Errol Spence Jr and Mikey Garcia have talked for a while, the fight has been expected to be announced, and today it was. The two will meet for Spence’s IBF welterweight title on March 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on FOX-distributed pay-per-view.
Spence (24-0, 21 KO) is an elite welterweight, a 28-year-old southpaw who has proven himself every bit the fighter he was expected to be as a prospect, both as an amateur and early in his career.
In May 2017, he went to Sheffield, England, and stopped Kell Brook to win the IBF 147-pound title, and has since defended twice, both times in 2018. In January, he beat Lamont Peterson via seventh round stoppage, and in June, he knocked out unprepared mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo in the first round.
Garcia (39-0, 30 KO) will be moving up two weight classes for this fight. The 30-year-old pound-for-pound contender has won world titles at 126, 130, 135, and 140. His win over Sergey Lipinets at junior welterweight was a one-off of sorts, as he went back down lightweight four months later to defeat Robert Easter Jr in a unification bout.
Fan reaction to this fight has been split. Diehard boxing fans seem largely to believe that Spence will simply be too big and strong for Garcia, with due respect to Mikey’s skills, while more casual fans seem excited to see Garcia take a crack at welterweight, “daring to be great” and all that. There are probably perfectly valid viewpoints on both sides of that, to be fair.
But it’s now official, we will be seeing it, and Garcia will either prove that he can handle 147 or not. He’s not taking any easy fight here, going after one of the top dogs in the division.