) added more fuel to his hype train as he absolutely wiped out Jose Lopez (20-4-1, 14 KOs). The contest took place at the Fantasy Springs Casino, in Indio California.
In total it took Garcia only two rounds to dispatch of his opponent. Lopez understood the opportunity that was in front of him and tried his best to take advantage of it but was quickly overmatched.
In round two Garcia landed a three punch combination that dropped his man. To the credit of Lopez he managed to get back to his feet but in between rounds it was determined that he could not continue.
The win was expected but something more important happened. This victory was the second under the tutelage of Eddy Renoso who also trains boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez. The aforementioned Alvarez even made an appearance to show support to his friend. Canelo also gave Garcia the biggest compliment that could be given.
“He’s the best prospect in the world today,” said Canelo.
Those are big words by the Mexican superstar but the potential of Garcia is enormous. His partnership with Renoso is paying off in a big way. Garcia gets more attention for his good looks and flamboyant style but his recent ring performances are backing up what everyone else believes which is that he could become a major star in the sport of boxing.
Garcia isn’t the only one who scored a terrific knockout tonight.
Current WBO Light Flyweight champion Angel Acosta (20-1, 20 KOs) kept his knockout streak alive as he made light work of Ganigan Lopez (35-9, 19 KOs) with an eighth round stoppage win.
Acosta is known for his ability to put his opponents to sleep but his boxing skills are vastly underrated. He had them fully on display as he spent long durations of the contest out boxing his opponent. In round two however he showed that he not only has the skills but that he still possesses the power. Two straight left hooks left Lopez on uneasy legs. Acosta showed tremendous patience but also a killer instinct. In round eight Acosta landed a combination which saw Lopez hit the deck. Lopez just couldn’t get back to his feet before the ten count ended. That now makes it 20 victories for Acosta which have all come by stoppage.
Ryan Garcia and Angel Acosta put on dominant performances. Let’s also be honest here, they did exactly what they were supposed to do. It was a great night for both men. Now that they have gotten rid of their opposition we can fully expect them to take on tougher foes down the line. Acosta is already a proven champion who will be hard to dethrone while Garcia is looking to snag his own championship and establish himself as one of the best in the world.
Ryan Garcia vs. Jose Lopez And Angel Acosta vs. Ganigan Lopez Fight Preview
By: Hans Themistode
The popular, yet polarizing Ryan Garcia (17-0, 14 KOs) makes his 2019 ring debut this Saturday night March 30th. He’ll be taking on Jose Lopez (20-3-1, 14 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio California.
We all know the main storylines here. Garcia has the good looks of a boxing star. He also has the media savvy and flashy combinations as well. At just 20 years old he truly knows how to work a room. He’s already a major attraction. Most importantly the ladies love him.
The one glaring hole in this description is the praise of his boxing ability. The jury is still out on whether or not he has what it takes to be a future super star in the sport.
Garcia has shown glimpses of what he can become. He also has mental lapses as well. With other young prospects in Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson and Teofimo Lopez apparently advancing ahead of him the time is now for Garcia to prove his worth.
At the tail end of 2018 he went under the tutelage of boxing star Canelo Alvarez’s head coach Eddy Reynoso. It was a move that gave immediate results as he knocked out Braulio Rodriguez in the fifth round of his last ring appearance. Garcia will be expected to have a similar performance against Jose Lopez who is coming off a loss against Jonathan Oquendo via sixth round stoppage. Lopez will be looking to grab the biggest victory of his career as a win against the highly touted Garcia would put him on the fast track to stardom. Garcia however, has no plans of being slowed down.
Lopez will undoubtedly have a tough task ahead of him but he won’t be the only one on this fight card who will be looking to upset the applecart.
Ganigan Lopez (35-8, 19 KOs) will have his hands full as he will be taking on WBO Flyweight champion Angel Acosta (19-1, 19 KOs). That task much like Jose Lopez’s will be a difficult one. Every single one of Acosta’s victory has come via stoppage. The lone blemish on the record of Acosta came at the hands of Kosei Tanaka in 2017. Acosta’s unprecedented power down plays his underrated boxing ability. His combination of power and skill make him a tough out.
Both Jose Lopez and Ganigan Lopez have monumental task ahead of them. They are taking on two fighters who have the power to end the fight at any point. As bleak as the thought of winning may seem it is something that they must achieve come Saturday night.
If both of these men can pull off victories as massive underdogs then the course of their boxing lives will be forever changed. With that being said, Ryan Garcia and Angel Acosta understand what’s at stake here so expect them to not take their opposition lightly.
Spence vs. Garcia: Fans or Family?
