On Saturday night, one of the biggest fights of 2019 will take place.
A bout between two of boxing’s pound-for-pound best, reigning IBF Welterweight champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. is set to put his 147-pound title on the line against WBC Lightweight champion Mikey Garcia, who will be moving up two weight classes for the contest.
The fight is set to headline a PBC on Fox Pay-Per-View card from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Dating back to his days representing the United States in the 2012 Olympics, Spence Jr. was thought to have a bright future in the sport of boxing and thus far, that idea has come true. At just 29 years old, the Long Island-born boxer holds a perfect 24-0 professional record with 21 of those victories coming by way of T/KO.
Holding notable victories over the likes of Chris Algieri, Kell Brook and Lamont Peterson, Spence Jr. has twice defended his Welterweight title and will be looking to make the third defense of it against Garcia.
In terms of his style and skill set, Spence Jr. is not only considered to be amongst the world’s pound-for-pound best boxers, but many feel as if he could very well be the best Welterweight on the planet.
A well-rounded and dynamic boxer, Spence Jr. typically fights out of the southpaw stance. He’s a tremendous athlete with high-level speed and footwork, a strong jab and fight-ending power in both hands. He also mixes up his punches incredibly well and attacks the body in a lethal way.
Moving onto Garcia, the Mexican-American fighter is also considered to be amongst the sport’s best and he’s gained his recognition and respect by consistently moving up in weight to chase gold. Already a four-division champion, Garcia holds a 39-0 professional record with 30 of those victories coming by way of T/KO.
He holds notable victories over Orlando Salido, Roman Martinez, Adrien Broner, Sergey Lipinets and Robert Easter Jr.
Known more as a boxer-puncher, the more experienced Garcia is an incredibly intelligent, technical and fundamentally-sound boxer. He has a strong jab and puts his punches together well, yet he’s also patient and accurate with his attack. In addition, he’s shown respectable power through multiple weight classes, though it’s unclear how well his power will follow him to 147 pounds.
When it comes down to predicting the outcome of this fight, the weight class its taking place at is undoubtedly the topic of discussion.
Both men are obviously highly-skilled boxers. There’s no question that Garcia has the ability to compete with a fighter of Spence Jr.’s caliber–some may even argue that he’s the more technically skilled boxer–but there’s no denying that Spence Jr. is the much larger man.
Standing 5’10” tall and owning a 72 inch reach, Spence Jr. will be the much taller and longer fighter as opposed to Garcia, who stands just 5’6″ tall and owns a 68 inch reach.
In addition, Spence Jr. is a legitimate Welterweight who has competed at 152 pounds in the past. And while it’s fair to argue that Garcia’s skills have transcended multiple weight classes, it’s also true that he’s never competed at Welterweight before and has spent the majority of his career competing under 135 pounds.
Ultimately, there’s no denying that Garcia is a world-class fighter. The courage he’s putting on display here is admirable and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him find some success early on in the bout. But, I feel as if jumping up two weight classes to take on a fighter like Spence Jr. will simply be too much.
I expect Spence Jr. to use his jab and his varied attack in addition to his size advantage to put the pressure on Garcia and land the more significant blows on his way to a unanimous decision victory or perhaps a late stoppage.