By Blake "No BS" Chavez
This article is a blueprint for the absolute best path to a Mikey vs Errol superfight.
First things first. Mikey gets first billing. Why? Because nobody in the media was talking about Spence’s upcoming opponents until Mikey had the balls to call Spence out. That’s one reason. Without Mikey, Spence had zero projected 2018-2019 pay-per-view dates. Zero. That’s another reason, and here are a few more that are difficult to argue with: Mikey is a four-weight division world champion with over a decade as an undefeated pro. Mikey is 39 & 0 with 30 knockouts. Mikey has fought ten world champions.
But perhaps the most important reason is that Mikey is the one bringing the critical Hispanic fan base for any Mikey-Spence promotion.
Remember, ShowTime wasn’t backing Spence for a pay-per-view. Hell no. It’s Mikey bringing The Dream, the excitement of a superfight, stirring our imagination, and bringing the backing of Showtime. If it happens; Mikey made it happen. Nobody else. Mikey. Without Mikey Garcia, Spence was not, and is not a white-hot headline interview or draw. Spence had nothing but ho-hum challengers (and purses) in his near future. He hasn’t, and won’t, land a meaningful fight without Mikey. He needs Mikey. So don’t get it twisted; it’s Mikey Garcia vs Errol Spence.
Before we unveil the Road Map and blueprint for Mikey’s success, let’s first put to bed the notion that there were other champions and contenders more worthy than Mikey chomping at the bit to get down with Spence. All the top welters, grown-ass men, wet their pants and fell silent when Spence walked in the room.
Most in the media... most, not all, were walking on eggshells around these supposed contenders for welterweight supremacy. Prospective opponents such as Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia immediately went deaf, dumb, and blind the instant Spence’s name was even whispered. It was ridiculous.
Exhibit Number One: Notorious loudmouth, Angel Garcia got temporary laryngitis if a reporter even hinted that perhaps Angel and Danny were trying to avoid fighting Spence. But Angel’s voice magically returned and his level of mad shit-talking rose to epic levels again whenever he spoke of any other prospective bouts. Danny and Angel Garcia didn’t want none, period.
Exhibit Number Two: Mean-mugging crybaby Kenny Porter whined to anybody that had a set of ears that his poor baby Shawn couldn’t find a dance partner for a welterweight crown. But when a brave reporter chanced mentioning Spence’s name, Kenny always pulled his tired intimidation act and barked some piss-poor excuse of "We been chasing so-and so for years". Yo, Kenny. You caught Thurman... and you didn’t do shit with him. You had your chance, the chase is over, Bro. But you still cried for a re-match. Kenny and Shawn also didn’t want none.
Exhibit Number Three: It’s public knowledge that Terrance Crawford can’t get a hall pass from his daddy, Bob Arum, so TC cannot even discuss a Spence fight or he might lose his allowance and get slapped down by Bob, his Boss-Man. Must be the tiny Gamboa knockdown PTSD.
Everybody in the game knows Bob is not risking Crawford. He’s clearly said as much himself--"When the time is right Crawford will fight Spence." Yeah, Bob. Sure. Anything you say, Bob. They’ll fight the day after never.
And now that Mikey has called out the Big Bad Wolf, these jokers huff and puff and mumble that, yeah, they were all in on a Spence fight themselves, and hell no, we wasn’t scared. They were whistling whilst walking through the cemetery so loud they woke up Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey!
As I was saying; The Road Map:
(1) Mikey gets top billing. Being the A-Side builds his brand and enhances his profile and purse.
(2) Mikey fights PacMan first. That gives Mikey a massive purse and secures his family’s future, all with much less risk. It’s the smart move and Mikey is known for doing good business.
Beating Pac gets Mikey a 5th weight division title, a legendary superstar’s scalp on his resume and he inherits Pac’s considerable fan base. Beating Manny, who is hot and marketable again is terrific publicity; pure gold for the promoters of Mikey vs Spence as it provides invaluable momentum for that next promotion.
(3) The master chess move? At the same press conference announcing the Pac fight, have ShowTime reveal that Mikey has also signed his contract to fight Spence next. That accomplishes a few things. Mikey keeps his word and maintains credibility as the Spence fight is signed, sealed, and delivered. Nobody can say Mikey backed out, on the contrary, he is locked in. Everybody wins. Fans get a PacMan vs Mikey fight and a Mikey vs Spence superfight!
(4) By taking the Pac fight first, Mikey increases his chances of beating Spence as he’ll have a few more invaluable months of building his frame into a welterweight. That is critical.
With Pac first, that also opens up the very real possibility that Mikey can become the face of boxing and take over the lucrative Cinco de Mayo and 16th of September Mexican Independence Day dates he covets. How? Well, should Canelo lose badly to GGG, that opens the door for Mikey to headline Cinco de Mayo in Las Vegas in 2019. With all the testing, Canelo will be forced to fight all-natural, and a bad beating cripples his brand and opens the door for Mikey.
(5) Weigh-in options. By being the A-Side vs Spence, Mikey can request a noon same day weigh-in. It’s a reasonable request and forces fighters to be close in weight when the bell rings.
The IBF allows a 10 pound max weight gain limit from weigh-ins till morning of the fight.
So as it stands now, Spence can gain ten pounds after the initial weigh-in, then after a second weigh-in the next morning, between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM, he can put on as much weight as he can rehydrate himself up to before the bell.
That makes for a 170 -175 pound Spence and nobody wants to see that. To prevent that scenario the IBF can approve a time change for second day weigh-ins. So if the second day weigh-in is held at say between noon and 2:00PM, Spence won’t have the time to become a weight bully because if he gorges so close to fight time it is likely he will be sluggish and ineffective.
(6) Starting today! Mikey must approach strength and physical conditioning training like a wild beast. The calendar is his enemy. The days will fly by swiftly and once they are gone they aint coming back. Macky Shilstone built Bernard Hopkins into a brute who beat down a naturally much bigger guy in Antonio Tarver. Shilstone also worked with Roy Jones Jr. and Andre Ward. Mikey needs an educated, no-nonsense, all-around good guy with positive vibes.
(7) Mikey confers with pay-per-view consultant--not the promoters-- to insure that he is fairly compensated. Big fight revenue streams are complicated and a specialist such as consultant Mark Taffet is required to navigate those tricky waters. Taffet, an Ivy League educated Executive VP at HBO for 30+ years invented pay-per-view. He knows where every cent goes. From all appearances advisor Al Haymon has treated Mikey well. But as they say in business-- trust, but verify. Especially when it comes to the boxing game. With Mikey calling his own shots it would behoove him to have a pay-per-view guru giving him the inside scoop on how the game is really, really played.
That’s my Road Map to a true superfight: Mikey Garcia vs Errol Spence Jr. But keep in mind nobody tells Mikey Garcia what to do. Ever. He’s very cerebral with terrific instincts.
The Fight: Mikey has a very good shot at becoming a Roberto Duran-type all-time great should he perform well against Spence. This fight has all the ingredients to be a Sugar Ray Leonard vs Hands of Stone caliber fight for this generation. My take? If Mikey enters the ring within ten pounds of what Spence weighs he wins the fight. Spence will bring out the very best Mikey Garcia there is. And the very best Mikey Garcia may scare all of us. Should Mikey beat Spence, he is set up to call out Floyd from retirement for ridiculous money. In fact, should Mikey beat PacMan, Floyd could make a pre-emptive strike and call out Mikey for a Cinco de Mayo dance. Big money. And we all know Floyd loves big money.
Blake "No B.S." Chavez answers all his emails.