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Spence and Garcia Concur that to be the Best, You Have to Beat the Best

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  • Spence and Garcia Concur that to be the Best, You Have to Beat the Best

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    By Bernard Fernandez

    There is a familiar saying, the originator of which no one seems to know, that holds that good and big always beats good and small. And it’s true in most forms of athletic competition, especially in team sports, where, all other things being equal, superior height (basketball) and heft (football) tend to reward obvious size advantages.

    Given that admittedly imperfect rule of thumb, it stands to reason that the odds favor IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs), a natural 147-pounder who stands 5-foot-9½ with a 72-inch reach compared to Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), who is 5-6 with a 68-inch reach. Spence, who at 29 is also two years younger than Garcia, is the -363 choice in some sports books, meaning bettors would have to risk $363 to win $100. Garcia is +251, which would reward his backers with a $251 payoff on a $100 wager.

    The gap in those numbers can and very likely will shrink when the two undefeated and rightfully celebrated fighters square off Saturday night in the Fox Sports Pay Per View main event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Although Spence, from the Dallas suburb of Desoto, is nominally the hometown guy, many spectators among a live turnout approaching and possibly even surpassing 40,000 are Mexican or Mexican-American and are apt to follow their hearts by putting their cash on Garcia, a life-long Cowboys fan (as is Spence) even though he grew up in Oxnard, Calif., and now resides in Moreno Valley, Calif.

    Then again, maybe Garcia’s fans won’t be swayed so much by ethnic pride as by cold, calculating reason. There is another saying, also unattributed, that holds that big and good doesn’t necessarily beat great and small. Even if he comes up, well, a bit short in his ambitious bid to unseat Spence, the likelihood is that Garcia, still the WBC lightweight titlist as well as the former WBO featherweight and super featherweight and IBF super lightweight champ, already has done enough to guarantee his eventual enshrinement in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Spence, who would seem to be headed toward his own IBHOF induction, is not yet a lock to have his ticket punched to Canastota, N.Y. He probably is a few key victories shy of matching Garcia’s credentials as a ring immortal, which could explain his rationale for taking a fight some would say is as much a risk on his part as it is for Garcia. If Spence defeats Garcia, and even if he knocks him out, will he hear from skeptics claiming that all he did was to beat up an undeniably gifted but much smaller man?

    Almost everyone agrees that Garcia, to his credit, is daring to be great by jumping up two weight classes to mix it up with arguably the top welterweight in the world. Spence’s participation, on the other hand, might owe more to the fact that his oft-stated objective -- to fully unify the title at 147 -- has been blocked at every turn, at least to date, which had the effect of steering him toward Garcia. As consolation prizes go, this one is about as good as anyone could have hoped for.

    “I doubt (a fight with) Keith Thurman (the WBA “super” champion) would’ve happened at the Cowboys stadium, or me and Terence Crawford (the WBO champ) would’ve happened at the Cowboys stadium,” Spence reasoned. “I’m just grateful to be fighting at home, on Fox Pay Per View and against a great opponent like Mikey Garcia. It was an easy fight to make, too. He basically called me out. It’s a real good fight. I’m happy with it.”

    He’s also happy because he believes, as does his trainer, Derrick James, that he will win for reasons that go beyond physical dimensions. On fight night the power-punching southpaw is absolutely certain he will not resemble Jess Willard, battered senseless by the much smaller but much better Jack Dempsey, or John Ruiz, made to look foolish by the much smaller but clearly more talented Roy Jones Jr. Spence and James have as much confidence in Spence’s impressive array of skills as Garcia has in his own well-stocked arsenal.

    “I believe this fight, from my perspective, not only establishes Errol as a superstar, it enhances his status as a superstar, which I believe he already is,” James said. “If you go by social media, more people talk about Errol than just about any other fighter in the world. They speculate about him fighting this guy, that guy, some other guy. So, yeah, he’s already there. Anthony Joshua is a top seller, Canelo Alvarez is a top seller and Errol Spence Jr. is a top seller. This fight will prove beyond any doubt that he’s one of the top dogs in boxing.”

    It is Spence’s contention that while other holders of welterweight titles, as well as big-name former champs, pay lip service to sharing the ring with him, they tend to be conveniently unavailable when it’s time to strike a deal. James claimed it has been that way since Spence journeyed to Sheffield, England, hometown of then-IBF welter champ Kell Brook, and wrested his title on a brutal, 11th-round stoppage on May 27, 2017. Brook, forced to take a knee in both the 10th and 11th rounds, came away with the orbital bone in his left eye shattered.

