By Chris Williams: Trainer Robert Garcia says he’s impressed with what he’s seen of IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) in studying his fights in the process of getting his fighter Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) ready for his fight against the unbeaten champion on March 16 on FOX Sports pay-per-view at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Unfortunately, Robert sounds almost worried when talking about how talented Spence is. The look on Robert’s face is one of worry during an interview with esnewsreporting. It’s as if Robert knows how tough it’s going to be for Mikey to try and deal with the power and size that Spence has got for him. On top of Spence’s advantage in the punching power and size depart, he’s also very talented. Mikey is going to have deal with that. It’s nice when a trainer is looking and sounding confident, but Robert appears to be the opposite of that. He does not look like a guy that believes in his fighter, and that’s okay. There’s a chance that Mikey will do well regardless of his trainer’s confidence or lack thereof.
“Spence is the most impressive, the most talented,” Robert Garcia said to esnewsreporting about Errol Spence Jr. “He’s very, very strong. I’ve been watching his fights. He’s very, very talented,” Garcia said.
The only flaw that Robert can take advantage of with Spence is the way that he packs on the pounds in between fights. Spence, 28, looked pretty fat when the fight with Mikey was first announced. Even as late as last week, Spence still looked chunky, and he was eating what appeared to be a lot of tortilla chips while being interviewed. If Spence is eating a lot of carbs and fats, it’s going to be hard for him to trim down to make weight at 147.
It’s not easy for Spence to make weight for the welterweight division. Sooner or later, he’s to hit a wall when it comes to whittling down to make the 147 lb limit. It would be Robert and Mikey’s good luck if this is the fight in which Spence ends up weight drained while trying to make the 147 lb limit. That would be Mikey’s best chance of winning the fight. If Spence is at full strength, it’s going to be bad for Mikey, because he’s too thin, and fragile looking with his slender, bird-like physique.
Spence will need to approach this fight with a sense of urgency, because he cannot afford to let Mikey win rounds and get any kind of momentum. He’s the underdog, but a popular fighter If Spence lets Mikey have his moments in the fight, then the crowd could get excited and start cheering like mad. The judges in turn will give rounds to Mikey, and we could see a controversial decision in his favor if the match goes the distance.
Mikey needs to try and slow Spence down any way he can, because he’s going to be looking to storm right through him in the same way he did in his recent knockout victories over Lamont Peterson, Carlos Ocampo and Kell Brook. Mikey isn’t as big or as strong Brook. If Mikey had Brook’s size this could be an interesting fight. Bulking up isn’t the same as being natural welterweight. Mikey has put on some size for the fight with Spence, but he’s not likely going to be able to use that size.
In his many interviews since the Spence-Garcia fight was first announced, Robert hasn’t seemed excited about this fight as he was when Mikey fought guys like Sergey Lipinets, Adrien Broner, Robert Easter Jr., and Dejab Zlaticanin. Robert’s body language during the interview is that of a guy that knows he’s got a near impossible task on his hands. Robert has to come up with strategy that will keep Spence from landing his big power shots to the head and body of Mikey on March 16.
If Spence is able to land his shots, Mikey is not going to last long. Robert will need to pull Mikey out to keep him from taking too much punishment in the fight. The thing is, if Robert has the fight stopped too soon to protect Mikey, he’s to anger a lot of the boxing fans that will be purchasing the fight on FOX Sports PPV. Those fans are not going to be pleased if Robert tosses the towel in at the first sign of trouble for Mikey.
This is a fight that Mikey wanted, but not Robert. Mikey, 31, decided that he wanted to take on the best fighter in the welterweight division, and that’s Spence. If Mikey loses to Spence, there’s less fallout for him than if he were to take on WBA ‘regular’ champion Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao, WBA Super World champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, WBC champion Shawn Porter or WBO champion Terence Crawford. Mikey would probably never fight Crawford, as he’s with his former promoters at Top Rank.
It would seem like an impossible task for Robert to get the 5’6″ Mikey ready to take on the most devastating puncher in the welterweight division in 5’9 1/2″ Spence. Robert says he’s studied Spence’s fight, as well as a number of other fighters, and he rates him as the best of the bunch in the talent department. Robert knows what he and Mikey are up against in taking on Spence, and there’s not much he can do about it other than to try and put together the best possible game plan that he can.
Gervonta ‘Tank Davis vs. Abner Mares predicament
Besides the tough task of getting Mikey ready for the unbeatable Spence, he Robert also is trying to figure out how to get his fighter former three division world champion Abner Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs) ready to take on World Boxing Association Super World super featherweight champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) on February 9 in their fight at the Dignity Health Sports Park , Carson, California.
The Davis vs. Mares fight is coming up first for Robert, and he’s got to decide what game plan he can put together to get the 33-year-old Abner ready for the fight against a younger, stronger, bigger and faster Gervonta. It would seem like an impossible task on paper, but Robert says he’s seen a lot of flaws in Tank’s game that he believes Mares can take advantage of on February 9 to beat him. Robert isn’t saying what those flaws are, but it’s got to be something big for him to be so excited.
“The first thing people thought when the fight was announced is, ‘Tank is too big, too strong, because Abner is moving up in weight. He’s too big for Abner,” Robert Garcia said about Gervonta Davis. “I started watching Tank’s fights to see his mistakes to see his mistakes to see what he does best to study the guy we’re fighting. He [Gervonta] is a beast. He is a powerful guy. He knocks everybody out. Only one decision. So if you’re just a trainer that that hasn’t done his work, that’s the first thing they think. ‘That’s a dangerous fight for Abner. He’s too young and strong and fast.’ But once you sit down and start doing your work as a trainer, there’ a lot of things Tank does that we can take advantage of, and we can work on and work to get the win,” Robert said.
If both Mikey Garcia and Mares get destroyed in their respective fights back to back, it’s going to look bad for Robert Garcia, since he’s held in such high esteem by a lot of boxing fans and fighters. There’s a very real possibility that Mares and Mikey will be knocked out. Robert is a good trainer, but he’s not Superman. He can’t go inside the ring and intercept blows from Davis and Spence on the night to keep Mares and Mikey from taking punishment, and ultimately from being knocked out.
“It’s not going to be easy. It’s a tough fight,” Robert said. It’s a very tough, dangerous fight, but Abner is experienced. Abner has been in there many, many times, and we’re going to take advantage of that,” Robert Garcia said.