SAN ANTONIO — Unbeaten in 39 fights with 30 knockouts, the brilliance and greatness of Mikey Garcia as World Boxing Council (WBC) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight champion is never in doubt.
He is a skilled technician with power in both hands.
But being a bull at 135 pounds doesn’t necessarily mean having the same potency at 147 pounds.
Twelve pounds doesn’t seem much but in boxing that’s a lot.
Jumping one division up is one thing, doing it twice over is quite another story.
True, the legendary Manny Pacquiao conquered eight divisions on the way to history, but the Filipino whirlwind accomplished the feat over the course of 23 years as a pro.
It was a slow and deliberate climb.
Garcia, on the other hand, has opted a fast and furious route. No test fight or warm-up against an inferior opponent.
Why too soon?
Only he knows but his brother and trainer Robert Garcia offered this titbit to SB Nation:
“He wouldn’t change his mind. He wanted to fight the best welterweight out there.”
Which brings us to the mega fight this March 16 at the AT&T Center in Arlington, Texas where Garcia will challenge Errol Spence for the latter’s IBF welterweight crown.
As of today, the betting odds are heavily stacked against Garcia, a plus 256 underdog.
Spence is a minus 370 favorite while a draw plays handsomely at plus 2600.
Odds makers are almost always right, this one included.
Here’s why Spence will plow through Garcia.
The 5-foot-9 1/2 American from DeSoto, Texas enjoys a three-and-a-half-inch advantage over Garcia.
Spence also has four-inch reach advantage and is three years younger at 28.
Garcia’s last outing was a rugged 12-round decision over Robert Easter last July 28 at Staples Center while Spence’s last bout was a one-round demolition of Carlos Ocampo on June 6, 2018 at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Teaxas.
Garcia’s defense is solid, his chin is close to granite.
Whether he can carry his power from 135 to 147 remains to be seen but the most telling factor here is whether Garcia can take a punch from a naturally bigger guy who is a southpaw and can punch like a mule as manifested in his 24-0 record with 21 stoppages.
It is noble, and perhaps recklessly brave, for Garcia to try to test the limits of his power.
But as they say, be careful watch you wish for.