    “Any trainer wants to have a complete fighter, someone who has a lot of strengths and no obvious weaknesses,” James said. “From the time I started training Errol, I asked him what the weakest part of his game was. Because we were going to build that part up. That’s what we did with his defense, and it’s why I think Errol is such a complete fighter. He has great defense now to go with great offense and great counterpunching. He’s the whole package.”

    Garcia begs to differ, which is why he successfully lobbied his father, Eduardo, and brother-trainer, Robert, a former IBF junior lightweight titleholder, to go after Spence when the more prudent course might have been to take one or two less-daunting, welcome-to-the-neighborhood bouts at welterweight.

    “He’s the best right now in the division,” Mikey Garcia said of his impatience to get it on with Spence. “I want to make a statement. I want to make a mark, and you know I have to do that against the best.

    “I believe I’m a better fighter overall. When it comes to footwork, I think I have the better footwork. When it comes to speed, I think I have better speed. When it comes to defense, I have better defense. With timing, I have better timing. The only thing he has going for him that’s apparent is the size, height, weight and reach. I’ve always said I’m better than him. Not by a lot, but just enough to beat him.”

    What about the perceived advantage for Spence in power, especially against a smaller guy who might not be able to bring his own formidable punch with him up two weight classes?

    “A lot of people underestimate my power when they face me,” Garcia said. “They don’t see my physical size as a threat. But you know they feel the power once we’re in the ring and I definitely change their minds.”

    BIG NAMES, BIG CROWDS IN `BIG D’

    It is not generally known, but Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once was a boxing promoter. In 1984, five years before he purchased the NFL’s most globally recognizable brand, he staged a fight card in Little Rock, Ark., that drew 2,500 spectators.

    Perhaps it is no surprise then that early blueprints for Jones’ Xanadu of a football palace, now known as AT&T Stadium, included a layout for boxing that placed the ring on the blue star at the 50-yard line.

    Jones, 76, still likes to involve himself with fights and fighters, only on a far more grandiose scale. AT&T Stadium, widely known as “Jerry’s World,” will be the site of its fourth major card Saturday night when IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. and four-division ruler Mikey Garcia throw down in a matchup of undefeated champions that is expected to draw 45,000 or more spectators.

    The first time AT&T Stadium, then known as Cowboys Stadium, welcomed a fight crowd was on March 13, 2010, when Manny Pacquiao retained his WBO welterweight title on a wide unanimous decision over Joshua Clotttey, a bout that had a paid attendance of 36,371 and overall turnout of 41,843. Pacquiao was the draw again when he outpointed Antonio Margarito, also on a unanimous decision, to win the vacant WBC super welterweight title. That fight drew another strong crowd of 41,734.

    Now Spence-Garcia is out to surpass the stadium attendance record of 51,240 for a boxing match, set on Sept. 17, 2016, when hugely popular Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez lifted Liam Smith’s WBO super welterweight belt on a ninth-round knockout.

    DAN JENKINS WAS DEAD SOLID PERFECT IN PRINT

    It has been my unpleasant duty over the years to bid farewell to any number of noted boxing figures, including writers, who lost the scuffle with Father Time to which we all eventually fall victim.

    Legendary sports writer Dan Jenkins was not a fight guy; he primarily wrote about college football and golf for Sports Illustrated, among other publications. But greatness should be acknowledged, and the Texas-bred Jenkins, who was 89 when he passed away on Thursday, was the author of 23 books, as well as the father of Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins, whose journalistic chops obviously were passed along by her dad.

    Bernard Fernandez is the retired boxing writer for the Philadelphia Daily News. He is a five-term former president of the Boxing Writers Association of America, an inductee into the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame and the recipient of the Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism and the Barney Nagler Award for Long and Meritorious Service to Boxing.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    The weigh-in and ensuing face off should be very revealing.

    Comment


    • #3
      It's a "pick em" for me. Mikey's Ring IQ is superior to that of Spence as is his level of opposition. His fundamental/technical skills are also superior. Can these things offset size and body punching? I frankly don't know but I'm not betting against Garcia.

      Comment


      • #4
        Spence is also very solid at his weight, well defined body.

