Rahman Jr: Mikey Garcia might get KO’d in 1st round by Spence
By Sean Jones: Heavyweight prospect Hasim Rahman Jr. doesn’t like Mikey Garcia’s chances of beating IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. this Saturday night in their fight on Fox Sports pay-per-view from the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Rahman surprisingly believes that Spence has better boxing skills than Garcia. The standard believe is that Mikey has the better boxing skills and ring IQ, but Spence Jr. is the bigger, stronger and younger fighter. That’s not the way Rahman Jr. sees it. He feels that Spence is the better boxer with more skills AND the bigger and stronger guy, which is why he thinks this fight could be over with as early as the first round on Saturday. It could be a total rout/massacre in favor of Spence.
Rahman Jr., who has seen a lot of Spence from earlier amateur days, says there’s a possibility that he’ll knockout four division world champion Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) as early as the first round this Saturday night on March 16. Rahman Jr. witnessed Spence’s sparring with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the past, and he’s seen him dominate in tournaments at the amateur level by boxing and slugging.
Rahman Jr. believes that Spence, 5’9 1/2″, can use his size to box from the outside or walk Mikey down to knock him out if he chooses to. In Rahman Jr’s view, this fight is all Spence. He doesn’t rule out Mikey pulling off a surprise if he can do something that the fans least expect like going straight at Spence the way that Saul Canelo Alvarez did in his rematch with Gennady Golovkin last September, but he’s not counting on that happening.
“Errol is too big, too strong, and he’s probably got better experience than more experience,” said Hasim Rahman Jr. to Fighthype in giving his analysis of this Saturday’s fight between Spence and Garcia. “I got Spence by knockout. I don’t think Mikey is going to be able to take the heat for 12 rounds. Mikey might get knocked out in the first round,” Rahman Jr. said.
A first round knockout win for IBF welterweight champion Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) over Garcia would be a shocker. The fans pretty much see this fight as one that ends with the much bigger, stronger and younger Spence winning by a knockout, but few are predicting that he’ll do in the first round. Rahman Jr. has seen a lot of Spence Jr. from the early days, and he knows that he has the talent to turn up the heat to blast Mikey out in the first round. Spence is coming off of a first round knockout victory over Carlos Ocampo last June. The 23-year-old Ocampo, 5’10 1/2″, is a lot bigger fighter than the 5’6″ Mikey, and he’s probably a bigger puncher than him as well due to his natural size. Spence treated Ocampo like a speed bump in going after him at the opening bell, driving him across the ring to the ropes where he bludgeoned him with body shots until he dropped. The power that Spence Jr. showed in stopping Ocampo makes it easy to picture him doing the exact same thing to the much smaller 5’6″ Garcia. It’s going to up to Mikey to try and keep Spence from bum rushing him in the same way, because if he can do that to him on Saturday night, it’s going to end badly for him. Mikey is a little shorter than former Spence victim Leonard Bundu, 5’6 1/2″, and Errol toyed with that fighter for the first five rounds before stopping him in the sixth in their fight in 2016.
“I ain’t going to lie. I’m not going to say he don’t have a shot,” Rahman Jr. said about Mikey. “This is boxing. This is a home fight for Errol. This is Dallas. If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on Errol by knockout,” Rahman Jr. said in giving his prediction of the Spence-Garcia fight on FOX Sport pay-per-view.
Spence’s size and power advantage along with him being a southpaw is going to make it awfully tough for Mikey, 31, to compete in this fight. The fight is also taking place in Spence’s home state in Texas, and he’ll a lot of his loyal boxing fans at ringside rooting him on. Mikey will have a lot of fans too, but probably not nearly as many as Spence. Rahman Jr. points out that the crowd doesn’t matter. Spence has fought plenty of times in hostile territory in going into his opponent’s home turf and beating them.
“I don’t think Mikey Garcia would have been a dominant force in the U.S amateur program. I don’t think his boxing would have allowed him to make it to the top like Errol did,” Rahman Jr. said. “I just think Errol is a better all around fighter. Much props to Mikey for going up to fight Errol, but I don’t think it’s going to be all that competitive. I think Errol is top #3 pound-for-pound right now. He can stand on the outside and box.”
Mikey’s habit of loading up on single shots probably would have made him incapable of competing at the amateur level the way Spence Jr. did. But as a pro, Mikey has done well in winning division world titles at featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and light welterweight. With that said, Mikey hasn’t always fought the best in winning those division titles. Instead of going after Terence Crawford for a title at 140, Mikey fought former IBF light welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets for his belt. Some boxing fans think Mikey has been a cherry picker when it comes to him winning world titles. You can’t say that he’s doing that in challenging Spence for his IBF 147 lb belt. This is a respectable move on Mikey’s part in going after the best fighter at welterweight to try and take his belt.
“Errol can outbox Mikey Garcia. He don’t have to walk him down to beat him,” Rahman Jr. said. “He don’t have to do that. He can outbox the man. I think on March 16, he’s going to prove it.”
While it’s possibly true that Spence Jr. can use his size to outbox the smaller Mikey on Saturday, it’s unlikely that he’s going to attempt to do that. Spence won’t get any credit from the boxing fans if he stays on the outside and jabs Mikey all night long. It’ll look odd in the eyes of the fans if Spence fights that kind of fight against a guy that is two divisions below him in size. Spence Jr. has got to realize that too. He can’t just stand back and use his size to win a dull 12 round unanimous decision. There’s too much pressure on Spence to go out there and obliterate Garcia as fast as he can. The fight is on FOX Sports PPV. This is Spence’s coming out party. If he fights in a boring safety first manner in defeating a guy much smaller than him in Garcia, he’s going to be heavily criticized by the boxing public afterwards. As such, there’s a lot of pressure on Spence on Saturday to not only beat Mikey, but to do it in an impressive, decisive fashion. Spence cannot afford to let the fight go to the scorecards, and have the judges be the ones that determine the winner and loser of this fight. As we’ve seen repeatedly in recent fights involving two of the biggest stars in boxing in Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, the judging is unreliable. Spence has to take the judges out of play by making sure he puts an exclamation point on his win on Saturday. It’ll be a moral victory for Mikey if he can go 12 rounds and lose by just a decision.
“I did see Errol Spence spar Floyd [Mayweather Jr.]. You see where Errol is at right now,” Rahman Jr. said. “If it was the other way around [Mayweather getting the better of Spence in sparring], it wouldn’t have been no story. It would have been like everyone else. Everything that happens in the gym stays in the gym, but you can read between the lines,” Rahman Jr. said.
The sparring between Mayweather Jr. and Spence took place many years ago in 2012. Spence is said to have given an out of shape Mayweather a lot of problems during the sparring session with his punching power and pressure that he put on him.
“I just think Errol is much better,” Rahman Jr. said “If Mikey is getting B’s with everything, Errol is getting A’s on everything or A-minuses. I think the best fighters at 147 is Errol Spence and Shawn Porter. Obviously, T-Bud [Terence Crawford] is in the conversation too, but stylistically, I think the best fight would be Errol Spence and Shawn Porter. That’s going to be a fireworks show,” Rahman Jr. said.
If Spence really does turn out to be the superior boxer on Saturday, then it’s going to be up to Mikey to try and adapt going after him to see if he can knock him out. Mikey can’t allow Spence to box him from the outside all night long, because he won’t be able to reach him with his shorter power punches. Like Canelo Alvarez, Mikey’s best shots are his hooks, which are short punches. Mikey’s power dissipates when he throws long shots.