Often times when the phrase “fight the smaller man like a big man” is stated, it is usually interpreted as means to step in to maul the little fighter and get him out of there with your power and aggression, when in fact, there is also a second logic to this, where the bigger man fights tall, commands space in mid distance, and keeps the smaller man at the end of his punch to keep him at his mercy to the punishment that he is administering.
The old saying goes ‘everything is bigger in Texas’… well here in front of us lies the biggest match-up of 2019 thus far on the horizon this weekend, as 5X, 4-Division World Champion Mikey Garcia (39-0-0, 30KO) makes his Welterweight debut against the divisions ‘Boogeyman’, that being IBF Welterweight Champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. (24-0-0, 21KO).
This will be a FOX-PBC Pay-Per-View event that will take center-stage at the famed mega venue that is known as AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. For each fighter, this is their 1st time headlining a Pay-Per-View card, and the stakes are as high as they can get.
For Spence, this will be his biggest assignment to date as a professional, given Garcia’s overall accolades and pedigree that he carries into the ring with him, attempting to capitalize both on critical acclaim, and using this as a positive first step into becoming something of a global mainstream Pay-Per-View attraction for future assignments, pending on Errol’s performance here.
As for Mikey Garcia, he is attempting to become only the 6th boxer in history to become a 5-Division World Champion, possibly joining the ranks of Manny Pacquiao (8), Oscar De La Hoya (6), Sugar Ray Leonard (5), Floyd Mayweather Jr. (5), and Thomas Hearns (5). Granted if successful, he would also become the second Mexican-blooded fighter (Nationality out of the picture) to achieve this feat, the other of course being Oscar De La Hoya. Together, Garcia & Spence have a combined 63-0-0 record, so something has to give.
THE COLD HARD TRUTH – While this is a very intriguing match in terms of watch-ability, this match-up feels forced, as each fighter has an unset path in front of them in their own division, that both are supposed to carry out and complete, and with that being the case, neither guy at this point should’ve been on the others radar, as no one was really calling for this fight to come to fruition at this juncture.
Typically when these type of fights happen, there’s either circumstances where both fighters are heavily avoided, or when both fighters clean up and finish the job within their own divisions first.
For Errol Spence, in large, his story is that of a heavily avoided fighter, who is openly dodged by most that sit atop the Welterweight division, and the ones who want to get in the ring with him, is held in the cross-hairs of promotional roadblocks, preventing the fights from happening…so for Errol, it makes more sense for him to look elsewhere outside of his own division to find a suitable opponent for names-sake, for a challenge, or preferably both.
As for Mikey Garcia, it is incredibly curious as to why he is taking this fight, when he already had a pathway structured and mapped out to take at Lightweight, where both he and Vasiliy Lomachenko are/were seemingly on a destiny collision to crown an Undisputed Lightweight Champion.
Garcia has been on record stating that he sees a vulnerability in Spence that he is capable of exploiting, despite his size…whether he can do that remains to be seen. He is also on record of stating that he doesn’t see any weaknesses in Lomachenko’s arsenal, so one wonders if those 2 things factored into Mikey’s decision to seek out the bigger Champion. Nonetheless, while that may be disappointing, it is still very brave of Garcia to look upward and target out a Welterweight who essentially fights bigger than his division, one who hits like a Middleweight.
On March 16th we will see what ultimately comes of this match, whether Garcia can pull off the monumental feat, or if Spence can win in a dominant way that can bolster his credentials and reputation to to the level that he wants to take it to. Pay-Per-View coverage starts at 9 P.M. EST.