Hit your recall button and go back to before Thanksgiving of 2018.
They were going to make an Errol Spence Jr vs Mikey Garcia fight.
’Member? Yeah, before you ate that dry-ass turkey at Aunt Gertrude’s house, you read that the 135-pound ace Garcia, who’d tried his hand at junior welter to decent but not Hall of Fame-level effect, would fight jumbo welter Spence.
“Well, that’s a suicide mission,” oh so many opined.
What’s the matter matter, Mikey, you feeling like biting off more than you can chew for the hell of it. Or are you trying to prove some strange machismo point?
Hit that fast forward button to today and do a compare and contrast.
Not as many folks calling this Saturday’s clash a Mikey kamikaze run, are there?
There are a couple things in play with that change of tune.
One is, promoters promote and the main thrust they try to hit upon is this: this is a coin flip fight. Anyone can win. And because of that uncertainty, you must tune in, because there will be drama. You have to satisfy your curiosity whether, in this case, Goliath will get taken down again.
And then, also, this: the mind in many cases wants things to be “even,” to be “fair,” and you the consumer want to be in on the action, so you will bend over half backwards now and again to convince yourself that it is how they say it is.
You want to align with the smarts, or at least not be glaringly wrong. So rather than being that bold person who stands by their call that Spence will blow out Mikey, or that Spence (24-0, 21 KO) isn’t all that he’s been touted to be and Mikey will show that, you stand in the center.
Well, it could go either way. Both are superb technicians, both have outsized skill sets.
“I see a 7-5 fight,” is what I’ve been telling people. And maybe part of me likes that middle ground, because it is a safe zone, because if either guy wins 7-5 then at worst I don’t look too stupid.
Then again, I do think a large part of this shift we’ve seen, with more folks thinking Mikey has a good chance to win, occurs because of material like this, where ESPN’s Steve Kim chatted at length with the 39-0 (30 KO) Mikey, and delved into why he took this fight.
Kim admitted that right off the bat, he thought Mikey was a bit loco taking on Spence. Garcia told Kim that he was watching Spence versus Lamont Peterso, and Garcia saw size and strength and all that, but “that didn’t really impress me to keep away. I saw little things.. Let’s go after this guy. I’m a fighter, I see things differently than you, we have the ability to see things the average person can’t really see.”
He told his brother Robert about the holes he saw, and Robert, initially a doubter, came around to accepting the challenge, comprehending that maybe the bogeyman isn’t invincible to someone not perfectly suited, on paper, for that weight class.
Mikey said to Kim that he still senses that most everyone thinks Spence is too big, but he is noting that some folks are thinking “maybe (Mikey) does have a chance, maybe his skill level is there.”
“I have always felt very confident in this fight,” Garcia told Kim.
Many of us saw Mikey not looking like an all-time all-star as he stepped up against 140-pounder Sergey Lipinets, and Garcia said that he wasn’t put off by a clash with the Texas-based welter because the fight with Lipinets was close.
He said he saw things. He saw holes.
In that fight versus Peterson, he saw Lamont get whacked around bad in round five, saw Peterson fighting back and trading in that frame. Mikey saw the knockdown, that left hook that sent Peterson to the mat. He saw the Peterson corner pull the plug after seven rounds, pleading out and saving their man a trip to the chair. But, like Garcia told Kim, he didn’t see what we all did in that Jan. 20, 2018 clash.
Are his eyes liars? Is he looking through a filter that warps or blinds? Or is his assessment of his talent spot on, and is his analysis of Spence better than 95% of people who’ve weighed in?
So, all that remains, after both men make weight, is the put-up time. Talk ends, and conjecture is silenced. We get to the proof.
One final point: consider the possibility that Garcia did see things to exploit. If he does beat Spence, get ready for another natural reaction that is even more prevalent now in the age of social media. You might well hear a bunch of, “Well, Spence isn’t as good as he was hyped up to be,” as Spence backers take it personally that “their” guy got out-worked by a better technician.
Readers, who do you like, David or Goliath? Or do you believe that in this case, that analogy doesn’t fit, because you think Garcia isn’t armed with a mere slingshot, that his skill set will be more than adequate against the big gunner Spence?
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