Lomachenko respects Mikey Garcia for challenging Errol Spence
By Mike Smith: Lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko says he has great respect for Mikey Garcia for his decision to move up two weight classes to challenge IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) for his title this Saturday night, but he wouldn’t make a similar move himself. Lomachenko sees the size of Spence being too much of an obstacle for victory.
(Credit: Mikey Williams /Top Rank)
While Lomachenko thinks theoretically possible for Mikey to pull it off and win, it’s a move that he couldn’t see himself ever attempting. Lomachenko states that Spence ins’t just an average boxer. He’s the best in the welterweight division, and he’s a lot bigger than Mikey in natural size. Mikey bulked up a great deal recently to get his weight somewhat close to Spence, but that still doesn’t make him a welterweight.
“It’s a very big move,” Lomachenko said to Fighthype about Mikey Garcia moving up to welterweight to challenge Errol Spence for his IBF belt. “I respect him. It’s not impossible, but if I was in his place, I never do this move. Spence is NOT just a regular boxer. He’s not like a boxer that just comes in the gym,” Lomachenko said.
The way that Lomachenko is talking, it’s almost as if he’s barely holding back in being critical of Mikey’s efforts in going up two weight divisions to challenge Spence. Some boxing fans say that Mikey is only going up one weight class, because just last year he briefly held the IBF light welterweight title after beating Sergey Lipinets. Mikey didn’t look a 140 pounder in winning that fight, and he fought arguably the worst of the champions at light welterweight in taking that fight. Mikey isn’t a 140 lb fighter. If he was, he wouldn’t have gone after Lipinets. He would have fought the guy that is considered the most talented fighter in the light welterweight division today in Regis Progais. That fighter would be bad news for Mikey, and he was smart not to take him on.
We don’t know what Mikey Garcia’s true intention for taking the fight with Spence is. It’s entirely possible that Mikey is taking the fight just to get fame in losing. Mikey is getting more attention on his career right now than he’s ever gotten in the past. So what if Mikey is probably going to get knocked out. He at least will have casual boxing fans that will know his name after this. They’ll want to pay attention to Mikey’s fights at lightweight after this is over. It’s unlikely that Mikey will go back to 140, because there’s no soft champions for him to beat anymore. He took advantage of the only weak champion that was beatable in Sergey Lipinets.
Lomachenko, 5’7″, fights in the same division as the 5’6″ Mikey at lightweight, and he’s a little bit taller than him. Lomachenko wouldn’t attempt the same move. Spence’s body shots and size would make it a nightmare for Lomachenko to have to deal with his pressure. Spence’s jab would also be a problem for Lomachenko, because he couldn’t move around on the outside like he did in his win over Gary Russell Jr. Spence would be able to still reach him.
“I think it’s his power and pressure,” Lomachenko said in explaining what makes Spence so special. “It’s a different size. It’s not the same,” Lomachenko said in comparing the skills of Mikey compared to Spence. “You’re going up two weight classes. He’s good. He’s the best at his size,” Lomachenko remarking about Spence being the best at welterweight.
Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) will be defending his WBA/WBO lightweight titles next month against the always tough former WBA 135 lb champion Anthony Crolla (34-6-3, 13 KOs) on April 12 on ESPN at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Lomachenko wanted to fight IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey in a unification fight, but he suffered a hand injury, and he couldn’t take the fight.