It will be one of the very most anticipated fights of the year in boxing 2019.
Ascendant ass-kicker Errol Spence, part of the new cabal of Texas-based pugilists, versus Mikey Garcia, pound-for-pounder who’s making what many pundits are thinking is a bold but too brave leap to a territory unsuited for his frame, not his heart.
Spence is settled at 147, and in fact, has been making more noise this year about desiring the best and brightest in that weight class to visit him, and settle the chatter, about who is The Man at ’47.
Garcia, age 31, is undefeated at 39-0, but hasn’t fought past 140; in that latest instance, against Sergey Lipinets, he was rock solid, but not as stellar as we’d seen at other weights.
The 28-year-old Spence, at 24-0, will try and rudely welcome the Cali boxer to a place he’s not suited for, at a venue — AT&T Stadium — which is on Spence’s home turf.
Team Garcia disagrees, and says that we will see for ourselves on March 16, on a FOX PPV affair, that his skills set will translate quite nicely to this division.
Part of the process to prove that will be a training regimen featuring strength and conditioning consultant Victor Conte. That’s the Bay Area (ex) bad boy, who paid a debt to society for being a lead dog driver in the manufacture and dissemination of ultra-potent chemical supplements which aided in muscle building and stamina promotion — but which landed on the wrong side of the law and order set.
Today, he’s on the up-and-up, and runs a supplement business, SNAC, while sharing his expertise on using legal concoctions to aid the body revving on all cylinders at top speeds. Conte is working for the first time with Garcia on site, and he sent a pic featuring him, Mikey and some of the other SNACers.
“Second day of Mickey Garcia’s training camp at SNAC (Scientific Nutrition For Advanced Conditioning) in San Carlos, CA” is how he titled the pic when he sent it to me, with a PS “HowYaLikeIt?”
So, people look happy in the snapshot.
How was day one, I asked Conte. “Day one was good, too! We did hypoxic sprint training in the gym yesterday and beach and hill training today. We are off to a great start! MIKEY LIKES IT!”
He shared with us that him and Garcia have a history: “I have been routinely blood testing Mikey and providing him with an individualized supplementation program for more than three years. However this is the first time he has actually come to SNAC to hold his training camp. We have a team of trainers, coaches, and therapists at the SNAC facility.”
I touched base with Conte earlier in the week, when his name popped up as the Charlo twins discussed the expulsion from the main event of Willie Monroe, who was slated to meet Jermall Charlo at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and on FOX.
Monroe tested positive for excess testosterone in a test conducted by VADA; the Charlos both raked him over the coals for that offense during a Wednesday media meet-and-greet at the famed and fabled Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. The SNAC shop was slammed and Conte referred to derogatorily.
Conte told me that no, Monroe wasn’t in the SNAC shop while working to get ready for Jermall. “He was in New York,” Conte explained. “We are in training camp with Mikey. We are getting ready to rumble.”
So the reference by Jermall Charlo to Conte, and framing him as a bad actor can now be more readily explained. Conte months ago told me he wanted to work with Mikey but put in his two cents regarding testing for the Spence vs Garcia bout, then being discussed. Testing, he said, must be done by VADA, the testing outfit he’s been aligned with, and one he states is the “gold standard” in that realm. The testing issue arose when the Charlos were zinged by the WBC, for missing a scheduled PED test as part of their inclusion in the Clean Boxing Program, and again when Monroe’s red flag situation flared.
And as we look toward the new year in boxing, one of the central issues facing the sport is how seriously all corners of the manly art’s punch for pay set will take the testing issue. Will more A-grade boxers be proponents of year-round testing? Or will we stay stuck in a middle ground quagmire, with not enough voices of integrity pushing frequent and stringent testing, so all combatants can know they are working on a level playing field?
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