        Mikey is going up in weight and has always had a flat build.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am going on record right now and predicting that Garcia will win by UD or SD. Higher Ring IQ, much better level of opposition (aka more experienced at top level), has better grasp of fundamentals and technique, has very solid corner, has bulked up, and can make adjustments as required. Spence has size, arguably a better body punching attack, and home field advantage, but Garcia is no Ocampo!
          Last edited by Kid Blast; 03-13-2019, 12:17 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            I like Mikey.

            But, among all the hype (and some of it is deserved), what is not often talked about is that Mikey has had a relatively easy and/or well managed path to his titles.

            This is championship level criticism here.



            Looking at Garcia’s last 3 opponents (whom arguably represent the best he has faced); Easter, Lipinets, and Broner . . .

            Mikey stopped none of them, and he was hurt by Broner.



            No shame in being hurt by Broner.

            As he can punch and is quite durable/skilled.



            But also, Broner - as an opponent - can almost always be relied upon to come into a championship level fight, either gun shy or with cardio limitations/concerns that manifest themselves as low punch outputs.



            Right now . . . .

            There is no-one in Mikey’s camp (as he prepares for Spence) that;
            .
            A) Is not sparring him without respect.


            B) Spence would not walk through.



            And, as far as point “B” goes, the same applies for Mikey’s last 3 opponents.

            Spence would stop them all.



            Spence, when he was training at Shields gym used to give the Charlo’s all they can handle; and both Charlo’s would destroy Garcia.

            Spence does make some mistakes.

            But, I am just not sure Mikey has the power to keep him at bay for 12 rounds.



            And, that is probably why Robert Garcia didn’t want Mikey to go up to 47 and fight Spence straight away.

            This is going to be a very tough fight for Mikey.



            I am not sure that Easter is the best (real world) preparation for Spence.

            That said . . . .

            Mikey has a big set of balls for taking Errol on.

            Particularly at the Dallas Stadium.



            The risk is off the charts and almost unheard of in today’s boxing scene.




            Cheers,

            StormCentre.

             

            Comment


            • #7
              "When pressed to offer his prediction for the upcoming clash, the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard simply replied, “Because he’s Mikey.” It remains to be seen what Garcia sees in Spence that no one else in the boxing universe, be it fighters, trainers, talking heads or fight fans can. Leonard also claimed he saw something in Hagler that convinced him he could win; and to the chagrin of some he most certainly did. The adage goes: game recognizes game. Sugar Ray Leonard was always the daring kind. All fighters have a touch of daring, even crazy in them or they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. However, the special ones tend to have an irregularly high dosage which, for better or worse, drives them toward challenges some deem insurmountable. Yet, it’s what makes them great.

              "The special ones have a keen sense of what’s needed to craft their respective legacies. The objective, above all else, is glory, the coveted prize of warriors past. They were the kid in their family’s bathroom mirror fantasizing about championship bouts, cheering fans, and interviews with talking heads, long before they learned to throw a sufficient jab. Fantasy would eventually give way to manifestation and manifestation to obsession and that obsession would morph into the compulsion which propels them to the most storied heights and even, the steepest lows. They are the risk takers who sincerely believe themselves to be the stuff of lore. The kind of lore that shifts and shapes with each rendering, nevertheless is passed down from generation to generation. In short, they’re contending for street cred. They want to be the talk of the barbershop or the boastrous chatter resonating from the occupants of the corner stoops, where old men shoot condescending stares and chide youthful fans about their lack of pugilistic knowledge (at least according to them), referring, with sacred reverence, to said fighters regaling anyone within earshot of their most legendary feats."

              I add that Mikey has been bred to fight. Spence was a football player first. It's an intangible. Plus Mikey's corner is very savvy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by StormCentre View Post
                I like Mikey.

                But, among all the hype (and some of it is deserved), what is not often talked about is that Mikey has had a relatively easy and/or well managed path to his titles.

                This is championship level criticism here.



                Looking at Garcia’s last 3 opponents (whom arguably represent the best he has faced); Easter, Lipinets, and Broner . . .

                Mikey stopped none of them, and he was hurt by Broner.



                No shame in being hurt by Broner.

                As he can punch and is quite durable/skilled.



                But also, Broner - as an opponent - can almost always be relied upon to come into a championship level fight, either gun shy or with cardio limitations/concerns that manifest themselves as low punch outputs.



                Right now . . . .

