What’s Next For Mikey Garcia?
By: Hans Themistode
Coming into his Welterweight showdown against Jessie Vargas, Mikey Garcia was tasked with what many could consider the biggest fight of his career. It isn’t because Vargas is the most accomplished or the most dangerous, but more so because of what took place one short year ago.
For the first time in the career of Garcia he tasted defeat at the hands of current unified Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. Garcia didn’t just lose, but he was thoroughly dominated. For as great as Garcia is, the Welterweight division just seemed like it was too much for him.
Everyone who doubted his decision to remain at the weight class was quickly proven wrong as he made it look easy against former two division world champion Jessie Vargas. Now that Garcia has proven that he has what it takes to contend with the big boys of the division, who should he take on next? Keep reading to find out.
If it seems as though a contest between Manny Pacquiao and Mikey Garcia has been discussed for years, that’s because it has. The two pound-for-pound stars have always hovered around the same weight class but a contest between them has never been seriously in negotiations. Now that they are officially in the same weight class, a match between them seems inevitable. Following Garcia’s win over Vargas, he wasted little time calling out the future hall of famer. “I think I’m ready to get back in with the best. I want Manny Pacquiao.”
At this point, what are we waiting for? Let’s make the fight happen.
A Garcia vs Garcia match might be a bit confusing during the promotion, but in the ring, it should provide fans with a great contest. Even with his big win against Vargas, there are some that are still skeptical on whether or not Mikey is a big time player in the Welterweight division. If he wants to end all doubts, then a fight against former two division world champion Danny Garcia would go a long way towards that.
At the moment, both Mikey and Danny are in consideration for a bout against Manny Pacquiao. If neither one is chosen then they should turn their attention towards one another.
Unlike most of the top Welterweights, Mikey Garcia has no contractual obligations with anyone. In essence, he’s a free agent. He can fight whomever he wants, whenever he wants without nagging promotional issues.
For years WBO Welterweight titlist Terence Crawford has been considered the best fighter in the world, but his resume leaves much to be desired. During Garcia’s post fight presser, he did mention an interest in taking on Crawford. If this is the truth, then Crawford should jump at the opportunity to face a legit fighter for a change.
Mikey Garcia Defeats Jessie Vargas, Chocolatito Stops Khalid Yafa
By: Rich Lopez
A full house of 10,000 fans were on hand at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Matchroom Boxing presented a stacked card that streamed seven fights on DAZN. The main event and the two world title fights on the card were expected to be action packed fights on paper. It turned out to be just that.
In the main event, Mikey Garcia (40-1, 30 KO’s) was successful this time around at his second fight as a welterweight. He won the vacant WBC Diamond Welterweight Title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Jessie Vargas (29-3-2, 11 KO’s). The opening round was a good round for Vargas. He used the jab well throughout the round. He also landed good right hands and left hooks on Garcia. Round two was another good round for Vargas. He was landing good jabs and right hands. Garcia was moving forward but he was not letting his hands go. Things heated up in round three. Garcia came forward with hard jabs but Vargas landed hard jabs as well. Garcia was able to land a right hand to the head of Vargas but Vargas counter back with a left hook to the jaw of Garcia. There was good action from both fighters in round four. Vargas was still effective with the jab. In round five, Garcia finally picked up the pace and landed a right hand that hurt Vargas. Then Garcia landed a perfect right hand on the jaw of Vargas that dropped him. Vargas got up and Garcia went for the finish but Vargas survived the round. Garcia continued to stay busy in round six, while Vargas was still trying to recover. In round seven, Garcia had a good round backing up Vargas with his left jab and landing straight right hands. A hard right hand from Garcia hurt Vargas at the end of the round. The pace slowed down in round eight but it was still a good round for Garcia. Vargas looked more tired.
In round nine, Garcia slowed his pace as Vargas came forward. Garcia still out landedVargas in the round. Vargas showed toughness in round ten. He fought better and backed up Garcia. Garcia still landed the better combinations of the two fighters in the round. Vargas had a good comeback in round eleven. He did a better job of pushing back Garcia while Garcia was less active. In the final round, both fighters gave a strong finish and the round was close. At the end, the final scores were 114-113, 116-111 (twice) all for Garcia.