By: Max Padrid
I’m relatively new to the sport of boxing when it comes to both active participation as well as true fandom. The nuances of the sport still fascinate me as they appear to be something that can never be perfected. No two fighters are the same just as no two fights are the same. However, my goal is not to wax poetic about how big Mikey Garcia’s heart is or discuss his perilous attempt to move up and defeat arguably the best 147 pounder on earth (Bud Crawford fans please remain calm).
Photo Credit: Fox Sports
What stood out most while sitting a mere 10 feet from Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather at AT&T Stadium certainly wasn’t watching Jerry Jones parade around his publicly subsidized stadium like a puppy delivering a stick to his owner. Nor was it seeing all time fan favorite, Deontay Wilder, step over the ropes and into the ring before the fight to establish his presence. But rather, the passion that each of the forty-five thousand screaming fans showed for their respective fighter was most palpable.
I’ve always felt strongly that sports represent so much more than just mere entertainment. When us regular people watch sports of course it’s fun to see Steph Curry shoot 40 footers or OBJ catch touchdown passes while doing back flips. But what really draws fans in is their emotional attachment to their team and player. The “Your Team vs. My Team” mentality that feels almost inclusive of the viewer. Whether it’s Derrick in accounting who gave up baseball after 7th grade because his fastball never hit 40mph or James who had to retire from basketball during high school because he got dunked on by his rival high school and the video went viral, everyone feels an attachment to their team which is what creates emotion as a fan. What really became clear to me for the first time in that stadium, before, during and after the fight, was the genuine pride these fans took in watching their fighters compete.
Unlike any other major sport, boxing is competition in its rawest form. When you’re in the ring, you are vulnerable and you are at risk. You are completely and totally isolated with no other option than to fight back. So, when I could quite literally feel the emotions of the Garcia fans as their man was knocked all over the ring, I got a remarkable insight into a sport I’m still learning so much about. Everyone in Dallas took a side and supported a fighter and the success of that fighter, for 12 rounds, somehow seemed to represent their own success. The ringside Spence fans, rightfully so, gallivanted around with an “I told you so” mentality almost as if they were also the ones in the ring fighting. Meanwhile, the Garcia fans were notably deflated and I, like the rest of them, walked away feeling like we too had been punched in the face.
No one other than friends and family had any real vested interest in the outcome (other than me, who lost my rent money betting Mikey Garcia at +385) but that made no difference. In a sport where your talent and balls (for lack of a better word) often determine the outcome of your fight, it was so fantastically eye opening to see how intimately every fan felt toward their fighter. I asked a gentleman next to me for a pre-fight assessment and immediately, despite having no relationship with either contestant, you could see the passion in his eyes when he started explaining to me why EJ’s jab was going to be too much for Mikey (he was right). He started throwing his right hand out in the appropriate southpaw stance, emulating Spence’s style while taking pride in his own skills almost as if he were about to get in the ring. Or the lady next to me with the “Team Mikey Garcia” headband starting to tear up after the first few rounds when it became obvious that her fighter likely wasn’t going to get the victory. Even the next day back at my hotel, the feelings of respective elation or deflation were obvious with both sides still showing the effects of their fighter’s outcome.
Boxing is a remarkable sport. Men and women of different sizes, socioeconomic backgrounds, origins and colors all risking everything every single time they compete. But what’s truly unique about the sport’s fan base is that we all feel like we are in this together. Half the stadium won last Saturday and half the stadium lost. Despite the individuality of the sport, the outcome was anything but.
Spence-Garcia Proves Confidence Only Goes So Far
By: Sean Crose
As the clock inevitably ticked along during the leadup to the IBF welterweight title fight last weekend in Dallas, Texas, a popular opinion began to take shape: Mikey Garcia had a real chance at beating Errol Spence Jr. This narrative was far more than the work of contrarians. There were even some well-known fight game figures who ended up picking Garcia to win.
The California multi-titlist didn’t win, of course. Texas native Spence ended up beating Garcia handily, and in completely one sided fashion, at AT&T Stadium on Saturday. This could be blamed on the size difference between Spence, an active welterweight, and Garcia, who has lately been hovering in the lightweight/super lightweight divisions. More likely, however, is Spence was simply the better fighter of the two men.
Garcia is a gifted fighter, true, but Spence is a supremely gifted fighter. And that makes all the difference when it comes to these matters. Still, Garcia was taking on a huge challenge simply by facing a man Spence’s size without first taking a swim in the welterweight waters to see how he held up. It was only reasonable to expect Spence to come out victorious in highly convincing fashion on Saturday. The question, then, is why so many ended up being in the camp that believed Garcia just might pull off the upset?
