The first time Errol Spence Jr hits Mikey Garcia flush on Saturday could provide viewers with some valuable intel on how the fight will play out. Spence’s power is legitimate at welterweight, his finishing instincts often on point. How Garcia reacts to his first meeting with adversity is intriguing.
Given a bit of time to calm down and assess the fight, many observers are starting to cool on their Spence-domination analysis. While still not picking Garcia to actually win they are at least beginning to give him some semblance of a chance.
The bookmakers don’t have it classed as a gross mismatch, even though Garcia is coming in as the underdog for possibly the first time in his career. Spence is much the bigger man, hits hard, and possesses impressive southpaw skills. Despite Errol being the PBC pay-per-view star, his opponent’s name carries plenty of boxing currency.
Spence undoubtedly passes the eye test but, Kell Brook aside, he has not built an untouchable resume of scalps. This isn’t Floyd Mayweather that Garcia is stepping up to face; in the sense of a dominant pound-for-pound master at least.
Spence can do damage of a different kind. Not since Ronald Cruz in 2014 (some 12 fights ago) has anyone managed to hear the final bell against the Texan. Spence still has a fledgeling champion feel about him – almost as if he is a prospect still, rather than a 29-year-old IBF welterweight champion.
Garcia has some pretty nifty skills of his own. A four-weight world champion, Garcia is textbook in his moves, yet so ruthlessly effective at working out styles, identifying flaws, and dismantling opponents over the course of a championship contest. Even though Garcia is moving up two weight classes off the back of a decisive win over Robert Easter at 135, he has some previous form at 140. Nobody thought he had any real business competing that high in weight when he was busy outworking Adrien Broner and outboxing Sergey Lipinets.
Now he is packing on an extra seven pounds to tackle a man who is already bursting at the seams to make 147. Size is the key here. Garcia’s skills are on par with Spence (some may argue that he is the better boxer). Garcia was able to negate the size advantages enjoyed by Robert Easter when they met in July 2018. Spence cannot beat Garcia on pure size alone. He needs to stay disciplined, set traps and put himself into the right positions to punish his smaller adversary.
Any notion of a Spence struggle could damage his growing brand. A clinical dissection is what’s needed on his part. Future fights with the likes of Terence Crawford and Keith Thurman are on the line for the winner of this AT&T Stadium headliner. For Garcia, he can aim for moral victory if nothing else. Going the distance and causing problems could be enough to raise his stock.
The tip is for Spence to win. Is this a ridiculous mismatch though? Not at all.