Vargas had a great start to the fight. Garcia who’s known as a slow-started picked up the pace and took over the fight. Vargas came back a little in the late rounds but it was not enough. It was a solid win for Garcia but he had a tough fight. Vargas was as tough as they come. What’s next for both fighters? For Garcia, he will stay in the welterweight division as he defeated a solid welterweight and the bigger fights are there for him. Like the broadcasters mentioned, a potential fight with Manny Pacquiaowould be more suitable for Garcia. For Vargas, expect him to see him in another big fight as he always puts a good outing.
In the co-feature, former pound for pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (49-2, 41 KO’s) came back to regain his crown. He won the WBA World Super Flyweight Title by a ninth round TKO over Khalid Yafai (26-1, 15 KO’s). Both fighters got to a good start in the opening round. Yafai started to box well using his jab and landing quick combinations. Gonzalez started his body attack towards the end of the round. Round two was a good round for Gonzalez. Yafai stayed in theinside with Gonzalez and traded with him. Gonzalez worked well to the body and landed a good right hand on Yafai. Gonzalez also landed a left uppercut that bothered Yafai. In round three, Yafai stood his ground and traded with Gonzalez. He landed more punches in the round but Gonzalez was also landing good shots as well. Twice in the round, the mouthpiece came out of Yafai during exchanges. Gonzalez picked up the attack in round four. He landed good combinations to the head and body of Yafai. Gonzalez mixed his attack with hooks and uppercuts. Gonzalez kept his relentless attack in round five. Gonzalez ripped shots to the head and body of Yafai. Yafai was forced to hold at one point due to the accumulation of punches. Gonzalez kept his high work rate in round six. Yafai stood and traded with Gonzalez but he was wearing out. Gonzalez got cut on his right eye by a clash of heads in the round. In round seven, Gonzalez was backing up Yafai. Gonzalez continued his onslaught and Yafai looked very fatigued. Yafai then decided to trade with Gonzalez in the eighth round. However, Gonzalez outworked him with combinations. He landed a right hand that snapped Yafai’s head back. Then a barrage of punches dropped Yafai. Yafai managed to get up and finish the round. In round nine, Gonzalez landed a huge right hand on the chin of Yafaithat dropped him on his back. The referee started the count but then waived off the fight after Yafai could not continue. The stoppage occurred at 29 seconds of the ninth round.
Yafai decided to take advantage of his size and trade shots with the smaller Gonzalez. Yafai had some success early on but fought Gonzalez’s fight. The question of whether Gonzalez was finished was answered quickly. Gonzalez showed why he is oneof the true greats in boxing and is now a world champion again. The super flyweight division is stacked. The most attractive fight for Gonzalez would be a rematch between him and Juan Francisco Estrada. Gonzalez defeated Estrada back in 2012. Now, Estrada is the Lineal champion of the division. The rematch would be a great fight. As for Yafai, he can take the loss as a learning lesson and bounce back from it. He showed a lot of heart and the willingness to go toe to toe with the dangerousGonzalez.
In an entertaining fight, Julio César Martinez (16-1, 12 KO’s) retained his WBC World Flyweight Title by a twelve round unanimous decision over Jay Harris (17-1, 9 KO’s). In the opening round, Harris got off to a good start by establishing hisjab. Martinez close the gap landing combinations to the head of Harris. Harris had a good round two. He landed good righthands to the head of Martinez. Martinez closed the round with a quick right hook. There were good combinations from both fighters in round three. Harris landed quick straight punches to the head of Martinez while Martinez landed good body punches on Harris. Round four was a good action round. Harris continued with straight punches to the head of Martinez. Martinez fired back with hard body shots. The pace was relentless from both fighters in round five. Martinez got the better of the exchanges and continued his body attack. Harris had a good comeback in round six. He landed the better punches in the round while Martinez was still working the body of Harris. In round seven, Martinez started fast with a right hand that hurt Harris. Martinez then got inside and worked the body of Harris. Harris finished the round strong with good combinations to the head and body of Martinez. The pace slowed down a little bit in round eight. Harris displayed quick combinations to the head of Martinez. The action picked backed up in round nine. Martinez got off with quick combinations to the head and body. Harris stood his ground though and fought back. In the opening of round ten, Martinez caught Harris with a left hook and then a right hook to the body that put him down. Harris got up and did an excellent job fighting back in the round,even though he was hurt. Round eleven was a good round for Harris as he boxed and moved well. The final round was a slower pace for both fighters. The action picked up at the end. Both fighters closed the show at the end with both of them throwing a barrage of punches at each other. At the end, the final scores were 118-109, 116-111, and 115-112 all for Martinez.