The answer may be found by thinking back over a year and a half ago, to when UFC star Conor McGregor convinced a ton of people that he could step into the ring and best Floyd Mayweather in his very first boxing match. Just how marketable was McGregor’s confidence leading up to the Mayweather fight? Marketable enough for the bout to nearly break financial records. McGregor believed, so others believed. Confidence proved to be an extraordinary selling point in the summer of 2017 (not that it ultimately did McGregor a whole lot of good in the ring against Floyd).
Likewise, Mikey Garcia’s quiet confidence convinced many that he was a real danger to Spence. Serious fight fans have long known that Garcia is a deliberate person. He tackles the sport of boxing with such professionalism that his words carry weight. When he claimed he could beat Spence, people felt he knew what he was talking about. No one should be accused of stupidity, however, for assuming Garcia had a real shot of attaining greatness last weekend in Dallas.
Spence vs. Garcia: Keep that Same Energy
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.
PBC on Fox PPV Results: Benavidez Stops Love, Spence Cruises Past Garcia
By: William Holmes
AT&T Stadium, the home site of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, was the host site of tonight’s PPV offering by Fox Sports and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
This was the first ever boxing pay per view offering by Fox.
The first fight of the pay per view was between Chris Arreola (37-5-1) and Jean Pierre Augustin (17-0-1) in the heavyweight division.
Augustin was seven years younger than Arreola and has never suffered a defeat as a professional, but he has never faced someone on the level of Arreola before.
Arreola started the fight off by coming forward behind his jab, but Augustin was able to land his jabs from the outside and touch Arreola often, but his power didn’t bother Arreola.
Arreola had blood coming from his nose in the second round, but he didn’t appear to be bothered by it. Arreola connected with a stiff jab in the third round that staggered Augustin, and he was backing away and looked wobbly. Arreola followed it with a combination that sent Augustin to the mat and down for a count of nine, but the referee allowed it to continue.
Arreola immediately jumped on the still wobbly Augustin and forced the referee to stop the bout.
Arreola wins by TKO at 2:03 of the third round.
The next bout of the night was between Luis Nery (28-0) and McJoe Arroyo (18-2) in the bantamweight division.
Nery is a talented boxer and is making his US debut. Both boxers were southpaws and Nery was able to keep his distance and land outland his opponent early on.
Nery scored a knockdown in the second round with a short left uppercut, but Arroyo was able to survive the round.
Nery scored another knockdown in the third round after a quick combination that sent Arroyo to the mat. Arroyo had a small laceration by his nose as the third round came to an end.
Nery did not look like he was concerned about the power of Arroyo at all and landed a three punch combination in the fourth round that sent Arroyo down again. Arroyo got back to his feet, but was sent to the mat again in the fourth round after another combination and he got to his feet as the round came to an end.
His corner didn’t wait long to stop the fight in the fifth round, as Nery wins by TKO at 0:10 of the fifth round.
A walkout bout between Lindolfo Delgado (8-0) and James Roach (5-1) in the super lightweight division was shown due to the quick stoppage of the prior two fights.
Delgado looked to be in superior shape, and he has stopped all eight of his opponents that he faced so far.
This bout did not last long. Delgado blasted Roach for nearly the entire round and sent him down for the ten count after a vicious combination that ended with a body shot
Delgado remains undefeated with a knockout at 2:59 of the first round.
The next bout of the night was between David Benavidez (20-0) and J’Leon Love (24-2-1) in the Super Middleweight Division.
Benavidez looked to be a lot taller than Love, and was able to avoid the jabs and body attacks of Love early on. Benavidez was able to land some heavy combinations on Love when his back was against the back of the ropes, and he had Love stumbling back to his corner at the end of the first.
Benavidez continued to pound J’Leon Love when his back was against the ropes in the second round Benavidez landed two hard straight right hands to the chin of J’Leon Love, who covered up and offered nothing in return to stop the onslaught.
The referee jumped in to stop the fight at 1:14 of the second round to give Benavidez the TKO victory.
The main event of the evening was between Errol Spence Jr. (24-0) and Mikey Garcia (39-0) for the IBF Welterweight Title.
The announced attendance for this fight was 47,525.
Spence was active with his jab in the opening round and Garcia was showing good head movement. Spence’s straight left was landing in the first and second rounds, but Garcia kept it close in the second.
Spence’s reach was a major factor in the second round as his jab kept Garcia at bay. Garcia was unable to solve the reach of Spence and took some heavy shots in the third and fourth rounds, as he landed some heavy power shots.
Garcia came out strong in the beginning of the fifth round, but Spence quickly turned the momentum back in his favor with a crisp jab followed by power left hands. By the sixth round Spence looked like he was running away with the fight and was walking Garcia down and in total control.
Spence continued to touch Garcia at will in the seventh and eight rounds and Garcia had no answer for the offense of Spence. Garcia was able to land a few counter shots, but they had little to no effect on Spence.
