Kellerman: ‘Mikey can beat Spence if his power carries to 147’
By Sean Jones: Max Kellerman is playing the IF game when it comes to the Mikey Garcia vs. Errol Spence Jr. fight set for March 16. Kellerman is giving the smaller and older 31-year-old Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) a chance of beating IBF welterweight champion Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) If his punching power carries all the way up to 147.
What we do know is Mikey’s power DIDN’T carry up to 140. Mikey couldn’t knockout Adrien Broner and Sergey Lipinets at light welterweight. Mikey never came close to hurting either of those guys. It wasn’t mission accomplished when it came to Mikey knocking out Broner and Lipinets. Mikey took more punishment than Lipinets did in their fight last March.
“Can Mikey carry the power up to 147 a little better than we’ve seen?” Kellerman said to Fighthype. “If the answer’s yes, he can win the fight. I think it’s important that Mikey can still pop at welterweight… At the top level at 147, can he hit hard enough to actually break a guy down?”
In a storybook world, Mikey’s power at 147 will have the same effect on his behalf as it did when he started out his career fighting at featherweight. Power-wise, Mikey was at his best when he was fighting at 126 from 2006 to 2013. During that seven-year period, Mikey had an incredibly high percentage of knockouts.
Here’s the breakdown of Mikey’s knockouts per division:
– 140 lbs – 1 knockouts in 3 fights
– 135 lbs – 1 knockout in 2 fights
– 130 lbs – 4 knockouts in 5 fights
– 126 lbs – 26 knockouts in 30 fights
Mikey was a good fighter at featherweight, but he’s clearly not going to suddenly be transformed into Julian Jackson at 147. It doesn’t matter how much weight lifting he does or nutritional supplements he ingests, it’s not going to turn Mikey into a beast at 147 to compete against a fighter that really should be fighting at 154. Spence is a junior middleweight in this writer’s opinion. It’s a credit to Spence that he’s able to lose the weight to make the 147 lb weight limit, but hes clearly a junior middleweight. It’s bad news for welterweights that have to compete against a fighter Spence’s size, and even worse for a small lightweight like Mikey. He’s really up against it in this fight whether he wants to admit it to himself or not.
If Spence doesn’t train for the fight or if he’s completely weight drained to the point where he loses 50% of his punching power and all of his stamina, then Mikey has a real chance of winning the fight. I’ll play the IF game like Kellerman for a second. If Spence is at even 70% of his normal strength capacity on the night, he’ll destroy Mikey with body shots and go home early by the 7th round. If Spence is 100%, this fight could be over by the 1st round. Mikey is a lot smaller than Spence’s last opponent 5’10 1/2″ Carlos Ocampo, and his ability to take Errol’s body shots wont be any better than that guy. If Spence is just as powerful for this fight as he was against Ocampo, Mikey will be lucky if he makes it to the 2nd round. If Spence just as powerful as he was for the Ocampo fight, Mikey will be doomed to an early knockout. I don’t think Spence is going to carry Mikey like he did with Peterson, because he’s been kind of cocky in the build up to the fight. Spence won’t have mercy on Mikey like he appeared to have on Peterson.
What you can see here is predominantly most of Garcia’s knockouts have occurred at 126 lbs [featherweight] with very few coming once he moved up to 135 and 140. As such, it doesn’t make any sense to assume that Mikey’s power is going to carry to 147, because his past history doesn’t bear that out. There’s nothing in Mikey’s recent history to make one believe that he’s going to suddenly develop world class punching power that rivals Spence’s at 147. Unless Victor Conte, the honcho of SNAC, has come up with some ground breaking nutritional supplement or a resistance technique that will trans form Mikey’s DNA to that of a puncher like Spence, he’s not going to be powerful enough to win this fight.
“It’s not out of the question that Mikey can beat Errol Spence, he is the more skillful fighter. He’s not as fast, he’s not as big a puncher or as big, period. But he has had more time as a pro to refine his skill. So he has real chances in that fight and hats off to him for making it,” Kellerman said.
When Kellerman talks about Mikey having more skills than Spence, what he’s leaving out is the fact that the fighters are three divisions apart. That’s pretty significant. Mikey is a lightweight. He’s not a light welterweight, even though he did beat a weak champion in Lipinets last March. Mikey never proved himself against the best 140 pounders like Regis Progais, Jose Ramirez, Maurice Hooker, Josh Taylor, Ivan Baranchyk or Kiryl Relikh. Terence Crawford was fighting at 140 in the not too distance past, and Mikey didn’t compete against him for one of his belts. He picked out Lipinets, which tells you something about Mikey. He arguably cherry-picked a paper champion, and that’s something that Saul Canelo Alvarez recently was criticized for doing in moving up to 168 to win an easy title against WBA ‘regular’s super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding.
“It’s not enough to just continue to box, you have to put something on him that can really break him down. And that’s what this fight will boil down to,” Kellerman said about Mikey needing to take the fight to Spence in order to beat him.
At this point, Mikey might be toyed with by Spence like he did last year against former IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson. Spence only appeared to fight hard n the 5th round. The rest of the fight, he was just boxing Peterson, and having a good time in fighting in 1st gear. When Spence did suddenly switch to 2nd and 3rd gear in the 5th, he put Peterson down quickly and had him in trouble. Peterson never seemed to recover from that round, and was pulled put of the fight in the 7th. Peterson looked like a better fighter at 140 than Mikey did in his two fights in that weight class against Broner and Lipinets. Mikey was throwing punches against those guys, but the power wasn’t there. Broner didn’t realize that he had a chance to win until the second half of the fight when he started walking Mikey down and winning rounds based on his pressure. Broner couldn’t fight like that against Spence. If he tries to walk Spence down, it would end badly for Adrien.