One day away from a semi super-fight which, strangely, no one called for, and also, could very well underwhelm from an action standpoint, being that the principals Errol Spence and Mikey Garcia are both prone to being patient dissectors….
So, let's see, shall we, how the style clash plays out in the only place that matters, the ring.
On paper, it's all theoretical; in that Texas ring at AT&T Stadium, the blood and the sweat will appear and turn theory into actuality.
Here, the NYF squad and friends of NYF have at it, look into their crystal balls, and give their preds on Errol Spence vs. Mikey Garcia.
ABE GONZALEZ: “I'm going to go out on a limb and say Mikey Garcia by split decision. The fight has two sides to it. On one end, Mikey will use his great foot work and ability to create angles that will open opportunities to land shots. On the other, Spence Jr. will utilize that long jab to set up that straight left or the left hook while using his large frame to lean on Mikey at times in order to wear him down. In the end, Mikey Garcia would have done just enough to win it by split decision. This will certainly kill the superfight buzz between Spence and Thurman and put it in the category of the fight that never happened.”
JOHN GATLING: “Mikey Garcia is a special fighter, a generational star and an all-time great. He is an “A” fighter, a bonafide top 5 pound-for-pound talent, and has both the skill set and the temperament to bring out Spence's best. The problem is– he will. What we should all see on Saturday night is the very best fighter in the world; a scary hybrid of a southpaw Sonny Liston at 147 with elements of Mike McCallum aka “The Body Snatcher”. In front of him will be what amounts to the same Juan Manuel Marquez opposite Floyd Mayweather in September 2009; the bloated, 144lb edition that drank his own urine to get an edge. Spence is going to beat the piss out of Mikey, sending his brother, his father, and every bloody white towel they have in the corner flying into the ring near the end of the 6th round in an instant classic.”
CHRIS GLOVER: “It’s a great fight, this. Mikey Garcia really is a throwback fighter, and fair play to him for stepping up to this challenge. Size does matter in boxing, and Errol Spence Jr is a massive welterweight, look at the Kell Brook fight. Brook, another massive welterweight. The opening rounds I expect to be relatively even, as both possess an elite level of skill, however, as the rounds go on I expect Spence Jr to take over, as his strength will become a factor and it may contribute to the Texan gaining a late stoppage victory. I’m with Errol Spence Jr on this one and I expect it to be a points decision or a late stoppage (rounds 10-12).
JOE “JAB HOOK” HEALY: “The stunning upset of Errol Spence Jr by Garcia is a very improbable outcome, but the chance that Spence Jr can stop Garcia is also remote. Jab Hook thinks the bout will develop into a chess match with traps set and surprises being sprung. Who can implement their plan best? A cut, a knockdown and and even a few wild exchanges of blows could liven things up. It may not end up being a classic, but we will have our fun. Errol Spence Jr will look good as he handles Mikey and solves the puzzle he presents. Garcia will win some rounds and will be a game contender until the last bell. Jab Hook picks Spence Jr to retain his IBF belt, winning clearly over a tough Mikey Garcia. But the scorecards may be closer than “The Truth” has told it, including a possible malalignment.”
GEORGE JOLLY: “What Mikey has that sets him apart from the rest, will set him apart from Errol Spence Saturday night, is a dedication to craft and the possession of a subtle sophistication inside the ring. Mikey with his economy of movement will stay half-steps just inside and outside of Spence’s sweet spot. Manipulating angles for new openings, a textbook jab, and steady straight right hands will be Mikey’s staples, but I also suspect some lead left hooks creating openings for uppercuts, and the occasional overhand right to surprise the taller Spence. Mikey takes Spence the distance and gets the decision.”
BRIAN JAFFE: “Prediction: if Spence is really “The Truth” then this should be easy work and by easy work I mean a natural 47 stoppage before 9. If he does so, I don’t give him any more props then he already has. He simply would have beaten a guy who jumped 2 classes. Wouldn’t be all that impressive. If Mikey wins, he solidifies his legacy on a whole other level and Spence should have in his contract he must change his nickname. #SpenceByStoppage ✔️“
DONOVAN KASP: “I’d be very surprised if Garcia wins or even makes it to the full 12 rounds. I think Robert Garcia will have his towel close to his side in case his brother gets devastatingly battered against the naturally bigger Spence. If I had to predict, I’d say this fight will end like the Hopkins vs DLH fight with a body shot.