Once again Martinez did not disappoint. He provided another thrilling fight for the fans and showed why he is one of the most action packed fighters to watch. Martinez made the first successful defense of his title. Now, it will be time for Martinez to unify with the other belt holders of the division. As for Jay Harris, he looked great and he gave a good account of himself. He went toe to toe with Martinez taking the fight to distance. We will see Harris again soon.
Former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (27-2, 21 KO’s) was successful in his return. He TKO Shawndell Terell Winters (13-3, 12 KO’s) in the fifth round. Parker started off fast in the opening round and threw hard jabs to back off Winters. Towards the end of the round, Parker landed a good left hook on Winters. In round two, Parker had another good round. He backed up Winters to the ropes with stiff jabs and straight right hands. Parker continued landing hard right hands on Winters in round three. A huge right hand from Parker dropped Winters towards the end of the round. Winters got up and survived the round. In round four, Parker pushed back Winters. However, Wintersfought well in the round. Parker suffered a cut on his right eye from a left hook from Winters. In round five, Winters started strong and came forward. Parker then landed a hard right hand that hurt Winters. Parker followed it up with a three punch combination. A right hand, left hook, and a right hand that dropped Winters again. Winters managed to get up but was out of it. The referee called the fight off at 2:40 of round five.
Parker did what he was supposed to do and stopped his opponent. It was a good comeback fight for Parker. Look to see him next in a more significant fight next.
Decorated amateur Israil Madrimov (5-0, 5 KO’s) continued his knockout streak. He scored a TKO in the sixth round over Charlie Navarro (29-10, 22 KO’s) in a super welterweight bout. In the opening round, Madrimov showed a little bit of everything. He boxed well moving side to side. He landed right hands to the head and straight punches to the body of Navarro. In round two, Madrimov landed a left hook that buzzed Navarro. In round three, Navarro was concentrating on landing a counter punch on Madrimov but was not able to do it. Madrimov did a good job landing straight body punches on Navarro. Madrimovlooked for the knockout in round four. He landed a right hand that hurt Navarro. Then he threw left hooks to the body and head of Navarro. Navarro looked like he was ready to go but he hung in tough. In round five, Navarro landed a good counter punch to the body of Madrimov but it was his only moment. Madrimovtook over the round and landing combinations. Madrimovcontinued his onslaught in round six. He went to the body of Navarro which paid off. He landed a left hook to the body that dropped Navarro. Navarro was tough and gamed as he got up. Madrimov went after him and landed a right hand to the head. Navarro fell down and the referee called the fight off. The stoppage came at 2:24 of round six.
In the super middleweight division, Diego Pacheco (9-0, 7 KO’s) stayed undefeated and dominated Oscar Riojas (21-13-1, 10 KO’s) to earn a six round unanimous decision. Riojas came out being the aggressor in the opening round while Pacheco was keeping his distance. Then Pacheco came forward and landed right hands to the head of Riojas. In round two, Pacheco continued to hit Riojas with hard right hands to the head. Riojas was reaching with his punches on the taller Pacheco but could not land anything significant. Pacheco continued to stay busy in round three. Riojas showed a good chin but was still having a hard time getting inside. Pacheco kept the pressure in round four and Riojas kept backing up. In round five, Riojas started the round coming forward and he threw a few hooks to the body but nothing landed. Pacheco landed a hard right hand that stunned Riojas. In the final round, Pacheco landed a huge right hand that wobbled Riojas. Pacheco went for the finish and landed combinations to the head of Riojas but he survived the round. The final scores were 60-54, all for Pacheco.
