By Dan Ambrose: Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) will NOT be fighting IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence (23-0, 20 KOs) anytime soon, says his trainer Robert Garcia. He says a fight between Mikey and Spence will happen in the future when the time is right.
Mikey gave an interview this month in which he said that he plans on fighting 3 times in 2018 against Sergey Lipinets, Jorge Linares and Errol Spence Jr. Mikey wants all 3 of those fights this year. But it looks like if Mikey is going to be facing Spence, he’s going to need to convince Robert Garcia that it’s a good idea.
“I’m taking Lipinets now, then Linares and then at the end of the year, I take Spence,” said Mikey to So Cal Boxing Report.
The magic question is, was Mikey just playing around to get attention to himself by saying that he’ll be fighting Spence or is he serious? We’ll find out. Mikey generally takes on fighters that he has a great chance of beating. He wouldn’t have a very good chance of defeating Spence. A match like that would be out of the norm for Mikey.
Robert feels that Mikey is best fighting at 135 and 140 rather than moving up to 147 to take on the likes of Spence. However, Robert says that if a big fight were offered to Mikey for him to face WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman or Shawn Porter, then he would be on board with him moving up in weight to take a fight against one of those guys.
“I know Mikey will fight anybody, and Mikey wants these challenges,” Robert Garcia said to ES News Reporting about Mikey’s recent comment about wanting to fight Errol Spence. “Mikey will probably do it, but I know it won’t be something that I will want to happen anytime soon. Eventually, Mikey will end up at welterweight just like Mayweather did, but as of now, I think Mikey is best at 135 and 140,” Robert said.
Mikey is 30-years-old. It’s unclear how old Robert feels he needs to be before he gives the green light to face Spence. If 30 is still too young, you must wonder if Robert wants to wait until Mikey is in his mid-30s before he agrees to the idea. Mikey didn’t look that impressive in beating a washed up Adrien Broner last July. The power wasn’t there for Mikey, and he looked tired after 6 rounds. Like in Mikey’s fight with Orlando Salido, Mikey wasn’t the same fighter after round 6. His power dropped off and he was no longer able to get Broner to fight with caution. Mikey was running for the last 6 rounds against Broner.
“Exactly, if it’s something like that,” Robert said when asked if Mikey will move up to 147 if offered a big fight against WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in the future. “If it’s Thurman or Shawn Porter, then I’m up for it, but when the time is right,” Robert said.
Robert seems to prefer that Mikey fight Thurman or Porter when talking about him moving up to 147 for a big fight. Porter isn’t a world champion, and I he’s clearly not as popular as Spence right now. It sounds like Robert feels that Thurman and Porter would be easier fights for Mikey than a fight against Spence. Those would be tough fights as well for Mikey to win, as Porter and Thurman both have power and they’re not over-the-hill like Broner. Mikey might end up having to run for a full 12 rounds against Porter and Thurman instead of just the last 6 rounds.
If Robert is going to stand in the way of Mikey fighting guys that would truly challenge him, he’s not going to have much of a career after he faces Lipinets and Linares.
Mikey is challenging IBF light welterweight champion Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) on March 10 at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas. This will be Mikey’s attempt at winning his 4th division world title. Mikey has been criticized by going after Lipinets, a vulnerable fighter, to try and win a 4th division title rather than waiting to take on a good fighter at 140 like Regis Prograis or Jose Ramirez. Mikey didn’t fight Terence Crawford when he held all 4 division titles at 140. Mikey going after Lipinets to pick up a paper title is pretty much a waste of time, as the casual boxing fans have no idea who this fighter is.
The fans aren’t going to care that Mikey is winning a 4th division title. Only the hardcore boxing fans care about stuff like that, and those fans see clearly what Mikey is doing by going after a paper champion. The only thing Mikey is doing is wasting one of his fights by going after an easy mark at 140. A smart move for Mikey would be for him to face Linares next, and then fight IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. before moving up to 140 to face the winner of the Ramirez vs. Amir Imam fight for the WBC light welterweight title. The boxing public would respect Mikey for fighting Ramirez. I don’t think Mikey can beat Ramirez, but he at least would get the respect from the fans because he would be facing someone that he didn’t come into the fight as the favorite to beat.
It’s likely that if Mikey ever does fight Spence, it’ll be after he becomes a big star and it would a situation where the money be too good for him not to take the fight. I can’t see Mikey even being competitive with a guy like Spence. At 5’6”, Mikey is too small to compete with a fighter the size or Spence or even Porter, Thurman, Crawford, Jeff Horn or Danny Garcia. Those guys are too solid for a little fighter like Mikey to beat them. The only reason Mikey beat Broner is because he’s pretty much finished as a fighter, and he started his career out at super featherweight. Broner isn’t a natural light welterweight. He’s like Mikey, but he ate himself to 140 and 147. Mikey picked out a fading fighter to look good against in beating Broner last July. That was all about careful match-making rather than a fight that showed that Mikey can dominate at 140. I don’t think Mikey can beat the best fighters at 140 like Ramirez, Viktor Postol and Prograis. Those guys are too big and too strong for Mikey.