It’s been way too long, but Round By Round Boxing‘s Head-to-Head Discussions are officially back!
It’d be remiss of us not to shout out the semi-retired (or maybe fully retired?) boxing scribe Lou Catalano, who alongside RBRBoxing‘s Editor-in-Chief Alex Burgos launched the head-to-head idea after they met writing for Bleacher Report.
The head-to-head series is pretty straight forward and is basically just a fun way to argue. Two writers break down a fight with two keys to victory for their given fighter of choice.
What better way to make a return than to take on the highly-anticipated fight between Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia.
In Spence Jr.’s corner we have the aforementioned Burgos, while Staff Writer Hans Themistode throws it down for Garcia.
Before the two undefeated combatants actually step into the ring on Saturday night, RBRBoxing‘s Alex Burgos and Hans Themistode go head to head and break down two keys to victory for each fighter.
Read on for the keys to victory and let us know who you think will win this Welterweight clash.
Key No. 1 for Mikey Garcia
Don’t Be A Hero
BY HANS THEMISTODE
I know we’ve all heard the reports and seen the videos of Mikey Garcia training at the SNAC facilities. From the outside looking in, it seems as though he has increased his muscle mass.
Garcia has never been a big guy by any stretch of the imagination, but for his contest against Errol Spence Jr. he knew he needed to change. In 39 professional fights, Garcia has taken out 30 of his opponents inside the distance. His power is more than respectable.
The Welterweight division and Errol Spence Jr. are a different beast entirely.
The need to build muscle mass is evident. Going up essentially two weight divisions and challenging the hardest hitter in said division is a tall order. It isn’t just that Spence Jr. has demoralizing power, but it’s also that he is huge for the division. Spence Jr. has the build of a Middleweight. Seeing him compete at that weight class one day would shock no one.
From all accounts, Garcia looks good. With his natural power and training that he has put forth in the SNAC facilities he should be able to get Spence Jr.’s respect, but please Mikey, don’t be a hero.
With his new found strength he could be looking for the knockout. That would be the wrong decision to make. Spence Jr. wants to turn this into a war. He understands that he has the size advantage and would welcome a fire fight.
What Garcia should do is stay on the outside and box. There are times where he should stand his ground, but those moments should be few and far between. Use the jab, create angles and box your way to a unanimous-decision victory.
Key No. 1 for Errol Spence Jr.
Don’t Get Cute
BY ALEX BURGOS
Errol Spence Jr. needs to be himself. Seem like an obvious key to victory? Well, how many times have we seen fighters look completely different when they’re in against another top-flight fighter. Too many times.
The Truth, the guy that many people think is the best Welterweight and will annihilate Mikey Garcia, is the one who needs to show up on Saturday night.
That version of Spence Jr. won’t be gun shy early on. He won’t stand in the pocket and simply feint or reset. He won’t be pushed back or be made to fight a fight that doesn’t benefit him. Those are all things that could happen, and if they do then Garcia will be in a great position to box 12 rounds and win a decision.
Spence Jr. must show the same confidence and style that he has against the likes of Kell Brook, Lamont Peterson and most recently Carlos Ocampo.
The point here is don’t get cute and try to become someone else. Be Errol Spence Jr. Be The Truth. There’s more than enough in that guys arsenal to defeat Mikey Garcia.
Key No. 2 for Mikey Garcia
Be Explosive And Accurate
BY HANS THEMISTODE
Mikey Garcia normally wins his fights with power and accuracy. He’s never been the fastest fighter, but in this matchup he holds the edge in that department as well over Errol Spence Jr.
Garcia needs to be first. Show Spence Jr. that there is a difference in hand speed. If he sits back and allows Spence Jr. to take the lead it’ll be a short night. Garcia also needs to be accurate with his shots, which shouldn’t be a problem. The four-division champion is extremely precise with his punches. Spence Jr. might try to outwork his smaller opponent, but that game plan will fall apart if Garcia is landing the cleaner and more effective blows.
Speed and accuracy shouldn’t be a problem for Garcia, but being his normal explosive self might be. Garcia has never campaigned in the 147-pound division. Sure he did win a title in the 140-pound division, but he only fought there one time in his career. His power needs to translate in his new division if he wants to compete with Spence Jr. No one expects him to be the stronger fighter, but he must gain Spence Jr.’s respect quickly or else he will be hunted down all night long.
The game plan seems simple but executing it is another thing. If Garcia can successfully land the cleaner shots, showcase his speed and prove that he still has plenty of pop in his fists then that will lead to an upset victory in the favor of Garcia.
Key No. 2 for Errol Spence Jr.
Work the Body
BY ALEX BURGOS
Errol Spence Jr. is a murderous body puncher. It’s the reason many folks–including myself–think Spence Jr. would fold Keith Thurman.
Mikey Garcia’s brother and trainer, Robert Garcia, famously said (before the Robert Easter fight) that Mikey doesn’t do sit-ups, and by the looks of his physique, no one has any reason to doubt that. For this fight though, Garcia teamed up with Victor Conte and the SNAC squad. Whether that adds to his punching power, ability to take a punch and stamina remains to be seen.
Regardless of if SNAC’s Kool-Aid gives Garcia any special powers, I’d make him prove that he can take it downstairs by working the body early and often.
The best way to welcome Garcia to the Welterweight division is by making him feel the pressure and tapping him to the body with straight lefts and hooks. Spence Jr. uses the straight to the body not only to measure his opponents but to hurt them. Once Spence Jr. gets on the inside, a place Mikey Garcia definitely doesn’t want to be, Spence Jr. should explode with hooks and look to break Garcia down.
As Chris Algieri, Kell Brook, Lamont Peterson, Carlos Ocampo and countless others eventually realized, Spence Jr. is not a fad or a gimmick–he’s The Truth.
Who do you agree with? Who will win Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia on Saturday, March 16, 2019? Drop a comment with your keys to victory.