Abel Sanchez says Mikey Garcia has a shot against Errol Spence
By Trevor McIntyre: Trainer Abel Sanchez says he spoke with Mikey Garcia’s father recently, and he told him the major flaw that he had observed in Errol Spence Jr’s game that he believes that Mikey can take advantage of on Saturday night to defeat him in their clash on Fox Sports PPV. Since having that conversation with Mikey’s dad, Sanchez says he now thinks that he’s got a real chance of getting the victory on Saturday.
Sanchez isn’t saying what the flaw in Spence’s game is, but it appears that it’s something that Mikey can take advantage of by fighting him in close. Sanchez says that if he were to give Spence any advice in how to win on Saturday, he would tell him to stay on the outside for the first six rounds to soften Mikey up with his jab before he goes looking for the knockout in the second half of the fight. That’s not likely what Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) will be looking to do, however. Spence has been knocking out his opponents lately by going after them from the very start with pressure and power shots. For him to back off and treat Mikey like a knockout threat, he would take a lot of heat from the boxing public.
“Mikey’s father said he saw something [with a flaw in Spence’s game]. He started explaining, and I saw it too,” trainer Abel Sanchez said to Fino Boxing in talking about a flaw in Spence’s game that Mikey’s father spotted. “If he sees something, then Mikey has a chance. I thought at the beginning that Spence would be too big for him. I still do, but there could be something there,” Sanchez said.
The only flaw that Mikey’s dad could have spotted in Spence’s game is how he tends to be tehre to be hit when he goes on the attack on the inside. That’s something that has always been there though. It’s no mystery that Spence can be hit when he lowers his head, and comes inside against his opponents. The problem is that Spence is able to take the shots from his opponents long enough for him to wear them out with his harder punches. If Mikey is going to try and beat Spence in a punch for punch war in close, he’s likely to lose that war and quickly. Mikey isn’t accustomed to getting hit with body shots. That’s something that Spence and a lot of boxing fans have noticed.
The guys that Mikey has fought during his career have been head-hunters for the most part. The last fighter that Mikey fought that was a body puncher was Orlando Salido back in 2013. That fight was stopped in the 8th round by Mikey’s trainer/brother Robert Garcia after he suffered a broken nose from a clash of heads. Salido was wearing Mikey down with the body shots, and Robert pulled him out when the fight started to go badly for him. If Robert pulls Mikey out when the going gets tough on Saturday, it’s going to hurt his career. Robert needs to leave Mikey in there and not try and save him if he suffers another broken nose or cut.
“That’s just weight. That doesn’t mean he’s the bigger puncher,” Sanchez said in commenting on the weight that Mikey has added to his frame. “That doesn’t mean he’s a bigger puncher. He’s [Mikey Garcia] still a super featherweight, but he’s a very skillful fighter, a very smart fighter inside the ring, and he’s undefeated. He doesn’t know what it is to lose. He doesn’t know what it is to have someone dominate him. That’s dangerous. Mikey has the experience on his side. Like I said; Mikey’s father said he saw something. When he explained it to me, maybe I see it too,” Sanchez said.
The weight that Mikey has put on for the fight, thanks to his hard work with strength trainer Victor Conte at his SNAC facility, will help Mikey absorb Spence’s punches a little better, but it probably won’t result in him throwing harder shots. If Mikey decides that he wants to trade with Spence, this fight could be over with quickly. Being bulked up doesn’t mean Mikey is going to have more power to trade with Spence.
“I would want Spence to just stay on the outside and just box Mikey and wear him down, and then take him into the late rounds, because Mikey is going to be Mikey,” Sanchez said in giving his thoughts on what Spence should do to try and beat Mikey on Saturday night.
It might not be a good idea for Spence to follow Sanchez’s advice of staying on the outside. Sanchez had his fighter former IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin fighting on the outside the entire fight with the weaker puncher Saul Canelo Alvarez in their first fight, and the judges scored it a draw because Canelo was landing the better shots. In other words, the judges didn’t score Golovkin’s jabs as high as the two or three hard shots that Alvarez was landing in each round.
If Spence follows Sanchez’s advice in staying on the outside for 12 rounds against Mikey, then we could see a similar outcome as the first Canelo-GGG fight where the judges score the fight a 12 round draw. A draw would be the equivalent of a loss for Spence, and it would badly hurt his career. Sanchez might not realize it but Spence has no choice but to go after Mikey in a seek and destroys manner on Saturday simply because he’s the bigger fighter, and he’ll be ridiculed if he boxes him from the outside for the entire fight. The only way the bigger, stronger and younger fighter Spence gets credit is if he jumps on Mikey from the opening bell in round 1, and obliterates him in lightning fashion. If Spence fights like that, then he’ll get a massive amount of appreciation from the boxing public. Anything short of that, Spence will be ripped apart and be seen as the laughing stock of the welterweight division.
“Mikey is a smart fighter, and experienced fighter. If Spence can keep Mikey on the outside, and not let it be a fight on the inside, then Mikey won’t be able to hit him with body shots that I know he can. If he stays on the outside and boxes him for five or six rounds, he can wear him out and stop him late if he doesn’t get him in the middle of the fight,” Sanchez said.
If Spence fights Mikey the way that Sanchez wants him to, he’ll look weak in the eyes of the fans in the same way GGG looked weak in fighting scared in his two fights against Canelo. You can argue that Sanchez’s wacky game plans being the reason why Golovkin didn’t beat Canelo twice. If Spence were to follow Sanchez’s game plan for the Mikey fight, he’ll lose, be held to a draw or look horrible in winning a 12 round decision. Spence is better off sticking with the same format that he’s used in winning his previous 24 fights by going for a knockout right from the start of the fight on Saturday.