Mikey Garcia adding max size for Errol Spence fight
By Jeff Aranow: Mikey Garcia and trainer Robert Garcia both have seen weakness in Errol Spence’s game that they think they can take advantage of on March 16. Mikey (39-0, 30 KOs) is so confident that he can beat IBF welterweight champion Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) that he’s moving up two weight classes to face him on March 16 on FOX PPV at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Robert is already predicting that Mikey will have his hand raised as the winner when he gets inside the ring with Spence. The boxing world doesn’t agree with Robert, but he doesn’t care. He sees what he sees in Spence, and feels he’s not good enough to beat his brother Mikey.
Spence has seen Mikey’s new incredible hulk look to his physique, and he’s saying he looks like Kangaroo Jack on steroids. Spence is not impressed with what Mikey is doing to try and beat him. The way that Spence is talking, he seems to smell fear and desperation on Mikey’s part. When a fighter bulks up as much as Mikey has, it sends out alarm bells that he’s terrified of what may happen to him during the fight with Spence. Mikey’s boxing fans feel hopeful now after seeing his body transformation. They don’t see it as a desperation move like Spence does. Spence has been around the game long enough to know fear when he sees it. When a fighter changes his physique to the extent that we’re seeing with Mikey, there’s no other way to view that move other than to label is a fear-based move. The fans believe in Mikey now, but they’re not the ones that are going to be trying to carry around all that extra muscle weight against a natural welterweight like Spence. Mikey’s trainer Robert didn’t want him to take this fight with Spence yet. He clearly wanted him to slowly move up to welterweight, but he doesn’t want to do that.
The release of the video and photo of a bulked up Mikey might help increase PPV sales on March 16, but it very likely won’t change the outcome of the fight. If anything, if Mikey puts on too much weight, it’s going to make it easier for Spence to knock him out. The bigger Mikey is on March 16, the slower he’ll be, and less capable of getting out of the way of Spence’s big shots.
Mikey is the one that has to make a ton of changes in his game by bulking up, and trying to improve his punching power to match the other top fighters at 147. Mikey isn’t going to be able to match Spence’s power, because he’s a natural welterweight. It’s not practical to assume that Mikey will become as strong as Spence or stronger by bulking up. Robert says he thinks Mikey will be around 160 lbs when he fights Spence. That might not nearly enough weight, if Spence is going to be around 170 lbs on the night.
Unlike Mikey, Spence doesn’t need to make any changes to his game. He’s already a welterweight, and he won’t need to do anything drastic like bulking up in a major way. Spence is already there at welterweight. He just needs to train as he always does to defeat the smaller, weaker Mikey Garcia.
With the help of fitness guru Victor Conte at his SNAC facility in San Carlos, California, Mike is trying to add muscle mass and improve his conditioning to transform himself into a welterweight so that he can compete against Spence on an even playing field on the 16th of March. Right now, it doesnt look good for Mikey. He’s a small fighter at 5’6″, who has failed to knockout his last three opponents in Robert Easter Jr., Sergey Lipinets and Adrien Broner.
Those are fighters that Spence would likely crush with his size. Spence is said to have knocked out Broner in sparring years ago when ‘The Problem’ was still a world champion and Errol just starting out.
Robert has been talking about Spence’s so-called flaws ever since the Spence-Garcia fight was announced, and it’s unknown whether he’s just saying that to try and psyche out Errol so that he loses his self confidence or if he believes it. One thing is for sure. Robert and Mikey aren’t going to beat Spence by just talking about the flaws in his game that they’re seeing.
“The more I see Spence fight; I’m not going to say it’s easy, because Spence is a bad mother-f—-r. I love his style and everything, but the more chances I see Mikey [beating him],” Robert Garcia said to esnewsreporting. “I’ve seen it [Spence’s flaws], and I’m seeing it now. Mikey seen it in a competition. The fans don’t see what a trainer sees. Spence is a hell of a fighter, very talented. He’s very strong. That’s one thing. Physically, he’s got great power, and a great body puncher. That’s one thing he does very well. He works the body really well,” Robert said.
Mikey wanted this fight with Spence. He wanted to challenge himself in going up two weight classes to fight the best fighter in the 147 pound weight class in facing Spence, who is widely seen as the top dog at welterweight. Mikey is doing the right thing by teaming up with Victor Conte to train with him at his SNAC facility. That means he’s trying to do everything he can to transform himself into a welterweight in two months of training. It might prove to be an impossible task for Mikey though. Bulking up to 160 doesn’t mean you’re a natural welterweight. To be natural in a weight class, you need the frame, tendons and ligaments that a bigger person has for that weight class. In bulking up, Mikey will likely be the equivalent of a fighter hauling around a 20 pound plate on his body, which is going to slow him up, make him easier to hit, and force his heart to work harder in carrying around that extra weight. In a word, it’s likely to be FUTILE.