Garcia will be game and skilled, hanging in there for the 1st 6 rounds, but being overwhelmed with the strength and speed of Spence. 8th or 9th round stoppage.”
VLADIMIR LIK: “Spence by late round knockout. Mikey will make it compelling and will hurt Spence. It will be similar to Joshua-Klitschko.”
KELSEY McCARSON: “Size doesn’t matter in boxing until it does. Spence is too skilled, and the weight of his naturally harder punches will take their toll on Garcia as the fight progresses. Garcia is a fantastic technician, but unless he suddenly possesses a suspiciously copious amount of newfound speed and power, Spence will outwork him and either stop him late or give the judges an easy night of scorecard calculations.”
ROBBI PATERSON: “When this one came out of the blue, Mikey Garcia moving up two weight divisions to fight Errol Spence, the hand speed advantage in Spence’s favor was the first thing that jumped out at me, as the size difference spoke for itself right off the bat. But what Mikey does have going for him that might somewhat compensate for that minus and even things out is his exquisite technique and timing, which are both enhanced by his beautiful balance and positioning. When it comes to near flawless fundamentals, Garcia is from the same neighbourhood as Joe Louis, Alexis Arguello, Donald Curry, and Ricardo Lopez.
It's not all about the size and power of Spence, as most bang on about. He has the capability to win this fight over 12 rounds with his quick hands and boxing ability, steadily on the front foot, with his power somewhat in reserve. That said, don’t bank on Spence taking it easy on Garcia, as I very much doubt he’ll be content with being taken the distance by a one-time featherweight.
For Garcia, it would a wise move if he were to use more movement than he normally does, which in turn will give him a safety blanket to ease his way into the fight and somewhat dampen Spence's offense at the same time. If he fights his normal style of steadily coming forward, looking to lead or counter, with limited lateral movement, Spence will happily exchange with him all day long, and that will probably make Garcia retreat on Spence's accord rather than his own. Although that will depend on how comfortable Garcia is after taking Spence's heavy artillery. If Mikey thinks he's ok in close and his chin is fine, it would still be foolish to stand in there, because the physical strength and the persistence of Spence might wear him out as the fight winds down. Mikey should avoid an up-close, physical fight at all costs. Crucial.
I predict that Garcia will indeed feel the difference in physicality and strength when he's on the inside with Spence, a bit like how Duran did against the stronger, natural middleweight in Hagler, which in turn made Duran sit at a safe distance much of the time and had him picking his punching opportunities carefully. Garcia must try to be Duran-like in ring craft against the mountainous, powerful Spence.
But herein lies the difference: Hagler foolishly stood off Duran after giving him hell when he turned up the heat by bullying Roberto physically and drilling him with both hands, especially during round 6. I expect Spence not to show Garcia the same respect, which will more than likely make Garcia pick up his feet and move, move, and move.
Garcia must be in and out, in and out, as it will be hard for him to boss the fight exclusively at long-range because he's got height and reach disadvantages to contend with, as well as Spence's spearing jab.
Even if Garcia is winning on points going into the late rounds and Spence and his corner senses it, Errol will really step up the pace and overwhelm Mikey with pulverizing shots to the body and head.
Spence late TKO.
TOM PENNEY: “Mikey, close decision. Call it a gut feeling but I think Spence is going to fall into the trap of trying to outbox one of the best boxers of our era instead of imposing his size like he should.”
DAVID PHILLIPS: “Finally! We get a fight we REALLY want! 63 wins and no losses between them with lots of highlight reel moments. Both guys are extremely talented, but Garcia is taking another step up in weight to welterweight, where Spence has been residing for some time. Also of note, while Garcia has rattled off some nice wins since returning from his 2 1/2 year layoff, he hasn't been quite the dominant force he was at super featherweight and featherweight. He's a hell of a fighter, but I think Spence's size AND his talent will make the difference. Regardless of result, this one's worth the money.”
XAVIER PORTER: “Mikey wins either (MD12) or (SD12). Mikey will also score a knockdown to cement his legacy!”
JOHNNY WILDS: “Mikey wins a close decision and moves into the top 5 pound for pound.”