Mikey Garcia wants Errol Spence at end of 2018
By Dan Ambrose: WBC World lightweight world champion Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) says he wants to face IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. (23-0, 23 KOs) at the end of 2018 after he first fights IBF 140 lb. belt holder Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) on March 10, and then WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) after that. Spence would be the last fight for Mikey in 2018.
This would be a big size mismatch between the 5’9″ Spence and the 5’6″ Mikey Garcia. Spence is 3 inches taller than Mikey and with a 4 inch reach advantage. Spence would likely outweigh Garcia by 20-25 lbs. Mikey rehydrates to around 150 for his fights. Spence rehydrates into the 170s. Mikey would be giving up a lot of weight in fighting Spence.
Mikey doesn’t have a promoter at this time, so he’s his own boss, and he wants to make his own career decisions on opponent selection. However, fighting Spence is arguably a bad move for Mikey, as he would be fighting a guy with junior middleweight size and huge power. This isn’t a weight drained, over-the-hill Adrien Broner that Mikey would be facing in Spence. This guy might be the best fighter at 147. If Mikey couldn’t knockout Broner, he has no chance of stopping Spence. If Mikey doesn’t KO Spence, he’s going to take a beating for 12 rounds or he’ll be forced to run like he was doing in the last 6 rounds of his fight against Broner last July.
Mikey, 30, thinks he can beat all 3 of those fighters this year. He’d get very few arguments from boxing fans that he can’t beat Lipinets and Linares, as those are beatable fighters. Mikey is already considered the top fighter at 135, so it’s not hard to believe that he’ll be able to do the job on the 33-year-old Linares.
“I’m taking Lipinets now, then [Jorge] Linares and then at the end of the year, I take [Errol] Spence,” Mikey Garcia said to So Cal Boxing Report. “I believe in myself, because I know what I’m capable of doing. My brother believes in me because he’s seen me every day. We know I’m a lot more than what people have seen, and that’s why I believe I can do very well against them and I can beat them,” Mikey said.
It’s unclear whether Mikey is serious about the Spence fight. We know that Mikey plans on fighting Linares in his second fight in 2018. That fight is not unexpected, but fighting Spence definitely would be. The way that Mikey is making his own fights, it seems very strange. He’s moving up to 140 to fight IBF light welterweight champion Lipinets in March, and then he’s going to drain back down to 135 to face WBA lightweight champion Linares. After that, Mikey will bulk up to 147 for the Spence fight. It makes you wonder if Mikey is thinking clearly. It sounds like Mikey needs a promoter that can map out his fights a little better.
Moving up to 147 to face Spence could be a mistake for Mikey. We saw last year that Mikey’s power didn’t travel up with him when he moved to 140. He’s not the puncher in that weigh class that he’s been at 126, 130 and 135. If Mikey goes up to 147, his power will likely be even less of a factor.
Many boxing fans believe that Mikey is just out for money at this stage in his career. He’s talking about wanting to become a pay-per-view star within a year. The way Mikey is going about it by fighting is all wrong. Mikey had the chance to fight former light welterweight champion Terence Crawford, but he didn’t take the fight. Instead, Mikey is facing little known Sergey Lipinets, who the casual boxing fans are not familiar with.
The reason Mikey is facing Lipinets is because he wants to win a 4th division world title. Mikey has previously won world titles at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight. Now he’s spotted a vulnerable 140 lb. champion in Lipinets for him to win an easy 4th division world belt. Frankly, it’s a poor way for Mikey to further his legacy in boxing. If Mikey wanted to impress the fans, he should have fought Crawford when he was the champion. Even now though, Mikey would be showing a lot more courage if he fought the winner of March 17th fight between Jose Carlos Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) and Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs). Those 2 are fighting for the vacant WBC light welterweight title. Ramirez is seen as a future star at 140. Mikey would show a lot more by facing Ramirez than he would in fighting Lipinets. That just looks like a weak move on Mikey’s part in going after Lipinets.
Mikey still needs to clean out the lightweight division. If Mikey beats Linares, he would still have IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. to fight, and the winner of the Raymundo Beltra vs. Paulus Moses. Mikey can’t say he cleaned out the 135 lb. division without fighting those guys. Obviously, Mikey is only concerned with fighting the more high profile fighters. Fighting Lipinets is still an odd move, because he’s not a high profile guy or someone that is considered the best in the 140 lb. division. It’s likely that Mikey doesn’t care if Lipinets isn’t viewed as the best fighter at light welterweight. I think Mikey wants to win his IBF 140 lb. title so that he can tell the boxing fans that he’s a 4-dvision world champion, and then use that as leverage to get a better deal in his negotiations with Linares. Broner is a former 4 division world champion, and the boxing public sees him as a faded guy. Mikey doesn’t seem to realize that it doesn’t matter if he wins titles in different divisions. Boxing fans are more impressed when fighters face the best guys. Linares is a good test, but Lipinets is not. Fighting Spence is a risky move for Mikey, because he not only can lose that fight, but he could also get hurt badly. If all Mikey does is run from Spence like he was doing in the second half of his fight with Broner, he’s going to look bad and he’ll lose boxing fans. Mikey wants to become a PPV star, but he won’t do that if he looks bad in losing to Spence.
Spence might be interested in fighting Mikey. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Mikey Garcia fight will do much for Spence to get him ready for a unification match against Keith Thurman. The 5’6″ Mikey is too small, too inexperienced at 147 and too weak to adequately prepare Spence for Thurman. It might be a waste of time for Spence to fight Mikey unless he’s willing to prove himself by fighting some of the top welterweights like Shawn Porter first. Mikey would have problems with a fighter like Porter.
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