Spence looked like he was close to stopping the fight in the ninth round as he pounded Garcia from corner to corner, but Garcia was able to stay on his feet and grit his way through the round.
Garcia was warned by his brother/trainer Robert Garcia that he was going to stop the fight before the start of the tenth round if he didn’t’ show him a little more than what he saw in the ninth round. Garcia was able to land some punches, but still got pummeled by Spence through most of the round and didn’t really threaten his opponent.
Garcia needed a knockout in the final two rounds in order to win the bout, but in the eleventh round it appeared it was Spence who was going for the stoppage as he brutalized both the body and head of Garcia.
Even though Spence was comfortably ahead in the final round, his corner told him to go for the stoppage and he did, but Garcia was able to survive the fight.
Errol Spence wins by a wide decision with scores of 120-107, 120-108, and 120-108.
Afterwards, Spence called out Manny Pacquiao for a fight and Pacquiao appeared to willingly accept it.
Mikey Garcia: A Step Towards Greatness
By: Aziel Karthak
Mikey Garcia has cojones. Or he just has a massive ego. In interviews he comes off as a decent, level-headed person. So, let’s go with cojones.
Garcia, whose most recent fight was at 135 lbs, has a lot to lose when he steps into the ring with Errol Spence Jr., the IBF king at 147 lbs. Forget the flawed narrative that the smaller man will walk away a winner no matter the outcome of such contests. No, he doesn’t. This is combat sports where weight divisions exist so fights are fairly contested. A person going up two weight classes risks more than just a loss. There is a chance that he takes a beating bad enough to dent not just bones but confidence going forward. Further, Garcia is putting an undefeated record on the line.
Of course, he is not the first boxer to go up in weight and challenge a big name. Others have done it before, successfully – Spinks versus Holmes, Leonard versus Hagler, and Pacquiao versus De La Hoya, to name three. But, this seems different. Holmes was 35 years old with 48 fights behind him and skills clearly on the wane. Hagler was coming off an unforgettable war with Mugabi that will take years off a fighter, even those built with iron like the Newark native. De La Hoya simply should not have fought at welterweight at the time. However, Mikey Garcia is taking on someone bigger, younger and, like him, a champion in his prime.
If he pulls it off, how highly would it rank among boxing achievements? Very high indeed. In this context, perhaps just below Henry Armstrong leaving the comfortable shores of featherweight and outclassing, some say carrying for the last few rounds, welterweight champion Barney Ross in 1938.
Garcia’s last fight was in July 2018. Eight months is a lot of time to pack in 12 pounds and have the strength and conditioning experts get you comfortable at that weight. Right? Conventional boxing wisdom suggests there is no substitute for in-ring acclimatization, especially against an individual who has been fighting at that weight and happens to be the best in the pool. Even Andre Ward tested the waters at 175 lbs before he felt comfortable enough to take on Kovalev. Garcia is going in cold.
So, who will win? Garcia’s father and brother have been so confident since the fight was announced that it is clear they have seen something in the welterweight champion’s arsenal that they feel plays right into Mikey’s strengths. Conversely, betting houses give the challenger little chance. Still, the exciting aspect of a prize fight is that it is filled with endless possibilities. Garcia will have the speed advantage to complement possibly the best timing in boxing. And you know what they say about speed and timing. Here, however, the size of the opposition may cancel out the advantages.
Prediction: Spence will retain in a hard-fought battle. The best body hunter in the division will wear out the smaller challenger who will find it difficult to carry the extra weight by the middle rounds and will succumb to a late round stoppage.
As for Garcia, the “0” will go and the casuals will be disappointed but boxing history will record his effort as a deed worthy of greatness. Unlike most sports, the win-loss record in the fight game can be misleading. Statistics matter, of course they do, but boxing greatness is more than mere numbers. It’s also about the heart and the will to test oneself against the very best, to welcome risk and danger as the only paths to real glory. And make no mistake, regardless of what happens on Saturday night, Mikey Garcia has taken a step on the highway to greatness.
It’s the Spence-Crawford Era, Garcia is Just Living In It
By: Ste Rowen
It feels that ever since the fight was announced, Errol Spence, IBF welterweight champion vs. Mikey Garcia, WBC lightweight champion has been laughed at in many corners of the boxing world, but as time has gone by, and experts have run the roost over each fighter’s prospects, the weight of opinion has shifted ever so slightly towards Mikey, making it a more competitive bout than initially thought and, just perhaps, leaning towards a Garcia victory.
Pundits predicting a Mikey win aren’t chancers hoping to shout about a call only an ‘insider’ would’ve been able to make – well, not all of them anyway – The four-weight world champion, Garcia has a legitimate chance, but only if he meets Spence on a bad day that the Texan has yet to have in the pro ranks.
