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Spence MUST fight Canelo Alvarez says Mikey’s fans

Andre Ward Canelo Alvarez Errol Spence Jr Mikey Garcia

By Dan Ambrose: Since beating Mikey Garcia by a 12 round decision this month on March 16 in Arlington, Texas, Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs) says he’s getting a lot of Mikey’s fans telling him that he must move up two weight divisions to fight WBA/WBC middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez. They want to see Spence at the same disadvantage Mikey was at in fighting someone two divisions above his natural weight.

Thus far, Spence isn’t biting at the requests from Mikey’s fans. He says that the only reason he fought Mikey was because he called him out. Spence accepted the challenge, and Mikey then moved up two weight classes and was badly humbled by him in front of a massive crowd at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and on Fox Sports PPV.

A lot of Mikey’s fans are understandably unhappy at seeing him lose to Spence, but it was always going to be a near impossible task for him. No one should be surprised at the outcome. If Spence does move up and fight Canelo, it wont’t change what happened to Mikey. Canelo can’t be the one that avenges Mikey’s losses. Canelo likely wouldn’t want to slip into the roll of Mikey’s avenger each time he loses. Some of Mikey’s fans sound like they just want to see Spence lose to someone, anyone, just to take the sting out of his loss. Unfortunately, even if Spence lose to someone else, it won’t help Mikey. He still lost and was exposed in terms of his boxing ability or lack thereof. Spence gave Mikey a huge handicap by choosing to box him rather than bully him, and he STILL lost. Spence showed in that fight that Mikey only has rudimentary boxing skills. He possesses some power, but his skills were shown to be woefully inadequate against a fighter with Olympic experience.

“Mikey’s fans want me to fight Canelo now,” Spence said in laughing.

It’s not the end of Mikey’s career just because he lost to Spence. Garcia, 31, is still young enough to move back down to lightweight and look to take on the lions in that weight class. Vasiliy Lomachenko, Teofimo Lopez and Luke Campbell are all waiting for Mikey to return to the 135 lb division so they can fight him. Mikey can redeem himself by beating those guys to make the boxing public forget about his humbling at the hands of Errol last month on Marc 16. It was simply never meant to be. When a fighter asks his body to do things that it’s not capable of doing, you end up seeing the outcome that the boxing world witnessed in the Spence vs. Garcia fight. The same thing likely would have happened if Mikey had targeted welterweight champions Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao or Terence Crawford. The difference is, those guys wouldn’t have held back and just boxed Mikey like Spence did. They would have went after Mikey and looked to starch him and leave him on the canvas. For all intents and purposes, Mikey is lucky he fought Spence, because he pretty much took it easy on him for 11 of the 12 rounds by boxing him instead of looking to take his head off the way, Thurman, Crawford, Porter and Pacquiao would have done.

Spence, 29, doesn’t have to fight Canelo. He’s going to stay where he’s at and look to unify the welterweight division by beating Shawn Porter [WBC champ], Manny Pacquiao [WBA ‘regular’ champ], Keith Thurman [WBA Super champion] and Terence Crawford [WBO champ]. It’s going to take some time for Spence to beat all those fighters, especially if some of them drag their feet and delay fighting him for as long as possible.

“I’m wondering why everybody is surprised?” Andre Ward said to Fighthype about the results of the Spence vs. Garcia fight. “I like Mikey. I appreciate the risk he was taking, but come now, man. The corner could have stopped it, because he took a lot of punishment. You’ve got to tip your hat to him for not quitting. You’ve got to tip your hat to him for going the full 12 rounds, but he took some damage. there’s no way about that. I don’t believe in moral victories in boxing; maybe in life, but not not in boxing. He lost, you know? There’s nothing to hang your head about, but in that contract, your minimum, it lowers, the promoter, manager or whatever; they can lower your minimum off a loss. So when that kind of stuff is going on, it’s not a moral victory. They going to come to him and say, ‘Great fight. I appreciate it, but we can’t pay you that minimum in the next fight,'” Ward said.

Ward is right about Mikey not having gained anything from losing to Spence. That was certainly no moral victory for Mikey. He didn’t perform well enough for him to get a moral victory, and to increase his popularity to the extent where boxing fans will be chomping at the bit to see his next fight. If anything, the way that Mikey appeared to be just looking to survive for 12 rounds rather than trying to win the fight, it’s going to hurt his popularity. If Mikey had knocked Spence down a couple of times, and come close to beating him, then a lot of people in the boxing world would be interested in seeing him again. We didn’t see that though. What Mikey showed was a fighter that was hiding behind his guard, playing defense most of the fight, and only rarely throwing anything of substance.

“I look at Errol the same way I did before this,” Ward said. “People look at the low hanging fruit. He [Spence] didn’t knock him out. Okay, but he threw 1,000 punches. I saw him out-punch and outsmart a small skillful fighter. They praised Mikey for his ring IQ, right? They never really gave Errol Spence credit for his IQ. He showed it in a different way. So if I’m looking at this objectively, I’m like, ‘I don’t know why he didn’t stop him, but he showed me a different way. He showed me another wrinkle. So if I’m a coach and I can potentially fight that dude one day, I’m writing that down. 1,000 punches. He didn’t come in there as a bully. There were times where he bullied Mikey. He did everything. He did what he was supposed to do. Spence did what he was supposed to do,” Ward said.

Mikey’s fans might eventually get their way with Spence moving up to middleweight or at least junior middleweight to take on Canelo in the future, but only after he unifies the welterweight division. It might not work out well for Canelo against Spence. We saw Canelo get out-boxed by Gennady Golovkin in their first fight, and he probably would have been out-boxed in the second contest if GGG hadn’t stood in front of him and slugged when he came forward. Spence is more than capable of out-boxing Canelo in the same way that he did Mikey. Spence wouldn’t make the same mistakes that GGG did against Canelo. Spence would make adjustments once he sees Canelo showing him something that he didn’t expect. Golovkin looked like he failed to make the needed adjustments against Canelo in the second fight when he showed him a different look by coming forward the entire 12 round bout, looking to slug. Spence would use his reach to hammer Canelo with jabs if he tried to walk him down the way that he did GGG. It might end badly for Canelo. If Spence were to beat Canelo too, it would be interesting to see who Mikey’s boxing fans would want Spence to fight next. Perhaps light heavyweight Dmitry Bivol?

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