Errol Spence Jr: A victory over Mikey Garcia makes me #1 P-4-P
By Aragon Garcia: Errol Spence Jr. sees a potential victory over lightweight Mikey Garcia tonight as a launching pad to make him the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. IBF welterweight champion Spence and Garcia fight tonight at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Spence believes that a win over Garcia will put him on the path to take over Floyd Mayweather’s place as the “face of boxing.” Spence sees his popularity going up with a win over Garcia. It’s possible. The casual boxing fans might not factor in that Spence is the larger fighter, and the heavy favorite going in. In theory, if the casual boxing fans aren’t aware of the difference in size between the two combatants, they might give Spence more credit than he would deserve for a victory tonight against Garcia.
Ring Magazine currently has Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) rated at #10 in their pound-for-pound list. Garcia is rated #7. One would think that for Spence to go up to #1 in the p-4-p ratings, he would need to beat someone higher up than him in the top 10. Defeating a fighter that is coming up 2 weight divisions to fight Spence in Mikey Garcia might not be enough get the #1 spot.
The only welterweight that is rated ahead of Spence in the pound for pound rating is WBO belt holder Terence Crawford, who earned his high rating not based on what he’s done at welterweight, but rather what he accomplished in unifying the 140 lb division in beating Julius Indongo [IBF & WBA], Viktor Postol [WBC] and Thomas Dulorme [WBO]. Since Spence and Crawford fight on different networks and with different management, it’s unlikely the two will face each other in the near future until one of them starts getting old.
“This win makes me pound-for-pound number one,” Spence said. “Mikey has a great record and a big fan base and I feel like winning this fight turns me into a star.”
The part where Spence said that a victory over Mikey will turn him “into a star” has a higher chance of happening than him being elevated to the #1 pound-for-pound list. There are too many fighters ahead of Spence fight now, and beating Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) won’t be big enough win for Errol to get the #1 spot. As it is, many boxing fans see the Spence-Garcia fight as a gross mismatch due to Spence’s big size and power advantage over the smaller 5’6″ Garcia. With Spence’s size advantage, he’s expected to win and look great in doing so. Anything other than slam dunk knockout victory for Spence is going to be bad for him. For Spence, he needs to be prepared to be heavily criticized after the fight tonight if he doesn’t destroy Garcia right off the bat.
Needing to go the full 12 round distance to win a decision over Mikey is going to make Spence look bad, and it won’t result in him being moved to #1 in the pound-for-pound list. If anything, Spence might lose his #10 spot. That’s why it’s never a good idea for a bigger fighter to face someone much smaller than him. Look at Vasyl Lomachenko as an example of that. After he beat former WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2017, he received no credit from boxing fans, because he was so much bigger than his opponent. Like Spence, Lomachenko didn’t give Rigondeaux a handicap by agreeing to fight him at a catch-weight halfway between the super bantamweight  and super featherweight  divisions. Even if Lomachenko had fought Rigondeaux at a catch-weight of 126, Spence won’t get credit for beating Mikey due to the size advantage that he has. So instead of being moved up in the pound-for-pound ratings, Spence will likely either stay at the #10 spot or get moved down.
“Everyone wants to take Floyd Mayweather’s place as the face of boxing, and this puts me on the right track to become the face of boxing and the best fighter in the world,” Spence said.
The current top 10 Ring Magazine pound-for-pound list is as follows:
1. Vasyl ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko
2. Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford
3. Saul Canelo Alvarez
4. Aleksander Usyk
5. Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin
6. Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue
7. Mikey Garcia
8. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
9. Donnie Nietes
10. Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr.
It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Mikey keeps his #7 spot in the pound-for-pound rating even if he loses to Spence tonight. Given that Mikey is fighting two weight classes above his normal weight of lightweight, you can’t say that he loses anything in getting beaten by Spence, because he’s facing a fighter that is so much larger than him. Until someone from Mikey’s own weight class beats him, he can’t – or shouldn’t – lose his #7 spot in Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound list.
If Spence wants to make a case that he deserves the #1 spot in the P-4-P list, he can either go after a well respected welterweight like Crawford or Thurman or move up to 154 and beat the perceived top guy in the division in Jarrett Hurd. Spence could also move up to 160, and challenge Saul Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs or Demetrius Andrade. Beating one or more of those fighters would likely result in Spence being pushed up the pound-for-pound rankings. Just how high Spence would get pushed up depends on how he performs, and which of those guys he faces. If Spence is going to take on a 154 lb fighter, then Hurd is the one he should be face. If Spence goes up to 160, then Canelo would be the guy that he would need to beat for him to get credit. Golovkin’s star power has plummeted since his loss to Canelo, but he would be someone that would help Spence get moved up a few spots at least in the pound-for-pound ranking if he beat him.
Former two division world champion Andre Ward already sees Spence beating Mikey, saying to ESPN that the Spence-Garcia fight is a “classic case of a big man beats the little good man. The added weight and sheer size and power of Spence will prove to be too much for a great fighter who just took too much of a risk,” Ward told ESPN.”
Ward moved up in weight from super middleweight to light heavyweight late in his career to defeat IBF/WBA/WBO 175 lb champion Sergey Kovalev in 2016. But Ward didn’t go up two divisions to take on a cruiserweight like Oleksander Usyk. Had Ward done that, he would be in the same situation that Garcia is in tonight in facing the bigger fighter Spence. No matter how talented a fighter is, they hit a ceiling eventually that they can’t get passed. Mikey is probably going to find out that reality tonight in facing the much bigger Spence. But there’s little chance that Spence is going to get a high a amount of credit for the win to have him pushed to the #1 spot in the pound-for-pound list.