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Errol Spence vs. Mikey Garcia close to a deal for February

Errol Spence Jr Mikey Garcia

By Dan Ambrose: After months of talk, Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia are purportedly close to a deal for a fight at welterweight in February on Showtime PPV, according to The fight could wind up in Spence’s home state of Texas, which might give him an advantage depending on the turnout for the match.

This will be Spence and Garcia’s first PPV fight of their careers. Mikey wants to branch out into PPV, but he’s not been facing the right guys for him to do so. Fighting guys like Robert Easter Jr. and Lipinets aren’t the type of fighters that are PPV worthy opponents for Mikey or for anyone in boxing. Mikey needs to fight guys like Spence and Vasyl Lomachenko if he wants to be a PPV fighter. Those are the matches the boxing public wants to see. The question is whether Mikey has the kind of talent that will enable him to beat those fighters.

It wouldn’t necessarily be an advantage for Spence, as Garcia fought in Texas in beating Sergey Lipinets by a 12 round unanimous decision last March in San Antonio, and in 2013, he defeated Juan Manuel Lopez in the state. Garcia, 30, won the IBF light welterweight title with his victory over Lipinets. However, instead of defending the IBF belt against the tough Ivan Baranchyk, Garcia vacated the belt and moved back down to lightweight and defeated IBF 135 lb champion Robert Easter Jr. by a 12 round unanimous decision on j\July 28 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

The unbeaten Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) will be defending his International Boxing Federation 147 lb title against Garcia (39-0, 30 KO), who will be attempting to capture his fifth division world title. Garcia hasn’t always had the toughest fights to win his division world titles.

Below are the fighters Garcia beat to win his four division world titles:

– Sergey Lipinets – 140

– Dejan Zlaticanin – 135

– Roman Martinez – 130

– Orlando Salido – 126

Salido is easily the best fighter among those names. Lipinets doesn’t rate compared to some of the top fighters at 140 like Regis Prograis, Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor. Mikey would have an extremely tough time trying to beat Prograis, who is bigger, stronger and more talented than Lipinets. At lightweight, Mikey would very likely taste defeat if he had to fight WBA 135 lb champion Vasyl Lomachenko, who wants a fight against him, but has had no luck in getting him to take the fight. At super featheweight, Mikey would have problems if he tangled with WBC champion Miguel Berchelt or WBA champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, both of which might have too much power and talent for Mikey. At featherweight, WBO champion Oscar Valdez, WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz and WBC champion Gary Russell Jr. would be tough fights for Garcia that might lose. My point is that Mikey has won four division world titles, but he hasn’t done it against the best. He’s done it with match-making, careful match-making. Unfortunately, that’s how boxing is conducted in this day and age. In moving up to 147 to face Spence, Mikey will for the first time be facing the best in a weight class, and not surprisingly he’s seen as a huge underdog in the fight.

Of all the title belts Garcia has won during his 12-year pro career, this will be by far the hardest. In Garcia’s other three fights for division world titles, he was always the favorite against champions that had nowhere near the same talent. In facing Spence, Garcia will be up against a guy as talented as him, but with a lot more size and punching power.

Garcia believes he’s got more than enough talent to overcome the tremendous size advantage of Spence. However, it won’t be easy though, as Garcia took a pounding in defeating Lipinets. Garcia’s face was bloody and badly swollen from the shots from Lipinets at the end of the fight. The fight was also much closer than the scores turned in by the judges. Garcia will need to fight much better against the 28-year-old Spence, as he’s bigger, stronger and more talented than Lipinets by far. Garcia is a stubborn fighter, who doesn’t believe he can be beaten. He’s proven again and again that he can defeat anyone that he sets his mind to defeat, but in the case of Spence, he might finally meet his match.

Spence doesn’t take Garcia as a serious test for him, as the guys that he feels are his true competition at 147 are the likes of Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, Shawn Porter, Terence Crawford and Danny Garcia. Despite having won the IBF 140 lb title earlier this year, Mikey hasn’t proven himself at 147. In facing Errol, Garcia would be fighting a guy that is a true junior middleweight. Spence chooses to melt down to fight at 147 to fight against welterweights, but his true weight class is junior middelweight. That’s bad news for Mikey, because he’s more of a super featherweight. At lightweight, Mikey looks slightly plump, and he looks slightly flabby at 140. Mikey reydrates a lot, and has been as high as 156 for a fight, according to Mike Coppinger. That’s a surprising amount of weight for a guy that started his career out at featherweight, but he likes to eat and sometimes doesn’t eat the right foods. Watching interviews with Mikey eating fast food, it’s not surprising that he’s able to put on so much weight in between fights. Garcia’s habit of eating what he pleases will bite him in the backside if he chooses to go back down to lightweight after he faces Spence in February if the fight takes place.

A lot of boxing fans think Mikey ducked Lomachenko by not taking that fight already. Lomachenko is saying that he wants to face Mikey, and that he’s not afraid of him. Lomachenko will be free to face Mikey after he faces Jose Pedraza in December. If Spence destroys Garcia, he’s going to be going back down to 135 a tarnished fighter, and it might not be a good time for him to be taking on Lomachenko at that point.

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