Blake Chavez writes about the Errol Spence and Mikey Garcia bout and what he saw last Saturday night.
"Whose wine? What wine? When the hell did I die? Musta been a dream, I can’t believe where I’ve been".
These lyrics from the old rocker Peter Frampton’s monster smash album of a hundred years ago sum up how I felt after the wretched... yes, wretched boxing match between Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia. In the aftermath I woke up the next day and was almost certain that the beat-down of Garcia I had witnessed ’musta been a dream’. It felt like the aftermath of a night of strong tequila and in the morning rolling over to find a gal that looks like Grandpa Munster wrapped in the sheets next to you. Ughhhh.
I have always been a potent booster of Mikey Garcia. Just a peek of my past columns confirms an overwhelming belief in his skills and abilities as well as kudos for him being a potent ’character’ guy. I believed Mikey had more than a ghost or whisper of a chance. I predicted a win. The ’fan’ in me and my love for the underdog supplanted the journalist in me. But that will never change my style of calling it like I see it or predicting who will win. Anybody can say, "It’s a fifty-fifty fight", or, "I’m going with the odds on this one". I’m bold, true, and always keep it real. A comprehensive shutout victory for Spence, who applied a war-beating. Now that’s real.
I read what I consider the most interesting articles on the top sites and follow a good many comments to get what the ’vibe’ is out there by the people who count most: boxing fans. Some predictions go down the line based on race, but there are some very savvy boxing cats out there and their thoughts and insights give me pause for thought. Ya gotta love and appreciate all boxing fans as they are the true lifeblood of the sweet science.
The "vibe’ out there when the fight was announced was that Spence was going to deal a severe azz-whooping, piping hot, to the little guy, Garcia. As the magnitude of two undefeated champions in the top five of the pound-for-pound discussion percolated, the odds dropped from as high as 8-1 to right around 3-1 when the bell rang. Spence taxed that azz and beat the brakes off of Garcia. Point blank. Period.
The Blame Game. I’m not mad at the fighters. God bless them. With FOX heavily promoting the event and the aura of Jerry Jones’s Cowboy Stadium, aka AT & T Stadium, hosting the undefeated champs, the event drew 47k fans-- good for 3rd all-time boxing attendance at Jerry’s jewel. To draw like that, folks have to be interested in the product, so it bodes well for the PPV numbers. They should surpass what most initially predicted, haters such as Kenny Porter who was so shook that the fight was on PPV that he predicted 150k buys. The fight almost did a $5 mil live gate, nearly matching Canelo vs Smith at ’Boys Stadium in ’16. That fight did 300,000 buys.
The Spence/Mikey PPV price was $75, so if it also does 300k buys, that’s $22 and a-half million dollars. (typically PPV offers an additional $10 bucks for HD, and 85% of PPV buyers take the 10 buck HD bump, so the PPV take would actually be right around $24 million dollars.
Mikey made a smart financial decision by calling out Spence. His purse, as was Spence’s, was $3 million dollars.
So the final tally on what they actually earned depends on what percentage of the PPV the fighters negotiated for themselves. We know Eddie Hearn was quite vocal that he would pay both Spence and Mikey $8 million dollars each if allowed to stage the fight. So either fighter certainly would not have signed for, nor accepted, anything less than that amount from any competing entity. So PPV revenues likely were earmarked to cover the $16 million in fighter guarantees. (For comparison, Canelo’s "purse" number is often less than $10 million, but he rakes in closer to $40 million, all told, for GGG fights)
So how can anyone blame Mikey for scooping up that big money? If Spence and Mikey both get just a 20% sliver of that hypothetical 300,000 buy PPV pie, that’s $5 million dollars each. So, on that model, combined with their $3 million dollar ’purse’, they can reach the $8 million figure. If the promotion sold 500k buys, the PPV take would be right around $42.5 million. A 20% slice of that would add another $3.5 million to each of the fighter’s pockets which would then be bulging with a total of around $11.5 million dollars. If the fight went crazy and did a million buys, this model would pay them around $20 million each.
So Mikey pulled a Boss-Move on everyone and went to the bank holding hands with Spence.
I’m not mad at Eduardo Garcia. I’m sure Mikey explained the math to "Big G" and it penciled out. Why chance taking title fights at lightweight for a million or two when it might take three-six years... if that, just to make the kind of dough he could get with one night with Spence? A lot can happen in those years... an injury. Fading skills. a Teofimo Lopez or Devin Haney coming on like meteors whilst Mikey heads toward his mid-30’s?
That’s old for a natural featherweight, which is where Mikey fought at for years. "Big G" would have gladly chanced the longer-term game plan because two or three million is not chump change and continuing a string of wins to stay unbeaten would have elevated Mikey’s legacy and status. But then Mikey spotted this big money Spence opportunity to set his family up financially for life.
I am mad at Robert Garcia. You are his trainer and his brother. You took the job, it’s a tough one, but you took it. Before the fight you said you never spoke with Mikey regarding a scenario of the fight not going their way and stopping it became a consideration. What!? Because Mikey was in the position of being both your boss and your little brother, common-sense would dictate that you take him aside and lay it out for him how that scenario will be dealt with, no if, ands, or buts.