In the opening bout of the DAZN telecast, Alexis Espino (6-0, 4 KO’s) remained undefeated. He defeated Delvecchio Savage (3-6-1, 3 KO’s) by a six round unanimous decision in a super middleweight contest. The opening round was a feel out round. It was a close round where Savage landed a nice straight left hand on Espino and then Espino landed a good left hook on Savage. Espino opened up more in round two and he landed the more and effective punches in the round. Espino used his jab very well. Espino had a good round three. He landed good jabs and right hands on the head of Savage. Round four was a good action round. Espino landed good body punches in the round and also landed good uppercuts. Savage showed a good effort fighting back but Espino landed the better punches. In round five, Espino let his combinations go to the head and body of Savage. Savage was tired and bloodied but fought back in spots. In the final round, Espino threw all the power shots and went for the knockout. Savage showed toughness and fought back. Espino continued with hard body shots and uppercuts on Savage. The final scores were 60-54, 59-55 (twice), all for Espino.
Mikey Garcia Plans to “Display All Skills” in Upcoming Contest Against Jessie Vargas
By: Hans Themistode
It was his dream scenario. A chance to prove that he didn’t just belong amongst the best in the world, but that he deserved to be above them.
For Mikey Garcia, he had everything waiting in front of him. The fame, recognition and money were just one win away. Attaining that win turned out to be a major problem as he ran into, Errol Spence Jr.
The now unified Welterweight champ dominated Garcia from the moment the bell rang for their March 16th, contest in Arlington Texas at the AT&T Stadium. When that match was first announced, many believed that Garcia made an appointment with death. Not only was Spence a devastating puncher, but he was also two divisions above Garcia’s natural weight class.
Still, none of that discouraged Garcia from taking on the challenge. Surprisingly, many gave Garcia a chance to pull off the upset. Consider it a testament to the greatness of Garcia.
The storylines of this huge contest were set. If Spence was going to win, it was going to be by stoppage. If things were going to play in the favor of Garcia, then he simply needed to outbox the bigger man. Those opinions never came to fruition as instead, Garcia was out boxed, outclassed and lost every single round. And no, that isn’t hyperbole. Not one single judge scored a round in the favor of Garcia.
It was a bad night for Garcia to say the least, but that hasn’t changed his interest in capturing a world title in his fifth weight class.
This coming Saturday night, the four division world champion will take on fellow multiple division world champion Jessie Vargas at The Ford Center at The Star, in Frisco Texas. The card is loaded from top to bottom with another championship fight in the co main event as IBF Super Flyweight champion Khalid Gonzalez takes on former pound-for-pound Star Roman Gonzalez. That bout, coupled with several former champions on the undercard has shaped this into one of the best cards of the year.
The Texas based card might be a star studded lineup, but Garcia simply wants to remind everyone that it is his name that is headlining the show.
“This is my first time working together with DAZN and it’s been great,” said Garcia during their final press conference. “This is a tremendous card, a stacked card with world championship fights. I’m here to do one thing and take over the show – there’s a lot more to Mikey Garcia. I’m going to display all my skills and be a contender in the welterweight division. We landed on Vargas because he’s a two-weight champion, solid career, big size, and has height. He’s everything that people have been telling me I shouldn’t be fighting, but I’m going to do everything I can to win this fight. I expect the best Jessie Vargas and that will allow to me display all my skills. I don’t want easy fights. This will be a great matchup because Jessie is a warrior. It will push me to get the best out of me.”
For Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs), this could be his last chance to prove himself as a viable contender at the 147 pound division. With Garcia and Vargas possessing one of the more relaxed demeanors in the entire sport of boxing, it came as no surprise to hear both men compliment one another.
Still, regardless of the compliments Garcia wants to prove to everyone that his audacious decision to stay in a weight class that could prove to be too big for him, is the correct decision.
“Jessie is a great person, but inside the ring we’re competitors. He’s coming to knock me out, and I’m trying to doing the same, but that will make it a memorable night. Tune-in to DAZN, it’s going to be fireworks all night long. We’re going to finish it off with bang, Jessie and myself. There’s a lot more to Mikey Garcia.”