Mikey hasn’t fought at welterweight, and that’s a big problem. Mikey has fought at featherweight , super featherweight 130], lightweight  and light welterweight . But he hasn’t fought at 147, and his two fights at 140 were against arguably lesser fighters in Adrien Broner and Sergey Lipinets. Some of Mikey’s boxing fans think rate Broner and Lipinets as being as good as the other top fighters at 140, but that doesn’t add up to reality. Broner and Lipinets are not viewed in the same light by knowledgeable people as the top light welterweights Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, Jose Ramirez, Kiryl Relikh, Ivan Baranchyk and Maurice Hooker. Broner and Lipinets are not anywhere close to being as talented as 2012 Olympian Errol Spence. In moving up to 140 to face Broner and Lipinets, Mikey did essentially the same thing Saul Canelo Alvarez did recently in moving up to super middleweight to beat a vulnerable champion in WBA ‘regular’ 168 lb belt holder Rocky Fielding on December 15 last year. Canelo didn’t take on the toughest challenge in moving up to super middleweight. He took on a weak champion in Fielding, who might not even be tenth best fighter in the 168 lb division. Mikey moved up to light welterweight and snatched some low hanging fruit in defeating two vulnerable fighters in Lipinets and Broner.
“Spence doesn’t fight tall. He doesn’t move like those guys [Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko and Manny Pacquiao]. So he’s there, and the more you see; it’s still not going to be easy. Yeah [I like Mikey’s chances to beat Spence],” Robert said.
The fighters that Robert mentions aren’t huge punchers, none of them. They use gimmicks like changing their fighting stances, and moving a lot, because they have to. Lomachenko isn’t a hard puncher, so he needs to move a lot. Crawford isn’t the biggest puncher either. Pacquiao is small, so he has to move. Spence doesn’t need to move because he’s been blessed with size, power and talent.
Robert says that Spence will be there in front of Mikey during this fight, and he thinks he can take advantage of that somehow. The only way Mikey can take advantage of Spence being in front of him is if he punches with him. He’s not going to be able to take advantage of him being in front of him if he doesn’t stay in the pocket and trade. Mikey isn’t going to be able to stand on the outside and jab Spence, because he’s got shorter arms than him by six inches. If Mikey tries to jab with Spence, he’s going to get jabbed to pieces.
Spence has seen the Twitter post from Robert Garcia, showing a bulked up Mikey, looking like a completely different person. Spence is taking the fight seriously, knowing how hard his opponent is working to try and beat him.
“Before, we were seeing it [the Spence vs. Mikey fight] like every fan sees it,” Robert Garcia said. “‘Spence, oh s–t, a bad mother-f—-r. He knocks everybody out.’ That’s what we were seeing. That’s why were at first [saying], ‘Mikey, wait for the time is right. You move up little by little, move up in weight.’ [Adrien] Broner did it [in moving up to welterweight successfully in beating Paulie Malignaggi to win the WBA welterweight title], but he did it against Paulie. Canelo [Alvarez] just did it [at super middleweight], but he picked the right guy [Rocky Fielding]. That’s one thing that Mikey could have done. But Mikey said, ‘F–k it, I said it’s going to be Spence. It’s going to be Spence,'” Robert said.
Mikey isn’t taking on a soft touch at 147 like Adrien Broner did in moving up to welterweight in June 2013 to dethrone then WBA World 147 lb champion Paulie Malignaggi. It’s a much different story with what Mikey is attempting to do in facing the best welterweight in the division in Spence. Saul Canelo Alvarez moved up to super middleweight to beat WBA ‘regular’ 168 lb champion Rocky Fielding, who was the most beatable of the champions in that weight class. It wasn’t the most courageous move on Canelo’s part in fighting Fielding instead of Callum Smith, Jose Uzcategui or Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez.
A lot of people have been writing Garcia off since the Spence fight was announced for March 16. But with Robert showing a photo of a bulked up Mikey on his social media site, a lot of fans in the boxing world are suddenly changing their opinion about the fight, thinking that he has a chance of pulling off an upset against Spence. Spence is still the favorite to win. It doesn’t matter how big Mikey gets. Mikey can bulk up to 200 lbs, and Spence is still going to be the favorite. For Mikey’s sake, he shouldn’t put too much muscle weight on during this training camp. Body builders are able to pack on 30 lbs of muscle in an incredibly short period of time, but they’re not fighters. They’re bulking up for their competitions to pose in front of a room full of spectators and handful of judges. The bulk that Mikey packs on in his eight week training camp needs to be useful weight, and not be useless muscle that looks good but isn’t going to help him during the Spence fight. Boxing is a cardio sport. It’s not just a sport where a guy can transform himself into the Hulk, and then use his size to beat up his smaller opponent. When you pack on muscle, your heart needs to be able to pump blood to all the new muscle mass during the fight, and that’s not easy for it to do.