Something like, "Mikey, as your trainer, you know my first duty to all my fighters is to protect their safety. I believe you are going to win this fight. But, it’s my job to be prepared for whatever comes our way. So, if for whatever reasons... you suffer a bad cut and can’t see or you hurt your hand, or get a broken nose, or a cracked rib and it starts getting ugly.--I want you to know, it’s not your call to determine if the fight continues. It’s mine! I’ll ask you. Of course I’ll ask you what’s going on.
But if I see you getting the piss beat out of you, I’m not gonna let you take a beating that could change your life or watch you leave your skills and your career in the ring in a fight you can’t win."
Instead, after it’s obvious to everyone in the stadium and on their sofa watching the fight that Mikey is getting his azz kicked and there aint no way in hell he’s gonna turn things around--- say after round seven or eight. Between the 7th and 8th rounds or maybe even as late as between the 8th and the 9th rounds Robert should have told him... "Look, you’re getting your ass beat BAD. We’ve already tried to work our game plan and he’s just too long... and strong. We’ve tried making adjustments, but he’s just too f******big to move around like we need to. You’ve basically quit punching the whole last two rounds... and I don’t blame you, you’re just f****** busy trying to block those heavy damned shots he’s throwing. But the bottom line is that he’s landing waaaay too many head punches Mikey. I know you’re trying to cover for the body shots, but he’s damn-near tearing your head off. So this is how it is... I’m going to give you this 8th (9th at the latest) round and you have to knock his ass down or wobble him... or that’s it. The fights over. If he’s still ripping you apart I’m gonna stop it right in the middle of the round. So let’s go!"
So instead, you watch Mikey take a severe brutalization at the hands of a monster throwing power shot after power shot at a rate of 100 punches per round. This giant weight-bully looks possessed as he’s zinging bazookas trying to get the KO. So you let Mikey absorb 450-500 crushing shots that he didn’t need to. He couldn’t stop them from landing. He was virtually helpless... he damned sure wasn’t throwing any punches by then that even slightly bothered Spence. Mikey’s eyes were beaten into a purple mask. Robert can plainly see it.
I try to tell myself that Robert was brought up the hard way. Not as skilled as Mikey, he had to go to war damned near every single fight. So, in a fight, especially the elite level Mikey is competing at, perhaps Robert sees himself in there getting the snot kicked out of him by Diego Corrales and nobody jumping in early enough to shield him from the extra punches he had to eat.
Or maybe Mikey being the family hero and being Robert’s boss made Robert freeze when he should have pulled the trigger to stop the fight. But then I recall the gnarly concussive caveman beating Mikey had to endure and it pisses me off again. Hey, nobody would have thought they got gypped if Robert had stopped the fight; the drama aspects of the match had long evaporated by the 8th-9th round. Stop the fight and let Mikey go get his check with all his marbles intact. Mikey shouldnt’ have to have suffered because he had the chin and the balls to go the entire 12 rounds. That was uncalled for. You don’t get brownie points for taking a beating. You get disabled. Diminished. So maybe Mikey is never the same. Khan looked like crap after the Canelo KO. Oscar never fought again after PacMan beating.
I am mad at Al Haymon. Uncle Al, Do you think Bob Arum would put Lomachenko in the ring with Bud Crawford?! The answer is EZ: HELL NO! Hey Bob, what if it were a catch-weight fight?! HELL NO! Why not you ask. Bob says, ’Because Bud is too friggin’ big for Loma. I would never let another promoter devalue one of my crown jewels... much less jeopardize him in my very own promotion at two weight divisions higher than the division my guy holds his title in. That would be ignorant, stupid, short-sighted.’
But Al then says, "Wait a second Bob, what if Loma begged you over and over to make the fight, just like Mikey did with me?’ Bob laughs. "They can beg and scream until the cows come home, the answer is still going to be no. Hell no! I’m not going to kill my Golden Goose."
But Haymon said yes. Hell yes. Think about that. He could have told Mikey to take his time building into a welterweight, say, for a fight in September of 2019. "Mikey... get past Danny Garcia... then you can try on Keith Thurman with a weight-bully clause that keeps him from gaining no more than ten pounds after the weigh-in--which could be negotiated to be at noon--the day of the fight, and then you can try Spence."
C’mon Uncle Al. Folks would have bought the fight at a catch-weight. You can’t send a guy in to the lion’s den like that. Who would do that to a valued asset? Al Haymon.
THINGS I NOTICED:
Ray "boom-Boom" Mancini is too friggin’ old to be a boxing commentator. I know Larry Merchant is ancient, but Mancini had the old-man gravel throat and as someone did mention on the telecast, he looked just like Grandpa Munster. Sorry "Boom-Boom’, you just are not cut-out for the gig. Where the hell were you 20 or 30 years ago, anyway. You can’t just pop up out of a coffin after being dead for decades and jump in on a PPV. And Shawn Porter looked and acted a bit foolish in his lime green Leprechaun suit. Whoever made the commentary assignments needs to be fired or reprimanded. The booth sounded as dead as a Mark Kriegal broadcast. Horrible.
Wilder, Joshua, and Fury will not fight one another for at least three years.
Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, and Bud Crawford will never fight Errol Spence.
David Benevidez would probably kick the hell out of old man Andre Ward at 175 lbs. So Ward will take that nice heavyweight payday rather than that really, really good check that a Benevidez super-fight would bring.