Fight Preview: Mikey Garcia vs. Jessie Vargas
By: Rich Lopez
After the big heavyweight showdown this past weekend between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, our focus will be in the welterweight division this Saturday. DAZN will be streaming a huge fight card at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. The main event will be a clash of former world champions between Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas. The undercard will also feature two world title fights and a return of a top heavyweight contender.
The main event will be for the vacant WBC Diamond Welterweight Title. Former four weight division champion Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KO’s) of Moreno Valley, California, will square off with former two weight division champion Jessie “The Pride of Las Vegas” Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KO’s) of Las Vegas, Nevada. Garcia, who has won titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140, moved up to the welterweight division last year. In an effort to win a title in a fifth weight division, he fought one of the best welterweights in Errol Spence Jr. Garcia ended up losing a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision but in a gutsy effort. With almost a year off, Garcia is back and ready to make another attempt at a world title in the welterweight division. First, he needs to get by the tough Jessie Vargas. Vargas who has won titles at 140 and 147, is looking for a major title shot himself. Since losing his WBO World Welterweight title to Manny Pacquiao in 2016, he has gone 2-0-2 in his last four fights. Both fighters are looking for a big win this weekend. Garcia is the favorite to win the fight as he is the more superior boxer. Vargas on the other hand is the natural bigger fighter between the two. You would have to think that Vargas has more to lose in this fight than Garcia. If Vargas loses, this can set his career back and further away from a title shot. If Garcia loses, he will be reminded to move back down to 140 or 135 where he is at his best. Expect an entertaining fight between two boxer punchers that love to mix it up.
One of the most intriguing fights on the undercard will be the co-feature in the super flyweight division. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (48-2, 40 KO’s) of Nicaragua, is back for another chance to become a world champion again. Gonzalez, who was a four weight division champion, was once heralded as the pound for pound king. In 2017, Gonzalez lost back to back fights against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai which set him back to the point that some critic’s think he is not the same fighter anymore. That can change on Saturday with a win but it won’t be easy. His challenger is WBA World Super Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai (26-0, 15 KO’s) of the United Kingdom. Yafai, who was a decorated amateur, won the world title in 2016. He has made five successful title defenses and now will be looking for his sixth title defense. Yafai is a good boxer with speed and good foot work. However, he still needs a signature win and a win over Gonzalez would do it. This will be an interesting fight with a contrast in styles. Yafai will look to box and move while the aggressive Gonzalez will be coming forward. Will Yafai breakthrough as the new star in the division or does Gonzalez have another big win left in him?
The other world title fight on the undercard is in the flyweight division. WBC World Flyweight Champion Julio Cesar “El Rey” Martinez (15-1, 12 KO’s) of Mexico, will be making his second defense of the title. He will face off with Jay Harris (17-0, 9 KO’s) of the United Kingdom. Martinez, who lost his professional debut in 2015 by split decision has won fifteen fights straight since then. Last year, Martinez was on his way to stopping Charlie Edwards in a WBC title fight, but the fight was ruled a no contest. Martinez unintentionally hit Edwards while he was down. However, Martinez ended the year winning the vacant WBC title with a stoppage victory over former world champion Cristopher Rosales in the ninth round. Martinez is one of most exciting world champions today. He has a fan friendly style and he likes to mix his punches to the body and head. In addition, Martinez has a unique style of switching stances while he attacks. Harris is a fast fighter and likes to throw combinations. The undefeated Welshmen is a skilled boxer and is looking for the upset come Saturday night. Can Harris dethrone the hard punching Martinez or will Martinez add another stoppage victory to his resume? Based on styles, this should be an action packed fight.
Also on the undercard, former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KO’s) of New Zealand, makes his return. He will face off with Shawndell Terell Winters (13-2, 12 KO’s) of Harvey, Illinois. Parker was scheduled for a showdown with Dereck Chisora back in October of last year. However, an illness prevented Parker to move forward with the fight. Parker’s last fight was in June of last year when he stopped Alex Leapai in the tenth round. Parker is aiming for another title shot but needs to shake off some rust and is taking a warm up fight against Winters.