“So now I told my dad, ‘we’re going, and this guy is really big and strong,'” Robert said. “My dad is like, ‘Look, we know the guy is big and strong, and we know the fight’s tough, but that’s the last thing we got to train for. We can’t train thinking that or even mentioning it to Mikey.’ Now we’re going to train for Mikey to beat him. We’ve got to find a way to do it, because there is a way to do it, and we got to do it,” Robert said.
Robert and his dad can both talk positive about the Spence fight to Mikey, and not let him know that they see it as a hopeless fight for him, but that’s not going to keep him from reading what the boxing fans are saying about him on social media. Mikey is still going to be well aware that the fans see him as having no chance of beating Spence. Unless Mikey chooses to live on top of a mountain, and cut himself off from civilization entirely, he’s going to hear what the boxing fans are saying about him in relation to his fight with Spence, and that could hurt his confidence as much as it would if Robert told him the straight dope about his chances of winning against the unbeaten 28-year-old Spence.
“One thing people don’t know is Mikey has been taking Victor Conte’s stuff for five years,” Robert said. “The only thing Mikey hasn’t done is the training with Victor [at his SNAC facility in San Carlos, California]. This isn’t the first time that we’re getting Victor Conte involved. This is the first time Mikey is going up there for strength and conditioning. He didn’t need it at 135. This time at welterweight, Mikey needs it,” Robert said.
You can argue that all the nutritional stuff that Mikey has been taking over the years from Conte isn’t the reason why he’s done well at super featherweight, lightweight and light welterweight. With the guys that Mikey has fought in the last six years, he would have beaten then if he had’t take any vitamins. When yo’re fighting guys like Dejan Zlaticano, Elio Rojas, Broner, Lipinets, Roman Martinez and Juan Carlos Burgos, you don’t need to max out on nutritional supplements. Those are guys that Mikey would have always beaten no matter what. He’s just a better fighter than those guys.
“54, 55, maybe,” Robert Garcia said when asked what’s Mikey’s walk around weight in between fights. “Now he’s probably at 60, 58. Look, he already hits hard. He has power. Victor knows, I want Mikey to have more speed. I want him to be explosive. When he comes back here, they’re going to bring all the stuff [high altitude training equipment]. They’re going to bring all that back for Mikey. He needed that. We need,” Robert said.
If Mikey is only 155 lbs on the night against Spence, he would be giving away as much 15 lbs. If Spence comes into the fight at 170, he’s going to dwarf Mikey in size. That’s too just too big. Spence isn’t just a big guy that doesn’t know how to use his size. He’s strong and he can fight.
Mikey going up in weight to face Spence at welterweight could close the door on a much hoped for fight between him and Vasyl Lomachenko at lightweight. It’s going to be very hard for Mikey to lose all the muscle he packs on for this fight to go back down to lightweight to resume defending his World Boxing council 135 lb title. For Mikey to move back down to face Lomachenko in a unification fight, it doesn’t sound like it’s realistic. With the help of Victor Conte, Mikey can probably lose the muscle weight to go back down to lightweight, but he likely won’t be the same fighter that he was before he bulked up. He’ll likely be weaker, and not the guy that we saw in his fights against Robert Easter Jr. and Dejan Zlaticanin. If Spence destroys Mikey by a knockout in an easy fight, it’ll result in a much less fan interest in a fight between Mikey and Lomachenko at lightweight. It would be crazy for Mikey to try and make the Lomachenko fight immediately after losing to Spence, be it by a knockout or decision. If Mikey isn’t in too much of a rush to face Lomachenko, he could slowly build up to the fight by taking some confidence boosters at lightweight or light welterweight, and then try and make the fight in 2020. If Mikey’s body isn’t as strong after he moves back down to lighweight, then he should try and lure Lomachenko to 140 or face him at a catch-weight of 138 lbs.
No matter what Robert wants to say, it’s still going to be a very hard fight for Mikey Garcia. He’s not only moving up in weight to a new division at 147, he’s moving up to face what many boxing fans believe is the best fighter in the welterweight division in Spence. It’s not just Mikey moving up to take on a beatable fighter like he did when he twice moved up to 140 to face Lipinets and Broner. Mikey didn’t put himself at risk in facing those guys. If he had fought Prograis or Baranchyk, it would been a different story. Mikey would have been facing a real threat against those guys. We don’t know if Spence is necessarily the best fighter at 147. Some boxing fans think Terence Crawford is the best. Unfortunately, Craawford’s body of work since moving up to welterweight is too small for him to be seen as the best fighter in the division. All we know is Crawford did what he had to do to beat Jeff Horn and Jose Benavidez Jr. since moving up to 147.
“154 first, maybe,” Robert said when asked if he would agree to have Mikey move up to middleweight to face Saul Canelo Alvarez.
Well, you’ve got to believe that if Mikey beats Spence on March 16, he won’t be pulling back from wanting to take on WBA/WBC middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) in a pay-per-view bout, if one could be arrange. With the huge money that Gennady Golovkin was able to make fighting Canelo twice on HBO PPV, Mikey won’t hesistat to take the fight with the Golden Boy star.