Editorials

Is Errol Spence vs. Mikey Garcia Good for Boxing?

Porfirio Barron Jr./RBRBoxing

When will decides to confront reason, an interest for the outcome is automatically conceived… and just like that, imagination is captured—for it’s that interest seeking results, that will always be amused until the day it finally meets the “truth”…(pun intended).

I believe this formula is best exercised through the boxing metaphor, and I will utilize this formula as a vehicle to explain the reason why I believe Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia is not only good for boxing, but why this fight is so important to the integrity of the sport. It serves as a reminder to the current and future generations of the sport, of what it takes to be great.

Imagination, curiosity, interest and demand—in that order–is the formula that boxing has applied to entice its sophisticated audience through a reminder of our still very relevant primitive drives.

The different factors that go into the formula determine the level of interest in a fight and it’s caliber. When the odds are stacked against a fighter, like Vanes Martirosyan vs. Gennady Golovkin, the interest is scarce and limited due to an inference to the best explanation, an easy prediction that doesn’t require much thinking.

When the formula involves two seemingly equals, like Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder, for example, the interest in the fight expands because the public prediction is split right down the middle, 50/50, and the demand for boxing increases reinforcing its relevance… a good thing for boxing.

But every once in a while, there are those rare factors that rarely meet, who ultimately go on to fill in the void of their generation and represent their current state of boxing. Factors that far exceed rationality, factors that successfully capture the imagination–factors like Errol Spence and Mickey Garcia.

These rare fighting events (or matchups), go on to be recognized as mega fights. Since the “Fight of the Century” between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, mega fights are what the boxing public demands, and this Saturday, boxing will once again welcome its audience to find yet another answer we have all been waiting for.

Mickey Garcia, moving up two weight divisions to fight Errol Spence, a feared and avoided champion in his own weight division, is definitely good for boxing because the bravery and confidence in fighters nowadays seem to be foreign an alien. Garcia’s will to be great is reminding the current fighters of the standard a champion needs to follow in order to secure and emphasize their legacy as an all-time great. An old reminder; “If there’s no risk, there’s no glory.”

My imagination was captured when I first heard of the fight. The risks at stake for Garcia are huge, but the risks he’s taking will be the ultimate reward in his career. To use a word being loosely thrown around, a victory over Spence will grant Garcia “immortality.”

Garcia is following the giant footsteps that have been laid by memorable champions, and the standard Garcia is exercising is an example of a man daring to be great, again. All my praise goes to Garcia, he meets the Tao teachings of Lao Tzu: “The best athlete wants his opponent at his best.” And to speak on Garcia’s will: “When opposing forces are engaged in conflict, the one who fights with sorrow will triumph.” This factor is the reason why this fight is so intriguing.

Spence has so much at stake also, and is the man with more to lose, although, in my opinion, Spence will dominate Garcia. I don’t see the fight pass six rounds because of how confident Spence is in his abilities and skills.

This can also be the reason why he may seem to be overlooking Garcia’s determination, so Spence has to be as methodical as Garcia, otherwise, to quote again from the Tao Te Ching: “There is no greater misfortune than underestimating your opponent. To underestimate your opponent is to forsake your three treasures.”

But in the end, two fighters willing to put their perfect records at stake will sure bring out the best of each other’s abilities come Saturday night.

Furthermore, something about Garcia caught my attention during Wednesday’s final press conference, something that made me reaffirm the foundation of my prediction. With my imagination already captured, I imagined the face-off taking place on the street or in a park. Two kids from the hood, champions of the street, rumor of their city, hours away from finally facing each other.

On the left side stands Errol Spence, looking down on Garcia’s gaze, confident in his preparation and determined by his belief of already being the best in the world, looks dead into Garcia’s eyes. Ready. On the left stands Garcia, brought there by his fighting fate. Uncertain whether to look ahead of him and engage in the stare-down, or steer his eyes away from Spence’s— he didn’t look too confident.

The point of no return has been left far behind and Garcia has no other option than to honor his fighters code with dignity and give his all. If he wins, that’s a plus, but for him, having faced an opponent like Spence, and surviving to tell the tale, is the real victory, the kind of victory he’s there for…the kind of victory that will always find him victorious.

Then, when both men turned around to face the cameras after their face-off, Spence looks at the audience, expressionless, ready, and solid like a rock. Garcia, on the other hand, seemed to have digested the reality of the situation he found himself in and the impact of the danger ahead of him became evident in his expression, full of doubt as he halfheartedly smiled at the cameras.

Seeing the face-off through the lens of my imagination, in the street setting, I concluded that Spence will be the clear winner based on face value.

Spence will more than likely dominate Garcia, especially if Garcia’s idea of successful determination lies on the hope of summoning hidden aggression that he believes will surmount through to a victory.

This clash of will vs. skill, sparks interest because the limits of the will are unknown…and the unknown reward that dwells in the abyss of the will, is monolithic and far more rewarding in the instances in which it prevails.

So all in all, this type of excitement is what keeps people returning to the sport, and it raises the bar for future competitors to perform in a similar setting if of course, they dare to be great.

Again, its bouts like these that go on to demonstrate boxings essence, and the more fights like these we get, the less likely will people trade boxing for MMA. With that being said, yes, Spence vs. Garcia is definitely good for boxing.

“The ageless rivalry of thought propels the kind of actions that force a man to bring about the best of their ability and reveal the true essence of their character and that of his opponents—and in the realm where such fights exist, both men step into the ring already as ‘winners.’”

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