Also there will be other undefeated prospects being showcased on the card like Alexis Espino (5-0, 4 KO’s), Diego Pacheco (8-0, 7 KO’s) and Israil Madrimov (4-0, 4 KO’s).
The card is stacked and it should be a fun filled night of action.
Can Mikey Garcia Overcome the Odds Even Though He is a Big Odds Favorite
By: Jeffrey Drake
On February 29, 2020, former four weight division world champion Mikey Garcia will be facing former two weight division world champion Jessie Vargas. This welterweight fight is at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas on DAZN and should have a great atmosphere. Mikey Garcia was widely regarded as a top five pound for pound fighter prior to his fight with current IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. A natural 135-pound fighter, Mikey called out Errol Spence Jr for a long period of time before the fight was made. The boxing public felt Mikey was too small and to take on arguably the welterweight king in your first fight at 147 pounds would be too much. March 16th, 2019 was the date Mikey not only took his first loss, but the first time he was not competitive in a fight.
This Saturday, Mikey Garcia a 6 to 1 favorite, will be making his unofficial welterweight debut. Many odds stand in front of Mikey Garcia prior to even facing Jessie Vargas. The jump from basically 135 to 147 pounds is a big jump. We have watched many fighters make that transition with mixed results. The one famous name that comes to mind who made that weight jump is Adrien Broner. As talented as Broner is, the consensus is he was not the same fighter and took several losses after making the jump to welterweight. Will Mikey power transfer to welterweight? Will he have slower hand and foot speed? Will he be gun shy after taking a sustained beating from Errol Spence Jr? Will he be able to handle the pressure of performing knowing a possible big money fight with all-time great Manny Pacquiao could be next? These are all legitimate questions and we haven’t even talked about his very capable opponent Jessie Vargas.
Jessie Vargas has fought the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Adrien Broner, Timothy Bradley, Sadam Ali amongst other good opponents throughout his career. Jessie has been fighting at welterweight for over four years. Even though he has never been mentioned pound for pound like Mikey Garcia, he has accomplished a lot throughout his career. On Saturday, Jessie should be the bigger fighter, fighting at his natural weight class and with less overall pressure. Yet, Mikey Garcia is still the heavy favorite to win this fight. The boxing community, fans and odds makers are betting that Mikey Garcia will do what we expect every great fighter to do and that is to overcome all odds and win. Let’s find out if Mikey Garcia is still that special or if Jessie Vargas has been disrespected and will get the biggest victory of his career.
Eddie Hearn Claims That Saudi Arabia Wants Mikey Garcia vs Manny Pacquiao
By: Hans Themistode
It wasn’t the sort of introduction to the Welterweight division that Mikey Garcia wanted, but he’s not ready to move away from the division just yet.
The last time Garcia was seen in the ring, he was getting dominated in an IBF title fight against Errol Spence Jr. It wasn’t the sort of performance that fans were expecting to see from Garcia. With just how lopsided that contest was, many were expecting Garcia to drop back down in weight. Yet, that isn’t something that is on his mind. He is currently scheduled to take on former two division world champion Jessie Vargas in February, 2020.
“My last performance was horrible,” said Garcia. “The worse of my career and I feel that I need to make up for that. I gotta show my fans that there is much more to Mikey Garcia, even at 147. I should be fighting at a lower weight class but I want to show everyone that I can be a title challenger 147.”
From a talent perspective, Garcia has the edge over Vargas. But boxing doesn’t simply come down to who has the most skill. Too many times have we seen the smaller, more skilled boxer, take an absolute pounding against the bigger man.
If Garcia is what many believe he still is, which is a pound for pound level fighter, then he should have little trouble against Vargas. His last fight against Spence, had he won, would have gifted him the IBF crown. This time around, his contest against Vargas could give him an even bigger opportunity.
For years Garcia has been linked to future hall of famer and current WBA Welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao. A win over Vargas could push Garcia to the front of the line for that contest.
If fighting Pacquiao wasn’t a big enough incentive, promoter Eddie Hearn recently dropped some huge news.