In the build-up towards the mega-bout, Spence’s amateur experience has been too often overlooked. His style and performances earnt him a stand out position in the US boxing squad for amateur world championships and Olympics. ‘The Truth’ won numerous Nationals and qualified for both the 2011 worlds and 2012 Olympics; losing in the 2012 quarter-finals to the man who lost to the man, who eventually claimed gold. It was the same man who defeated Errol in the 2011 World Championship quarters, Serik Sapiyev.
Spence, 24-0 (20KOs) is the much bigger man by conventional welterweight vs. welterweight standards but it’s time for fans to stop overlooking the elite level that Errol has boxed and continues to box at. He has obvious power and it seems inevitable that he will, one day soon, find himself fighting at middleweight but Errol isn’t recognised as a pound-for-pound player by accident. The American southpaw fights off, what almost appears as, a hesitant jab; as if he’s attempting to lull his opponent into a false of security. But it’s the left-hand lurking, always ready in the background, that does the real damage. Against Brook, Spence’s left punished the home fighter to the body early on, and it told in the later rounds.
When ‘The Truth’ stopped Peterson in his latest bout, the jabs weren’t so hesitant, but the left hands brutalised the former world champion.
As a professional, Errol has reduced Bundu and Chris Algieri to journey men-esque opponents and forced Kell Brook to quit in front of a packed-out home crowd. Legit challenger, Lamont Peterson was swept aside without a second thought; you’d have struggled to find a single person giving Peterson a hope before that fight. It’s more the measure of the boxer that Errol is, than the level of his opposition.
Of course these are all thing Mikey and trainer Robert Garcia would’ve analysed and worked on themselves, but it doesn’t mean they will stop the Texan from implementing them.
Mikey has a solid chin, proven solid enough too in bouts with some of the best names, but then again, and there’s no nuanced way to put this, Slick-Mike does have an unusually large head. Does that help? Evidently. Will it be an advantage against the force of Spence’s punches, past evidence formed from Errol’s pro-bouts suggests not.
But Mikey sits in the top 3 – top five at least – of the pound-for-pound list for reasons that stretch beyond the fact that he can take a punch. Much like his opponent this Saturday, Garcia has magnetism to the way he fights. Both Mikey and Errol have constantly looked a cut or two above their opposition but at times it’s felt as if they’ve phoned in their offense. An accusation that could also be labelled at the shadow lurking in the background of this article, WBO champ, Terence Crawford.
Take the example of Garcia vs. Broner. Six months after crushing Zlaticanin, Mikey crushed Adrien Broner, but this time only on the scorecards, throwing the heaviest of punches early before seeing the bout out at a canter.
For Terence; the WBO king has taken the foot off the pedal on numerous occasions. Look again at his dominant showings over Viktor Postol to unify at lightweight, or his complete domination of Ricky Burns. The bully came out on both occasions, but the bully enjoyed his own work a little too much.
And in Spence’s case it wa-…actually, maybe that’s why Spence is seen as the top of 147lb, and why he’s the overwhelming favourite heading into this weekend. When was the last time he laid off his opponent after taking control?
Okay, cards on the table. I like Mikey Garcia. I really like Mikey Garcia. He’s seemingly always aimed for legacy over profit (not to say he hasn’t earned well from the sport), especially since returning in 2016 from, his almost three-year layoff.
He’s 39-0 (30KOs) heading into this weekend’s bout, and that’s no manufactured record. Mikey’s victims, just to name a few, include; Salido, Juanma Lopez, Broner, Sergey Lipinets and most recently, Robert Easter Jr – whilst constantly fluctuating between different weight limits.
And don’t forget that beautiful – many would say brutal – knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin in 2017.
His record is proof enough that the Mexican-American has it in him to possibly defeat Spence, but victory over Errol, though it might guarantee temporary P-4-P number one status, does not guarantee supremacy over the latest division he’s decided to fight in.
If Mikey defies the odds and defeats Errol, it makes him the IBF welterweight champion, but it doesn’t make him the universally recognised 147lb boss.
Whilst Terence Crawford, a champion of three divisions, remains undefeated, any welterweight that claims supremacy, including Spence himself, leaves themselves open to questioning. And being part of a separate promotional team just won’t cut it as an excuse.
For the winner of Spence-Garcia, true legacy-defining glory awaits in the bouts of the future.
