Mikey Garcia looking huge for Errol Spence fight
By Mike Smith: Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) is slowly adding bulk to his slender frame in hopes of pulling off a tremendous upset against International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) on March 16 on FOX Sports PPV at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. When the above photo was taken for the article, Mikey looked skinny, small and not nearly big enough to compete against the 28-year-old Spence. But things have changed considerably in the last six weeks with Mikey packing on a great deal of muscle along with a lot of fat.
For fighters that are bulking up, they tend to put on a lot of fat along with muscle initially. But once they stat the trimming down process to make weight, they normally take the fat off with some muscle loss as well. If Mikey does things right, he’ll bulk up to the 170s, and then trim off the fat to get down to a solid 165. Mikely will need to be at that kind of weight for him to have a chance against Spence on March 16.
Right now, Mikey is still sporting a spare time around his midsection that he needs to trim off before he faces Spence on March 16. Like a lot of fighters that bulk up, Mikey has packed on a fair amount of fat that has settled around his midsection like glue. That fat is going to need to come off by the time he faces Spence in March, because he’s going to go straight tot he body and look to take the 31-year-old Mikey out at his weakest point.
— Robert Garcia Jr (@_garciapita) December 29, 2018
In search for glory, Garcia is moving up two weight classes to challenge Spence for his International Boxing Federation 147 pound title on March 16 on PPV. Mikey looked weak in his two efforts at 140 against Adrien Broner and Sergey Lipinets. Without a big increase in punching power, Garcia isn’t going to have enough power to keep the bigger, stronger 5’9 1/2″ Spence off him for any length of time. The weak shots that Mikey was hitting Broner and Lipinets with won’t be enough to keep Spence off him.
It’s always possible that Mikey can make progress in the power department, but it’s not likely. Fighters that bulk up in weight rarely increase their power enough to compete on the same level as the fighters that are natural for their weight class. The only thing that bulking up helps is by helping smaller fighters absorb more punishment. The added bulk tends to hurt the fighter that puts the weight on, due to it making it tougher on them with their cardio.
This fight could be over very quickly if Mikey can’t keep Spence off. Mikey lacks the mobility. He’s never had to develop his mobility, since he’s been the bigger puncher when fighting at 126, 130 and 135. Contrary to popular opinion, Mikey wasn’t the bigger puncher in his fight with Lipinets. Mikey was the weaker of the two by far. He won the fight by out-boxing Lipinets, but the fight was a lot closer than the wide scored turned in by the three judges, who scored it 116-111, 117-110 and 117-110.
Mikey was bloody and lumped up afterwards, and that was against arguably against the #10 best light welterweight in the division. Lipinets is not in the same class talent-wise as the likes of Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, Jose Carlos Ramirez, Ivan Baranchyk, Kiryl Relikh, Maurice Hooker, Alex Saucedo, Jorge Linares, Viktor Postol, and Yves Ulysse Jr. Mikey was wise to hand-pick Lipinets out of that crowd. Had Mikey fought Ramirez, Prograis, Taylor, Hooker or Baranchyk, it likely would have ended badly for him, and there would there would be no point in discussing a fight between him and Spence. You’ve got to give Mikey credit for wanting to take on Spence, because he clearly swerved Vasyl Lomachenko at 135, and the top guys at 140.
Bulking up in hopes of being competitive against Spence seems like a desperate move on Mikey’s part. He might look like a small welterweight on the night he steps foot inside the ring with Spence, but that’s unlikely going to help him when the two start exchanging. Spence mows down fighters that move up to 147. We saw that in Spence’s fights against Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu. If a fighter tries to step it up a class to fight Spence, he destroys them. Mikey has shown himself to be a good fighter at featherweight, super featherweight and light welterweight, but he doesn’t belong at welterweight. That much will be proven once Mikey gets inside the ring with Spence.
It would have been better for Mikey to prove himself first against a top welterweight that isn’t as talented as Spence before he stepped it up against him, but there appears to be a confidence issue on his part. If Mikey believed in himself, he would have taken on a guy like Danny Garcia or Jeff Horn first. You can’t count Adrien Broner as a good test to get Mikey ready for a fighter in Spence’s class. Broner is not a good welterweight. He’s not even a good light welterweight.
Mikey has loads of talent, but his lack of size and power is going to put him at a huge disadvantage against Spence. Unless Mikey has some kind of trick that he plans on using like fouling or spoiling by holding and moving all night long, he’s going to be in for a long night on March 16. You can never rule out a fighter trying fouling and spoiling tactics to try and win a fight, but it would be a bad look on Mikey’s part if he decides to go that route.
Mikey has put together five solid wins since coming back from his two and a half year layoff from boxing. Mikey had promotional issues with his old promoters at Top Rank Boxing that kept him out of the ring from 2014 to 2016. Since returning to the ring, Mikey has reeled off wins over Elio Rojas, Dejan Zlaticanin, Adrien Broner, Sergey Lipinets and Robert Easter Jr. Those are solid fighters, but none of them are in the talent class or the same division as Spence. Broner floats between the 140 and 147 lb weight divisions, but he’s not doing well in either of those divisions at this point in his career.
Mikey is going to have to stand his ground against Spence if he wants to have a chance of beating him. He’s not going to be able to push him away, run from him or hold all night long hoping that he can minimize his punching power that way. Spence is going to be walking Mikey down all night long, hitting him to the body and putting maximum power on every shot he throws. This is going to be a battle of attrition. If Mikey can’t stand in the trenches and trade with Spence, he’s going to get knocked out. Mikey’s boxing skills aren’t going to help him against Spence, who has excellent skills as well along with power and size.
Some people believe Mikey’s trainer/brother Robert Garcia isn’t going to let him take any kind of punishment before he has the fight stopped. Robert is used to seeing his brother Mikey have his way against guys in the lower weight classes where he’s always been the bigger puncher. Things are going to be a lot different on March 16 when Mikey gets inside the ring with Spence.
This isn’t the #10 fighter at 147 that Mikey has hand-picked like he clearly did in facing Lipinets instead of the good fighters at 140. Spence is the best at 147 by far. The end result of a smaller fighter with no size, power or experience moving up to welterweight to take on the best fighter in the weight class is likely going to be a bad one for Garcia.
It might not matter how much size that Mikey packs on in the next 11 weeks in preparing for the Spence fight. He’s still likely going to be badly over-matched on the night when he gets inside the ring. Robert Garcia has all the confidence in the world in Mikey, but it’s going to take more than false confidence for him to beat a fighter like Spence. As we saw with Floyd Mayweather’s destruction of the much smaller Tenshin Nasugawa, it takes size to compete with talented fighters. A good big man beats a good small man, as they say.