Errol Spence: I hope Mikey Garcia tries to knock me out
By Chris Williams: Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia met up on Wednesday for their final news conference at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas before the two of them battle it out this Saturday night on March 16 on FOX Sports pay-per-view. While Spence seemed relaxed throughout the press conference, Mikey looked agitated as if he was bothered by some of the things that had been said to him by the unbeaten IBF welterweight champion. It’s easy to figure out why Mikey was so upset, because Spence was letting him have it the entire time at the podium.
(Photo credit: James Smith/Dallas Cowboys)
The face off between Mikey and Spence was kind of disturbing. Spence looked like the terminator out there, whereas Mikey looked like he was the food.
It was kind of jarring to see Spence and the 5’6″ Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) standing side by side on the stage today. Despite all the bulk training that Garcia has done in preparing for the fight, he still looked minuscule standing next to the 5’9 1/2″ Spence (24-0, 21 KOs). Although Mikey does look thicker, he’s still so short and small, that he didn’t look like he belonged on the same stage with Errol today. Mikey looked more like an interviewer than an opponent for Spence. That’s obviously not good, because Spence has been steamrolling guys that are as big as him, and you shudder to think about he can do against a guy almost four inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter. On paper, it’s not even a fair fight.
Mikey, 31, has been overlooked and counted out by a great number of boxing fans, who see him as just another guy for Spence to knockout with ease.
This is a new experience for Mikey, who normally is the guy that is seen as invincible going into his fights. It’s a hard adjustment for a guy accustomed to being seen as the favorite to all of a sudden being dismissed by virtually everyone as having little or no chance of winning the fight against Errol.
“I’ll beat him at anything he wants to do,” Spence said about Mikey. “I don’t think anyone has the power to knock me out. I hope he tries though.”
Mikey will most definitely try and knock Spence out. Even if that’s not the game plan that Mikey has going into the fight, he’ll go on cruise control at some point and revert to form and try and stop Spence. Mikey can’t help but to try and punch with Spence, because he’s been a knockout artist his entire 13-year pro career and he can’t change what he is. As the saying goes, ‘a zebra can’t change his stripes.’
Mikey is a KO artist, and he’s going to try and do a job on Spence no matter what game plan his trainer Robert Garcia has put together for him. The only guys that have troubled Spence during his career are fighters that came out fast with both guns blazing from the first round. As hard as he tried, Spence wasn’t able to run over fighters like Emmanuel Lartey, Kell Brook and Ronald Cruz. Those guys came out fast and forced Spence to defend. If Mikey does that on Saturday night, he might have a chance of slowing Spence up and preventing him from treating him like a speed bump.
“He called me out, so they obviously think that they see something,” Spence said.
Mikey and his trainer/brother Robert Garcia saw something in Spence’s recent fights that makes them think they can beat him on Saturday. The reality is, Mikey wouldn’t have selected Spence if he didn’t think he could defeat him. If this was a move done for glory without any hope for success, Mikey would have called out a more popular fighter like Gennady Golovkin or Saul Canelo Alvarez for the fame. Those guys would be a real disaster for Mikey, but then again few boxing fans would take a fight between those guys and Mikey seriously. It’s hard enough for fans to to take the Spence vs. Garcia fight seriously due to the huge size difference between the two fighters. If Mikey is wrong about the flaw in Spence’s game that he supposedly saw, that he thinks he can take advantage of, he’s going to get smashed to pieces by him on Saturday night.
It might be a fast destruction, which probably would be a good thing for him. Mikey will take less punishment if Spence gets him out of there fast rather slow and methodical like he did with his seventh round stoppage win over Lamont Peterson last year in January. Spence let Peterson hang around, and he ended up giving him a slow beating. If Spence does that with Mikey on Saturday, it might be in trainer Robert Garcia’s best interest to throw in the towel to save his brother.
“If I knock him out early, then that’s a bonus,” Spence said. “I’m tired of seeing him. I could talk to Mikey Garcia in the locker room before the fight then come out and knock his head off. I’m always on go,” Spence said.
The comments that Spence made during today’s final news conference clearly got to Mikey. By the time the news conference was over today, Mikey had a sour look on his face, as if he’d just eaten a bowl of spoiled grapes. It might have the combination of the remarks from Spence about wanting to punish him, as well the relaxed, half-asleep look on his face while he was speaking. Spence had the look of someone that was just not bothered in the least about the threat that Mikey poses to him. One could sense that Spence is going to come out in first gear on Saturday night, and still crush Mikey as if he’s not even there.
There are fighters in the welterweight division that would have Spence’s full attention, but Mikey clearly isn’t one of them. When Spence eventually gets around to fighting Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman and Terence Crawford, he’s likely going to have more concern on his face. For his part, Mikey Garcia seems to be just too small to raise Spence’s pulse rate to a level that would have him sweating or even looking bothered by the threat he poses to him. Mikey probably realizes that, and it bothers him greatly. When a fighter knows he’s not being taken seriously due to him not being threat to an A-level fighter, it’s got to annoy them. That might be the case with Mikey. He finally realizes that he’s not see as being good enough to have Spence’s full attention.
“This win makes me pound-for-pound number one,” Spence said. “I feel like winning this fight turns me into a star. I’m going to punish him and make him wish he took his brother’s advice to not take this fight.”
Wow, that doesn’t sound too good, does it? Spence wants to punish Mikey and make him regret that he took this fight. Oh well, Mikey is the one that thought he saw something in Spence that he could take advantage of. The thing is, fighters look so small when you’re watching them on television or on your computer screen. It’s a different story when you get inside the ring with them and find out how big they are and how hard they hit.