PBC on FOX PPV Preview: Garcia vs. Spence, Benavidez vs. Love
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions along with Fox Sports will put on a Pay Per View offering live from Arlington, Texas. This card will take place at the home of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
The main event of the night will be a bout between two undefeated fighters, Mikey Garcia and Errol Spence Jr. for Spence’s IBF Welterweight title. Garcia looks to make history as he jumps up two weight classes to take on Spence while Spence looks to cement his place as the welterweight division’s top fighter.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The co-main event of the night will be between David Benavidez and J’Leon Love in the super middleweight division. The winner of this bout will put him closer to a future title shot.
Seventeen fights are currently scheduled on the card! The undercard will feature boxers such as Luis Nery, McJoe Arroyo, Chris Arreola, Charles Martin, and Fernando Garcia.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
David Benavidez (20-0) vs. J’Leon Love; Super Middleweights (24-2-1)
David Benavidez is known as the youngest boxer to ever hold a Super Middleweight Championship, but he hasn’t been super active in the ring since he had a positive test for Cocaine in September of 2018 and had to serve a four month suspension.
On Saturday he’ll be facing one of the toughest tests of his career in veteran J’Leon Love.
Benavidez will have an inch and a half height advantage as well as an inch and a half reach advantage over Love. He is also nine years younger than Love, though Love is still in his athletic prime.
Benavidez has been fairly active, but only fought once in 2018 due to his suspension and fought three times in 2017. Love fought twice in 2018 but only fought once in 2017.
Benavidez didn’t fight often as an amateur, but has been boxing as a professional since he was a teenager. Love does have an edge in amateur experience as he competed both in the Olympic trials and the Golden Gloves tournament as an amateur.
Benavidez has the edge in power, as he has stopped seventeen of his opponents while Love has only stopped thirteen. In fact, Benavidez has been able to stop eight of his past ten opponents.
Benavidez has defeated the likes of Ronald Gavril, Rogelio Medina, Sherali Mamajonov, Denis Douglin, Francy Ntetu, and Philip Jackson Benson.
Love has defeated the likes of Marcus Upshaw, Scott Sigmon, Marco Antonio Periban, Vladine Biosse, Lajuan Simon, and Derrick Findley. His losses were to Peter Quillin and Rogelio Medina.
Love is a veteran, but he lacks that big named win on his resume to consider him to be a serious threat to Benavidez. The action may be slow in the beginning as Benavidez attempts to figure out Love’s style, but this writer expects him to dominate the middle to later rounds.
Errol Spence Jr. (24-0) vs. Mikey Garcia (39-0); IBF Welterweight Title
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Mikey Garcia is bumping up to weight classes to face Errol Spence and will have a size disadvantage. He’ll also be giving up three inches in height and about four inches in reach to Spence. Garcia has fought as high as the junior welterweight limit of 140 pounds, but fought his last fight at 135 pounds.
Spence is also two years younger than Garcia, but both fighters are still in their athletic prime.
Both boxers are known for their power and their ability to stop their opponents. Spence has stopped twenty one of his opponents while Garcia has stopped thirty. However, Spence is currently riding an eleven fight stoppage streak while Garcia has only stopped two of his past five opponents. The power has not follow him as he has jumped weight classes.
Spence has never been defeated and has defeated an impressive list of fighters. He has beaten the likes of Carlos Ocampo, Lamont Petereson, Kell Brook, Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Herrden, Phil Lo Greco, Samuel Vargas, and Ronald Cruz.
He also had a successful amateur career and was a former US National Champion as well as a Olympic Participant for the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Garcia has defeated the likes of Robert Easter Jr., Sergey Lipinets, Adrien Broner, Dejan Zlaticanin, Juan Carlos Burgos, Roman Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Orlando Salido. As an amateur Garcia was a Police Athletic League Silver Medalist as well as a Bronze Medalist in the National Golden Gloves Championship.
Garcia is an excellent fighter, but he’s facing a man who’s bigger, longer, and more powerful. The size advantage will likely be too much for Garcia to overcome, but he should still have his moments in this fight.
This writer expects Spence to win a closer than expected decision victory.
Mikey Garcia’s Vision
By: Kirk Jackson
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” – Joel A. Barker.
Enter Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KO’s). The five-time, four-division world champion, envisions hoisting another world title entering his fifth weight class. If successful, Garcia joins rarified company.
List of Quintuple Champions — Major Titles
(1) Thomas Hearns: World Titles: 147, 154, 175, 160 and 168.
(2) Sugar Ray Leonard: World Titles: 147, 154, 160, 168 and 175.
(3) Oscar De La Hoya: World Titles: 130, 135, 140, 147, 154 and 160.
(4) Floyd Mayweather: World Titles: 130, 135, 140, 147 and 154.
(5) Manny Pacquiao: World Titles: 112, 122, 126, 130, 135, 140, 147 and 154.
“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,” Garcia said in an interview leading up to fight this weekend.
