Opposites attract like
#MAGA# hats and facts so
Maggots turn black
Into some fly shit
Has Spence been
A fly on some wall shit
Mikey might be ride or die
“The Truth” ain’t on some spy shit
(Arlington, TX): There’s a haunting.
On Wednesday, unbeaten IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr (24-0, 21KOs) presents an ornery reverence to the specter of ring legend Roberto Duran. His legendary contemporaries in the form of Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather have all picked WBC lightweight champion and the equally unbeaten Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30KOs) to prevail, something “The Truth” has a hard time believing and it shows.
During Friday’s weigh-in, the Panamanian’s presence seems to invade the spirit of Spence, finally giving this would be “Dream Fight” the compelling dark aura it needs to be a classic.
It will be.
Since this fight involves a rare match-up in boxing featuring a prime lightweight champion against a prime welterweight champion, it draws an obvious correlation to the last time we saw this: Roberto Duran Vs Sugar Ray Leonard in June 1980. I touched on that fight in Vol. I of this series (which included a fantasy duel between Duran and Garcia I’m told both read with amusement), but let’s examine some of the particulars that makes this similar before explaining to you why the result won’t be.
Approximately one-inch taller than the 5’6 burgeoning pugilistic immortal in Garcia, Duran is largely considered the greatest lightweight of all-time. But “Hands of Stone” also had a 66-inch reach that was two inches shorter than that of Mikey’s 68-inch reach, when he challenged the bigger and thought-to-be much stronger Sugar Ray Leonard (who was 5’10 1/2 with a long 74 inch reach). Mikey faces roughly the roughly the same height disadvantage while dealing with a much shorter measurable in reach (Spence is 5’10 with a 72 inch reach).
Mikey is a pressure fighter of more finesse and nuance than Duran, who was more similar to an Edwin Valero in terms of how he would’ve approached Spence. That’s not what Garcia will do. From the other perspective, Spence does not want to deal in quintessential “sweet science” like a Sugar Ray Leonard– he doesn’t have the hand or foot-speed for that and doesn’t hide it. With this fight, I more or less see an iteration of a somewhat bloated Juan Manuel Marquez (very close to what Floyd saw in September 2009, albeit a little better) against the Marvelous Marvin Hagler that burglarized the soul of Alan Minter in front of his enraged extended family in October 1980. None of this bodes well for Mikey Garcia at all.
While the 4-division world champion and lightweight king came in at 145 1/2 lbs, he won’t be much more than that on Saturday night. Spence, on the other hand, at a little under 147, should be a solid super welterweight at around 160lbs by the sound of the bell, fully prepared to withstand the punishment of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. That definitely does not bode well for Garcia, who failed to hurt Sergey Lipinets and Adrien Broner at 140. I can’t see him having enough to stop Spence’s claustrophobic attack and menacing body assault.
We exist within the realm of a two fisted, black and white polarity of Belief Vs Doubt, and with exception, this is true for virtually all of us. In rare instances, some of us slip into The Grey, a magical place where “knowing” resides for the special. Spence and Garcia have castles in this space; and when A fighters collide, without the aroma of defeat, there’s a knowing that exists, for one of them has to be sent to a place of doubt or disbelief, and I believe that fighter will be Mikey, probably after about two or three rounds. What happens from there will be merciless and severe.
In debate forums with those I have so much respect for who side with Garcia, I concede that Mikey is actually a better overall boxer than Errol Spence Jr – in the here and now (more on that in a bit), but we’re talking about proving the epitome of the term “pound-for-pound” and why there’s a distinction. This fight will go a long way toward defining that. In a fight that marks his ascension to the throne of world #1, Errol Spence Jr will deliver the chilling exhibition of a savage, brutally dispensing of a very brave Mikey Garcia in six debilitating rounds.
All things being even, “The Matrix,” Vasyl Lomachenko, should be fighting Terence “Bud” Crawford after he pretends Anthony Crolla is a generic version of Agent Smith. Then, if he were to fight Mikey Garcia for lightweight supremacy sometime in the near future, they’re virtually the same fighters who assumed the same risk. Throw away the slight skills advantages and technique– this is about physics and applied force, that is what will determine Spence Vs Garcia, as it would Lomachenko Vs Crawford (or should), but we know Bob Arum won’t let that happen, and will relish seeing what happens to Mikey in AT&T Stadium on FOX PPV for $74.99 (9pm ET). It would thus be unfair for Mikey to come back down as a diminished version of himself to face a Lomachenko unaffected by weight class disparity (although a very big Jorge Linares appears to have diminished him, but we’ll soon find out).
As for Spence Jr, the new pound-for-pound king will have all the options befitting of the man wearing the crown and holding the scepter. He’s stated that he wants another legacy fight with an aging, “regular” WBA welterweight belt wearing Manny Pacquiao, recently signed by Al Haymon under the same Premier Boxing Champions banner and last seen very much making Adrien Problem look like “The Problem” with a “Pac-Man” on his last life.
I’d personally like to see PBC do the right thing and end the asinine delay in pitting Spence against unbeaten WBA (super) welterweight champion Keith Thurman — or to just allow Thurman to fight Pacquiao (who should qualify as his mandatory). Then there’s the issue of WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter and what happens there. Does Danny Garcia factor in somewhere for another title shot after presumably dispatching Adrian Granados? Who knows? To promoters, these champions seem as if cookie dough to be stretched. For now, enjoy the spectacle and pageantry inside of the world of Jerry Jones and the home of the Dallas Cowboys, as Errol Spence Jr officially becomes what Lupe Fiasco would call “A Superstar”.