WBC sanctions Errol Spence vs. Mikey Garcia for their Diamond 147lb title
By Dan Ambrose: The World Boxing Council has sanctioned the March 16th fight between Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) and Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) to be for their WBC Diamond welterweight title, even though Spence holds the IBF 147 pound title.
The WBC has decided to have one of their own titles, which they use for special event fights, to be on the line for the Spence vs. Garcia fight on FOX pay-per-view at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
There’s no word from the WBC how much the Diamond belt will cost in terms of sanctioning fees. If it’s too costly for Spence and Garcia, it might be better for them to simply reject the WBC’s offer to have their Diamond belt on the line unless they’re offering it without them having to pay a sanctioning fee.
Having Spence’s International Boxing Federation welterweight title on the line for the fight with Garcia should be more than enough to validate the fight in the eyes of the casual fans. The hardcore fans are excited about the Spence-Garcia fight to want to pay to see them battle even if there wasn’t a world title up for grabs. The WBC throwing in their Diamond strap is redundant, and perhaps not really necessary to get fans excited about the fight. The Diamond title adds very little to the Spence vs. Garcia fight in terms of cache.
“It could be the body. It could be the head. It could be the arms, whatever,” Spence said to Fighthub in talking about what part of Mikey’s body he’ll target on March 16. “I’ll punch anything, whatever is open, that’s what I’m going to take.”
Spence has been knocking guys out with his body shots. He stopped his last opponent Carlos Ocampo in the first round with a body shot last June. Mikey, 31, doesn’t like getting hit to the body, so he’s likely going to try a lot of different things to keep Spence from hitting him there. The best body puncher Mikey has fought during his career is Orlando Salido. Mikey kept him from throwing body shots by holding his left arm way out in front of him and using it to block Salido from getting near him. It’s a move that isn’t allowed in boxing, but Mikey got away with it due to the referee being passive and warning him. Mikey was also using his left arm to shove Salido when he would try and get close to throw shots to his midsection. This was another move that Mikey got away with in the fight. An alert referee would have stopped Mikey from using that tactic. The third thing that Mikey used to keep Salido from throwing body shots was pulling down on his head when he would come inside to let his shots go. Mikey got away with this tactic as well. With Mikey getting away with a lot of questionable tactics in the fight, it’s no wonder that Salido lost his cool and rammed heads with him in the 8th round, which resulted in Mikey suffering a broken nose. Spence is going to have to figure a way of dealing with these tactics from Mikey if he chooses to use them against him when he attempts to throw body shots. If the referee is the type that only polices rabbit punches and low blows, and lets the other stuff go by, then Mikey could get away with same tactics that he used in the Salido fight against Spence.
“He looks fat,” Spence said about Mikey’s new physique with the added bulk that he’s packed on while training at the SNAC facility in San Carlos, California. “He’s filling out, but he [Mikey] looks fat. Anybody can fill up by eating,” Spence said.
Mikey’s physique is going to need to be trimmed down considerably by the time he faces Spence on March 16. The good news is there’s still a lot of time for Mikey to lose the flab that he’s packed on. Some of the fat that Mikey has put on was there before he started training for the fight with Spence. For a fighter to bulk up to put on muscle, they need to take in a lot of calories to gain the weight. A lot of fat is put on as well in the process of bulking up. The key for Mikey is to make sure that he doesn’t lose too much of the muscle he packs on while he’s trying to trim off the fat in the next two months.
At this point, Mikey is still likely bulking up in order to put on enough muscle so that he’s able to be competitive with Spence. It’s still going to be awfully hard for the 5’6″ Mikey to do that. Even if Mikey does bulk up to a solid 165 pounds for the March 16 fight, it’s not going to be the same as Spence’s solid 165 to 170 pounds that he comes into the fight at. Spence is a naturally big guy, and he doesn’t need to bulk up for him to carry that weight. Mikey should be taking tune-up fights at welterweight before he faces Spence, because it’s not a good idea for him to go into this fight without testing the new weight that he packs on against another fighter of less ability.
“He did kind of look like him,” Spence said about Mikey’s bulked up physique making him look like Kangaroo Jack. “I don’t care. He’s supposed to be doing a lot of things. Me personally, I wouldn’t work with nobody that had a history like that, but everybody is different though,” Spence said in seeming to be talking about Mikey working out at Victor Conte’s SNAC facility in Northern California.”
Spence sees Mikey as wasting his time in bulking up to try and beat him. All Spence sees is mostly fat that Mikey has put on, and he says he resembled, “Kangaroo Jack on steroids.” Spence thinks that the muscle weight that Mikey has put on won’t be useful weight, and he’ll end up losing the fight.
“I’m going to fill the stadium definitely,” Spence said about the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Having Mikey as an opponent will help Spence bring in boxing fans to try and fill the 100,000 seat stadium. It’s not realistic for Spence to assume that he’s going to be able to sellout the AT&T Stadium no matter who he faces. The highly popular Saul Canelo Alvarez couldn’t sell out the AT&T Stadium for his fight against Liam Smith in 2016. Those two brought in over 50,000 boxing fans, which was a very good number given that Canelo was facing a no name opponent rather than a star. However, Canelo still couldn’t sellout the AT&T Stadium, and it’ unlikely Spence vs. Mikey will do better
“He’s not fast like that. He’s got fast feet. His feet are faster than his hands,” Spence said about Mikey in talking about his speed. “He’s got fast hands, but aren’t that fast. Yes, it’s a good attribute, but it’s not going to help too much,” Spence said about Mikey’s quick feet.
Mikey’s hand and foot speed aren’t blazing fast. He’s a powerful guy, but he’s never been compared to a prime Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roy Jones Jr. or Manny Pacquiao as far as speed goes.
“I’m still sparring the same guys, the bigger guys,” Spence said.
This is interesting that Mikey isn’t looking to spar smaller fighters that are the same size as Mikey. This suggests that Spence is so confident of victory that he feels he doesn’t need to spar with fighters the same size as Mikey. It could work in Spence’s favor if he spars fighters like former WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo or his brother interim WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo while he prepared for the fight with Mikey. The Charlo brothers are just as fast as Mikey, but much bigger and stronger. Going from sparring the Charlos to fight a tiny, rounded 5’6″ fighter like Mikey will be a cinch for Spence.