“Here in Texas, it’s like a second home. I’ve won two world titles here. Having great fan support at the grand arrival was a special moment for me.”
Garcia embarks on the biggest challenge of his professional career this Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
— FOX Sports: PBC (@PBConFOX) March 13, 2019
“I’ve got to go in there Saturday night and show why I picked this fight. I want to make history and this is the one that will get me there,” Garcia said.
“I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to win this fight. We trained very hard. We can go 12 rounds for sure. But, if I get a chance to hurt my opponent, I’m definitely going to jump on him and get the knockout.”
Obviously accomplishing this feat is no small task. Spence is undefeated, is the betting favorite and commands respect as a worthy competitor.
“The size difference won’t matter. Skill for skill and talent for talent, I’m more dominant than him in every aspect. 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,” Spence said. “I know I’m the best fighter in the world and I’m going to show it Saturday night. I’m going to punish him and make him wish he took his brother’s (Robert Garcia) advice to not take this fight.”
“This is an opportunity,” Spence continued. “Mikey Garcia is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He’s proven himself time and time again and he’s always out there looking to fight the best. So for me to fight a guy like that, that’s a chance for me to make a statement.”
“Winning is important, but it’s also about making a statement with your performance,” Spence said. “I want to put on the kind of performance where after, people go, ‘OK, everything I’ve heard about this guy is true. He can fight.”
Through all the build-up and it’s actually transparent through his fights, Spence operates with a “Ivan Drago” like mentality from the famed Rocky series. Ruthless and ready to inflict as much damage as possible.
Garcia has legendary fighters backing him as the winner and they apparently share the same insight. One of those legends, Sugar Ray Leonard.
Leonard famously defeated Marvelous Marvin Hagler; returning from retirement and moving up in weight to face one of the most fearsome fighters in middleweight history.
“Garcia will know that he’s going to feel a real difference moving up one or two weight divisions,” said Leonard who overcame the odds to earn a majority decision win over Hagler. “It’s a lot of weight to give away and that’s going to present itself early. Garcia will feel it on the inside and he’ll feel it when he gets hit.”
“Mikey has to move, slip, make his man miss and not stay inside too long. He can’t be a stationary target. You know that you’re not the bigger man, but you have to be the smarter man in there. But Garcia, I’ll tell you, he’s another young man that I’ve been very impressed with. I’m also impressed with what he’s doing; moving up to take on this challenge. Everyone thought I was crazy too; no one thought I could beat (Hagler) except myself.”
Although we may draw parallels between Hagler-Leonard and Saturday night’s main event, there are obvious variances between the two fights. The biggest takeaway however, is the notion of skills and not size that matters.
Regarding Saturday’s match-up, Leonard noted, “I give a slight edge to Garcia, pending his selection of tactics. It’s down to the style he chooses and what he, as the smaller man, can do in that ring.”
“Errol Spence is fundamentally sound,” former two-division world champion Timothy Bradley said to Premier Boxing Champions regarding the showdown March 16.
“He has a great jab and can dominate an entire fight with his jab. However, Errol is heavy on his front foot. He can and does take chances due to being so strong and built like a tank, but as a result of him mowing you down, he is there to be hit. A counter-puncher would be very successful against Errol, due to him lunging forward. He loads up on every punch while keeping his head straight down the middle. In the fights with Kell Brook and Lamont Peterson, there were spots where Errol stood and got clipped. Although he keeps his hands up, you can come around his guard.”
“Mikey has great ring I.Q. For a small guy, Mikey is comfortable in the pocket and can make pressure fighters back up. Believe me, I have seen him do it before. I take my hat off to Mikey. He is going for greatness. I don’t think that Mikey will win, due to Errol wearing him down over the course of 12 rounds. If Mikey wins, in my opinion, he becomes the best fighter pound-for-pound.”
From a strategical standpoint, one of the physical traits working in the favor of Team Garcia is speed. Working with sports nutritionist, chemist, SNAC System founder and CEO, Victor Conte, it appears the emphasis for Garcia is speed and explosiveness.
Garcia is smart and very precise with his punches and overall movement. Remaining calm and composed even under duress, every move has purpose. As a visionary, Garcia envisions moves and action from the opposition before it unfolds.
From a fundamental standpoint, Garcia will be sharp and tight. Footwork and positioning is key.
It’s more than likely we’ll see Garcia attempt to turn Spence constantly, make him reset and reposition. Mikey will have to move off target, keep his head off the line, move towards his left, which would be away from Spence’s power hand (which is his left land).
As Mikey drifts towards his left, he must be weary of Spence’s right hook, especially considering Spence’s right hook is in line with Mikey’s head – due to the difference in height with Mikey standing 5’6” and Spence listed a little over 5’9”.
