WBC Lightweight Champion, Mikey Garcia, dares for greatness this Saturday night at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as he jumps two weight divisions from his recent 9 stone 7 home, in a bid to take the IBF Welterweight Title from the excellent Errol Spence Junior. Garcia has reigned at 10 stone too, albeit briefly, but this is an entirely different test all together for the Californian.
Both men are at the peak of their powers, which makes the fight even more intriguing, and puts the theory of “a good big gun always beats a good little un” to the test. UK fight fans get to see the fight free and live on ITV4, while the bout is in pay per view on Fox in the USA. Errol Spence Junior (24-0,KO21) v Mikey Garcia (39-0, KO30) 12 Rounds, IBF Welterweight Title. Errol Spence puts his IBF Title, and reputation on the line, in allowing Mikey Garcia, a four weight World Champion from Featherweight up to Super Lightweight.
It would be a remarkable feat for Garcia if he could pull victory off, especially as he faces a fellow pound for pound player, and a special talent in Spence.
Spence captured the belt he currently holds in May 2017, when he travelled to Sheffield’s Bramhall Lane Stadium to relieve Kell Brook of the Title with an impressive eleventh round knockout. He has defended twice since, with routine wins against Lamont Peterson via seventh round retirement, and in his last fight, he overwhelmed the vastly inferior Carlos Ocampo at the end of the opening round in June 2018. The Texas native possesses power with 21 out of 24 wins coming via the short route, and he will start as the favourite for this assignment. Much will depend on how effectively Garcia can bulk up at 10 stone 7.
The Moreno Valley man has been flawless in his paid career so far picking up World Titles in no less than four weight classes. After spells as Featherweight and Super Featherweight Champion, Garcia won the WBC Title at Lightweight in January 2017, knocking the previously unbeaten Dejan Zlaticanin out in three rounds.
He was allowed to remain Champion while he handily outscored the outspoken Adrien Broner in July if the same year to pick up the WBC Diamond Super Lightweight Title, and became a recognised World Champion at the weight with a dominant points win over Sergey Lipinets to lift the IBF Title in March last year. furthermore, his last fight was just as impressive, as he dropped back to Lightweight to add the IBF Title to his WBC one by widely outpointing another unbeaten fighter in Robert Easter Junior. He has an impressive resumé, and will look to extend his flawless record in Texas this weekend.
Make no mistake, this is a big jump up for Garcia. Although we have seen Manny Pacquiao jump from Lightweight to Welterweight to shock the world when beating up Oscar de la Hoya in 2008, Oscar was far past his prime. The losing efforts are better remembered. Kell Brook’s brave but ultimately painful challenge for Gennady Golovkin’s Middleweight gold in 2016, aswell as Amuir Khan’s earth shattering knockout defeat at the fists of Saul Alvarez earlier the same year come to mind.This is what makes the challenge even more of a large one for Mikey Garcia, for Spence, he has the most to lose in this one, as he is expected to win the contest as the naturally bigger man.
Garcia will need to use his speed and guile to stay out of the way of heavy attacks, but will feel it when Spence presses his weight onto him. As talented as Garcia is, Spence is a big Welterweight, and I can’t see anything other than a points win for the Champion, although we may see a controversial decision playing a part.