Will the bigger man defeat the smaller...again?
By Bill Tibbs
The old axiom in boxing, well in most sports for that matter, is that a good big man will beat a good little man almost every time out.
That is exactly what uber-talented, and noticeably bigger, IBF world welterweight champion Errol Spence is thinking as he heads into his highly anticipated fight with fellow-star, Mikey Garcia, Saturday night in Texas.
However, all the talk about size doesn’t seem to have affected undefeated, world champion Mikey Garcia of Oxnard, California. Garcia is jumping up from the super lightweight division into the star-studded, 147-pound class to take on the talented Spence, considered by many to be one of boxing’s best fighters.
If that task isn’t daunting enough, he’s sauntering into Spence’s backyard at A T and T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on fight night. But, if anyone knows that those away-game assignments are a winnable task, Spence does - the undefeated champion travelled to Sheffield, England in May of 2017 to relieve then-champion Kell Brook of his IBF strap.
Both fighters bring an outstanding resume with Spence entering the ring at a perfect 24-0, with 21 knockouts. Spence has been a blue-chip star since he turned pro in 2012. The Long Island, New York born, Desoto, Texas-residing champ was seen as a fighter to keep an eye on after he turned pro and he has yet to disappoint in 6 years as a pro.
Garcia comes in as the smaller fighter but that might be the only category he comes up short in. He has 13-years and 39 fights in a career that started in 2006. A 4-time world champion, Garcia holds titles at featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight. He has been nothing short of perfect in his career and is quite confident that he can topple the bigger, favoured Spence.
Both fighters are smart, fast and accurate in their delivery and are very solid defensively. The only difference is that Spence is simply a bigger man. However, while Spence feels that size will indeed matter, Garcia feels he has the goods to beat Spence and surprise everyone but himself.
One has to wonder what Garcia sees in Spence that gave them the impetus to seek this fight considering there were lots of other lucrative fights at weights more naturally suited to Garcia’s size. Or, perhaps it was simply a case of Garcia feeling comfortable with his own skill set heading into a fight where he feels the naturalize difference won’t play that much of a role come fight night; he simply sees himself as the better fighter.
In most pre-fight interviews with Garcia, the question of the size difference, naturally, came up. However, Garcia didn’t seem concerned about it and indeed felt that at the end of the day he was going to be prepared for the size difference and any advantages, perceived or real, that people think Spence will have.
“The IBF always has their second day weigh-in, that morning of the fight. I forget the exact amount of weight you’re allowed by the IBF, 10 pounds or 10%, I’m not sure, but either way there is a second day weigh-in the morning of the fight. After that he can hydrate as much as he wants. I’m expecting him to be close to around 160 on fight night”, said Garcia. “I mean, he’s a big dude, he’s a big guy, he’s a natural at welterweight so I expect him to hydrate a lot, but that’s it, that’s part of the challenge. I know what I was signing up for, I knew this is what a fight would do and I know what I’m expecting so I’m prepared for that”, said the always calm and cool challenger.
And while he knows that Spence may indeed be the biggest fighter he has faced, he doesn’t seem that concerned and is simply going to believe in himself, his own skills and the fight plan mapped out by his team.
“I don’t know any other way to be. I mean I’ve never been nervous about anything. I know what I’m capable of doing. It probably worries everybody else because you guys still haven’t seen the best out of me, that you haven’t seen everything I’m capable of but I know what I’m capable of and that’s why it doesn’t worry me”, he said.