Because of the height and reach disadvantages, it may be best suited for Garcia to fight on the inside. Mikey may have to force the fight regardless as it’ll be hard pressed for a fighter moving up in weight to fight on the outside for 12 rounds without getting clipped. There’s only so long one can fight effectively walking on a tight rope.
Garcia will have to feint his way in and mount some form of consistent jab to further establish his offense and to give Spence something to think about. It’s extremely important that Garcia lands something significant to earn respect from Spence – otherwise it’ll be a long (or short) night.
Win or lose Garcia’s stock only increases due to the task he is faced with, due to the challenge he sought out.
”I’m here to challenge myself. He is the best. He might feel that it’s an easy fight for him, that I’m too small, and that’s fine. Let’s get in the ring and let’s go to work,” said Garcia.
Visions of greatness, originally constructed as a 9 month plan, turned into a 12 month plan, due to promotional obligations, but now the fight is bigger and more anticipated than what was initially imagined.
“No one has beat 3 undefeated champions in 3 divisions within 9 months that excites me,” said Garcia. The ‘9 months’ now becomes 12 months and we have a chance of witnessing history this weekend.
What does a victory this weekend do for Garcia? Does this propel him into the discussion as an all-time great fighter? While that question may be up to debate depending on the results this weekend, victory cements Hall of Fame credentials and Pay-Per-View viability.
The recent series of moves exhibited from Garcia displays courage and professionalism for seeking the best opposition available. Also displays sharp business acumen; betting on himself (separating from Bob Arum and Top Rank) and capitalizing on his talent and maintaining self-belief.
“I’ve got to go in there Saturday night and show why I picked this fight. I want to make history and this is the one that will get me there.”
Mikey Garcia: Underdog? Think Again
By: Hans Themistode
Mikey Garcia is a great fighter, that much is clear. He is after all a four division champion, undefeated in 39 professional fights and a constant fixture on every pound-for-pound list. With that being said, as it stands today he is a 5-1 underdog according to most sports books for his matchup against IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
What does that mean exactly? Well it simply means that the smart money is on Spence to win their upcoming fight. This would be the first time in his entire career that he has gone into a fight as the perceived underdog. Forget about the sports books for a second. What are the so called experts saying? How do they feel about the fight? Search the internet for as long as you like but you will seldom find someone backing Garcia in this contest.
It’s understandable. For as good as Garcia is, Spence is just as good. The only difference is that the Welterweight champion is a much bigger man. Spence is coming into this contest with a three and a half height advantage and a four inch reach advantage. Let’s also not forget that Spence is quite possibly the biggest Welterweight in the entire division. To see Spence fighting at Middleweight one day would shock absolutely no one. Come fight night Garcia could be outweighed by roughly 20 pounds. Fighting a much bigger man won’t be easy but it is something that Garcia has grown accustomed to. In his last contest he took on Robert Easter Jr who had a five inch height advantage and an absurd eight reach advantage. Garcia easily won by unanimous decision. What about his fights against Adrien Broner and Sergey Lipinets? In both contest Garcia was viewed as the smaller man. Each time he cruised to a decision victory. Size is important yes, but it isn’t everything. Be that as it may, none of those fighters that were just named can compare to Spence and his imposing presence. There is a reason why he is regarded as the best Welterweight out there.
By simply categorizing this contest as a great little man taking on a great big man, takes away from the skill that Spence has. He is extremely talented. For him it isn’t just about knocking his opponents out but also mentally wearing them down as well. His boxing ability isn’t given nearly the credit that it deserves either.
Spence is an outstanding fighter but Mikey Garcia is a masterful one. Did he need to move up in weight and take this fight against Spence? Absolutely not. He could have unified his Lightweight titles with Vasiliy Lomachenko in a matchup we all would love to see. Instead, he is taking the ultimate test to leave no doubt that he is the best.
Garcia has repeatedly said that he sees something in Spence, something that he can exploit that will lead to his victory. Great fighters such as Lamont Peterson and Kell Brook couldn’t find a way to get the job done and they are much bigger fighters then Garcia. Ultimately they just couldn’t take the power punching that Spence possesses. Will the smaller Garcia be able to withstand it? It seems unlikely, but then again Garcia actually getting this fight with Spence was unlikely as well.
Most fighters in boxing speak about wanting to be great. Few of them actually go out there and make an attempt at it. What we will be witnessing at the AT&T Stadium on March 16, 2019 in Dallas Texas will be a true pursuit of greatness.
Everything is in Spence’s favor. Height, weight, power you name it and Garcia is at a deficit come fight night but he does have an aura of invincibility surrounding him right now. One that feels as though he will pull off this massive upset.
You think Mikey Garcia is an underdog this fight? Think again.