More on Spence-Garcia

By Jeff Zimmerman

In one of the most anticipated and intriguing matchups in boxing in quite some time, undefeated champs Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) and Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), faced off in Los Angeles at the Microsoft Theater Saturday afternoon to promote their upcoming battle scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys and will also be shown live on Fox PPV.

Errol Mikey La Kickoff
Photo: Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions

This fight has the making of an instant classic as 4 division and 4x champ Mikey Garcia and one of the most fundamentally sound fighters today is going up against one of the most feared fighters in the heavy-handed southpaw and IBF welterweight champ in Errol Spence Jr. The PBC pulled out all stops at the Presser as they brought in the legendary Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, who was known for his powerful right hand and fighting classics himself against the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler in his illustrious, hall of fame career.

Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys and possibly the greatest “promoter” in all of sports was also brought in via satellite to the live Fox press conference to hype Dallas’ own in Spence Jr. and Garcia, who has a huge Hispanic fan-base much like his Dallas Cowboys and will undoubtedly help fill the seats at his massive venue. This will be Jones third boxing promotion at AT&T Stadium, aptly known as “Jerry World”, that included two Manny Pacquiao fights and most recently Canelo Alvarez in 2016.

“We’re so excited for our Mexican-American fan base. This is a great area for boxing. We endear ourselves to be involved with an event like this in anyway the Cowboys can. Especially with two great fighters like Spence and Garcia.”

Jones added, “I think you’ll see a fight with outstanding champions involved on March 16. You don’t get to see the best against the best very often. At AT&T Stadium, you’ll see it in a way that can’t be matched at normal sports venues. The aura of having thousands of fans like at a football game is unmatched. It’s a grand experience and we’re proud to be a part of boxing.”

But today was about the respect that each fighter has for the other and what it could mean to their career and legacy in the sport as both continue to chase greatness.

“This is history in the making. I’m trying to establish a great legacy. This is the kind of fight that I need,” Garcia said. “I know my fans are going to show up and give me a lot of support. This fight truly excites me and motivates me.”

Garcia added, “I’m not going to let this fight slip away. I’m going to establish myself as one of the best of the generation and eventually one of the best of all time.”

Spence Jr. has always expressed his desire to fight the best and with his inability to get the other top welterweights in the ring with him, he is more than happy to take the fight with Garcia.

“I’m happy that someone is challenging me. I’ve been looking for an opponent like him. He’s established himself in this sport. I’m happy to be able to take on this challenge. I’m looking for a skillful Mikey Garcia to bring the best out of me on March 16.”

There’s an old adage in boxing that the bigger, good fighter typically beats the smaller, good fighter. And Spence Jr. wins all the measurables on paper and is naturally the bigger guy and rarely wastes punches on his opponent as he goes to the head and body with equal abandon. His seek and destroy style showcases a potent right jab and blistering power in his left hand that has led to 21 knockouts in just 24 fights.

But both fighters downplay the obvious size difference once they get in the ring and see this fight more about brains then brawn.

“I train old school, so I don’t worry about how Mikey is planning to get stronger at the weight,” said Spence Jr. “I’m not worried about it and I don’t think it will make a difference in the fight. I’m just going to focus on what I have to do to be at my best.”

Spence Jr. added, “Size always matters, but when you get in there, at the end of the day, it’s about skills and intelligence. I’m not going to rely on size. I’m going to focus on my talent. If I can roll through him, then I’ll show my killer instinct and try to get him out of there. I’m going to use my ability to break him down.”

Garcia, on the other hand, knew he had to bulk up and get stronger to have any chance against the bigger Spence Jr. That included a new workout regimen to build muscle without losing the skills that has made him a 4X world champion.

“The training that we did in the Bay Area definitely helped me. We are going up in weight and needed to do a different type of training. We wanted to make sure that we gained a little bit of mass so that I can be able to hold off Errol Spence’s weight and strength.”

“The key to my strength training was that we didn’t want to lose my speed and explosiveness. I can see now that I’m back in sparring that I still have that speed while also gaining the muscle we had to.”

Garcia also believes Spence Jr. is almost a mirror image of himself in that he too does everything well from good footwork to great balance, however he is confident that he does everything just a little bit better.

“If people say Errol is bigger, that’s just obvious. But who’s faster? Who has better timing? There’s a lot more that goes into this sport and who’s going to win this particular fight.”

Garcia continued, “I want the best Errol Spence Jr. I know he’s a great fighter with a lot of skills and talent. He hasn’t needed to use all of his skills, just like me.”

“He does everything well, but nothing spectacular. I just feel like I’m the better fighter. I think I have the advantage everywhere except maybe power, but we’ll find out on fight night.”

Both guys go into the fight knowing they have two of the very best trainers in the world in their corner, both former trainers of the year. Spence Jr. has Derrick James who has groomed and built Spence Jr. from the ground up his whole career into one of the most feared fighters in the sport. And Garcia, of course, comes from a fighting family with his dad Eduardo and his brother Robert, a former world champion himself who has also trained many world champions.

James and Garcia know the task at hand will not be easy and they will have to be ready in what could turn into a game of chess not checkers come fight night.

James stated, “”This fight is all about the skillset, not the size. Size will come into play a little bit, but we’re going to show the skillset that we have to beat this guy. That’s what Errol is going to show.”

“Mikey Garcia has a good technical style. But there’s always a method to take down a great fighter. I think that a day like today will inspire us even more to work even harder. We can see him right in front of us. Its real and we can’t wait.”

Garcia, who had his doubts about his younger brother taking this fight at first is now ready to shock the world.

“This is a big challenge for us to go up in weight to fight the best welterweight in the world. But it’s not like its’ never been done before and I know Mikey has the skills and power to pull it off. That’s what we’re coming to Dallas to do.”

Garcia added, “This is an opportunity for Mikey to continue building his legacy. He wants to be known as one of the greatest fighters of all time and a win over Errol Spence Jr. is a big step toward that.”

In a fight that nobody in boxing saw coming just a few short months ago, especially in the stacked welterweight division, now has everybody counting down the days until fight night. Although most boxing insiders believe Spence Jr. will simply overpower Garcia, Garcia believes he has what it takes to pull off the David vs. Goliath upset.

“Even though some people believe I’m the underdog, I don’t see myself that way. I’m undefeated and I think Errol knows that I pose a challenge. It’s no easy task for either one of us. This is the fight that I need for my legacy.”

This is a fight where legends are made, and both Garcia and Spence Jr know what’s at stake. And if this fight turns into an instant classic for this generation, they too, can be one day be recognized and perhaps compared to the likes of Hearns, Leonard, Hagler and Duran who built their legacies on fighting each other.

“These are the kinds of challenges I want. I need someone like Errol Spence Jr., with his demeanor and style, to bring the best out of me. I want the world to finally see the full Mikey Garcia.”

Spence Jr. is ready for the challenge.

“This is something I’ve been waiting for my whole life. I’m focused and prepared for this challenge. It’s going to be all eyes on me and Mikey in that ring and I can’t wait.

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