                There is no-one in Mikey’s camp (as he prepares for Spence) that;
                .
                A) Is not sparring him without respect.


                B) Spence would not walk through.




                And, as far as point “B” goes, the same applies for Mikey’s last 3 opponents.

                Spence would stop them all.



                Spence, when he was training at Shields gym used to give the Charlo’s all they can handle; and both Charlo’s would destroy Garcia.

                Spence does make some mistakes.

                But, I am just not sure Mikey has the power to keep him at bay for 12 rounds.



                And, that is probably why Robert Garcia didn’t want Mikey to go up to 47 and fight Spence straight away.

                This is going to be a very tough fight for Mikey.



                I am not sure that Easter is the best (real world) preparation for Spence.

                That said . . . .

                Mikey has a big set of balls for taking Errol on.

                Particularly at the Dallas Stadium.



                The risk is off the charts and almost unheard of in today’s boxing scene.




                Cheers,

                StormCentre.


                Nice analysis. Within the context of that analysis, you can get 4-1 odds on Spence. So what it boils down to is that I'll win 4 thousand for every thousand I bet if Mikey wins. And he s the very definition of a live dog, so what's not to like here. This, in my view, is a rare opportunity.

                Fight info plus odds

                When: Saturday, Mar. 16 at 9 p.m. ET

                Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas

                TV: Fox pay-per-view ($74.95), ITV4 (UK only, free)

                Live Stream: FoxSports.com pay-per-view ($74.95)

                Odds: Spence -1100 (bet $1,100 to win $100) Garcia +650 (bet $100 to win $650)

                Last edited by Kid Blast; 03-15-2019, 02:42 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here is some good copy: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/...stream-tv-info

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ok, saw the weigh-in.

                    Spence gonna absolutely cream Garcia.

                    Sometime in the 8th or 9th, Mikey falls from body shots.

                    Comment


                    • Kid Blast
                      Kid Blast commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Ouch....................

                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Kid Blast View Post
                    "When pressed to offer his prediction for the upcoming clash, the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard simply replied, “Because he’s Mikey.” It remains to be seen what Garcia sees in Spence that no one else in the boxing universe, be it fighters, trainers, talking heads or fight fans can. Leonard also claimed he saw something in Hagler that convinced him he could win; and to the chagrin of some he most certainly did. The adage goes: game recognizes game. Sugar Ray Leonard was always the daring kind. All fighters have a touch of daring, even crazy in them or they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. However, the special ones tend to have an irregularly high dosage which, for better or worse, drives them toward challenges some deem insurmountable. Yet, it’s what makes them great.

                    "The special ones have a keen sense of what’s needed to craft their respective legacies. The objective, above all else, is glory, the coveted prize of warriors past. They were the kid in their family’s bathroom mirror fantasizing about championship bouts, cheering fans, and interviews with talking heads, long before they learned to throw a sufficient jab. Fantasy would eventually give way to manifestation and manifestation to obsession and that obsession would morph into the compulsion which propels them to the most storied heights and even, the steepest lows. They are the risk takers who sincerely believe themselves to be the stuff of lore. The kind of lore that shifts and shapes with each rendering, nevertheless is passed down from generation to generation. In short, they’re contending for street cred. They want to be the talk of the barbershop or the boastrous chatter resonating from the occupants of the corner stoops, where old men shoot condescending stares and chide youthful fans about their lack of pugilistic knowledge (at least according to them), referring, with sacred reverence, to said fighters regaling anyone within earshot of their most legendary feats."

                    I add that Mikey has been bred to fight. Spence was a football player first. It's an intangible. Plus Mikey's corner is very savvy.

                    OK, but . . . .

                    Right now, Spence is destroying/dominating Garcia.


                    And, we head into the 12th round.


                    Cheers,

                    Storm.

                     

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Cream (verb)

                      American Slang: To defeat someone easily and completely.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by StormCentre View Post


                        OK, but . . . .

                        Right now, Spence is destroying/dominating Garcia.


                        And, we head into the 12th round.


                        Cheers,

                        Storm.

                        Yes, I am having some not-so-delicious Crow for lunch.
                        Last edited by Kid Blast; 03-17-2019, 01:21 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #14

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Only if that crow comes with a side of "cream" right?

                            Comment


                            • Kid Blast
                              Kid Blast commented
                              Editing a comment
                              right......................
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