Not only would Garcia vs Pacquiao be the most likely contest next, but it could also take place in Saudi Arabia.
Remember, it was just a few weeks ago that Saudi Arabia built the biggest outdoor temporary arena to host the Heavyweight title clash between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.
The fight did monster numbers and there is no reason why it won’t be even bigger with Garcia and Pacquiao headlining the event.
“They want that [Pacquiao and Garcia] fight,” said Hearn. “They want the biggest of the biggest fights in Saudi Arabia. They have loads of money and are not going anywhere. If you get [a mega fight], they have the money for it. You know, if I’m going to do two shows in Saudi, they are going to be f—ing monsters … I’m getting approaches from everybody in the middle east to do fights, but right now, Saudi Arabia is the one who put the money up and the trust in us.”
No one is overlooking for Vargas. He is still in the prime of his career and a very good fighter who has only lost to Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley. While Garcia can’t and won’t think past him, the fans on the other hand can’t help but get excited if a Mikey Garcia vs Manny Pacquiao fight takes place.
If Joshua vs Ruiz was any indication, the magnitude of that event in Saudi Arabia would be ridiculous.
Mikey Garcia Teams Up with Eddie Hearn
By: Sean Crose
In a bit of a surprise, Matchroom Boxing announced Sunday that it had signed Mikey Garcia to it’s impressive stable of fighters. “Former four-weight World king Garcia (39-1 30 KOs) will return to action on February 29, exclusively live on DAZN,” the promotional outlet claimed in a press release, “as the California favorite looks to regain his World champion status and continue his glittering career at the elite level.” For his part, the 32 year old Garcia came across as excited. “I am happy to announce my return to the ring for February 29,” Garcia said. “I am eager to make my return and grow my legacy. I look forward to working with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN and I want to thank all my fans for the continued support. Fight details will be announced soon and I can’t wait to be back in the ring.”
Garcia was last seen in the ring against welterweight powerhouse Errol Spence last March. It was the first time in his career that the acclaimed Garcia had been bested. Still, few criticized the man for not being able to best a rising star a full two weight divisions higher than he had previously fought at. Since that time, Garcia has been conspicuously quiet, with some thinking he might try his hand against former titlist Danny Garcia and still others suggesting he might be interested in facing the iconic Manny Pacquiao. Although no opponent or weight realm has been set for Garcia’s comeback fight, the fact the multi-titlist has signed with Hearn is a notable development in and of itself.
“I’ve been talking to Mikey for over a year now,” said Hearn, “and I’m so happy to welcome him to the team… Mikey is a standout star and I’m looking forward to working with him on big fights moving forward.” Hearn also made it clear that further details on Garcia’s next fight would be sure to come. “We will be announcing the opponent and venue shortly,” he said. “The talent within Matchroom Boxing and on DAZN is unprecedented – we look forward to an epic 2020!” Garcia has been aligned, in one form or other, with a considerable number of high level outlets. Besides being once connected to Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions, Garcia was also fighting on a Premiere Boxing Champions (PBC) card when he faced off against Spence last winter or pay per view.
“Mikey Garcia joining the DAZN roster will allow us to deliver even greater value to our subscribers as our Fight Season schedule begins to take shape for 2020,” DAZN EVP, North America Joseph Markowski claimed. “We’re a data-led business and so we’re naturally drawn to the fact that Mikey has consistently delivered numbers – whether it’s been television audience, pay-per-view buys or ticket sales. We look forward to welcoming his fans to DAZN on Leap Year Day.”
Which Garcia Should Pacquiao Fight Next? Mikey or Danny?
By: Hans Themistode
When Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) outclassed Adrien Broner earlier this year, not many people thought anything of it.
Broner has always possessed all of the talent in the world, but he has long had his difficulties putting it all together. His four division world titles, although impressive, lacks any true substance. He just hasn’t beaten anyone of note in his career.
When the two locked horns at the MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January, no one was really surprised by the outcome. Broner gave it everything he had, but Pacquiao simply overwhelmed him with his volume. When it was later announced that Pacquiao would be stepping into the ring against Keith Thurman a few months later, that contest was viewed as a true toss up. In fact, many believed that Thurman, who is a decade younger, would be too much for Pacquiao.
Fast forward twelve grueling rounds later and many of those critics were wrong as Pacquiao earned a split decision victory.
Pacquiao, like many of the top name fighters of today, only fights two times a year. His next contest has already been penciled in for the first half of 2020 and he has two opponents in mind.
Former two division world champion Danny Garcia and former four division champion Mikey Garcia, no relation.
With Terence Crawford on the other side of the street with Top Rank and Errol Spence Jr sidelined while he recovers from his horrific car accident, these are the two biggest names Pacquiao can get his hands on. But which of the two Garcia’s would be the best option? Let’s break it down.
The Case For Danny
It wasn’t that long ago, 2016 to be exact, when Danny Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) was an undefeated belt holder at the Welterweight division. His run through the Super Lightweight class was something special. He fought and defeated the sort of fighters that no one expected him too.
In 2012, when he absolutely destroyed Amir Khan, that wasn’t supposed to happen. No one expected him to pull off the victory. Yet, he did. Whoever considered themselves the top dog at the weight made sure to step into the ring with Danny and each time the Philly born fighter came out on top.
His run in the Welterweight division hasn’t been as great but it’s been a very good one. Close losses to both Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman knocked off some of the shine from his profile but still, those matches could have gone either way. He may not be viewed as the possible pound for pound level fighter that many pegged him out to be, but he is still an outstanding fighter nonetheless.
Danny has also been itching for a chance to face off with Pacquiao for a while now.
“I’m waiting for the call,” said Danny when regarding a possible Pacquiao contest. “That’s a fight I definitely want. Pacquiao has always had problems with counter punchers so I feel like my style would be perfect for him.”
Pacquiao has had his issues with counter punchers in the past but he would be the solid betting favorite going up against Danny if this contest were to take place. The case for Danny to be the next man up for Pacquiao is a strong one but let’s take a look at the other Garcia first.
The Case For Mikey
You really can’t have one bad day at the office in the sport of boxing. Throughout the entire career of Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) he was viewed as one of the best out there. Even as he battled legal issues for several years, once he returned back to the ring he didn’t lose a beat.
Mikey soon went on a roll, defeating Dejan Zlaticanin for the Lightweight world title. He then moved up to outpoint Adrien Broner over 12 rounds and followed that up with back to back wins over Sergey Lipinets and Robert Easter Jr to win world titles in both contests.
His penchant to move up in weight was taken too far as he jumped up two weight classes to take on IBF titlist Errol Spence Jr in March of this year and subsequently lost every single round in that matchup. He hasn’t been seen in a ring since then.
Despite the loss, Mikey and Pacquiao have long been linked to one another. To say that Mikey would be excited for the challenge would be putting it mildly.
“I would love a fight with Manny,” said Mikey. “I think I have to get another fight before that to show everyone that I am capable and that I earned it. But a fight with Manny would be bad ass. I would love a fight with Manny.”
With just one defeat on his record he would be more than a worthy foe for Pacquiao and his 2020 return, but which Garcia should ultimately get the call?
Mikey Garcia is a great fighter. Despite his blowout loss to Spence, you just can’t say a bad word about the guy. His timing, power, boxing ability and heart have always carried him through his matches.
If this contest were to take place at a different weight than Mikey would have a better argument. But it isn’t.
The four division world champion just seems to be too small for the Welterweight class.
Danny on the other hand isn’t just a fully grown Welterweight fighter, but in actuality, he might be too big for the weight class. Don’t put too much stock into Danny losing to Keith Thurman back in 2017 and Pacquiao winning his most recent contest against that same Keith Thurman this year. We all know that styles make fights and Danny would give Pacquiao a ton of issues in the ring.
Truth be told, Pacquiao would be expected to win against either Garcia. However, if these are the two top options for Pacquiao and his return bout then he should absolutely look to take on Danny Garcia. It would be a fan friendly contest from start to finish and it would give both men a chance to add another big name fighter to their already ridiculous resumes.
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.
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.
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.