The super fight came and went, and turned out to be not as “super” as optimists had hoped.
Realists won the day, the folks who said, “Dude, weight classes are there for a reason.”
The guys and gals who said that a good big guy beats a good little guy every time had their wisdom play out.
And the people who laid their money down to bet Mikey Garcia because he said he saw something have a that much emptier wallet today.
C’est la vie, mon ami, that’s the fight game. It can look one way, and then you maybe ponder it, mull it over, you see some other angles, re-consider — that’s why it has to play out in the ring, because on paper it is all theoretical.
In the ring, Errol Spence, a good, or maybe “great” bigger guy schooled a good, and not as “great” as some of his backers saw him to be, Mikey Garcia, in a top-notch display of pugilism that edged him up that mythical pound for pound ladder.
Let’s traffic in some of the top takeaways for Spence-Garcia, shall we?
1) ERROL IS AN ACE
Maybe you were on the fence and thought you needed to see him win a super fight, you didn’t have respect for the Spence résumé. Are you now satisfied that the Texan is what he said he is? OK, I hear ya — some of you aren’t. Some of you who said that Mikey is going to be too small for someone that may turn out to be the best boxer the state of Texas has ever boasted (look out, George Foreman) are not sufficiently moved by the wide cards the judges turned in Saturday night at AT&T in Arlington. They will admit Errol is an ace, but will reserve higher judgement until ... when? When Errol fights Pacman? Won’t they then say Manny is too aged? Will they wait until Spence vs Crawford percolates properly? Yep — I think that faceoff will be the one that everyone will be able to agree proves who the best is at 147, if it takes place within a reasonable timeframe. If they wait until 2021, one or two other guys will have nudged themselves into that mix and thus, we maybe won’t have a winner-take-all construct to boast about.
2) GARCIA IS BRAVE BUT...
So Mikey bit off more than he could chew. He said he saw something, but hey, it’s no crime, our own eyes lie to us on a daily basis, most of us. We look and take it in, analyze, and do so through filters that sand off jagged edges. It is the way humans are built, it is necessary to maintain higher functioning. But sometimes that filtering effs with us; it did Mikey. What he thought he saw in Spence against Lamont Peterson wasn’t the truth. And he found that out right quick in Arlington. That Spence hits harder than it looks on a screen. And Mikey had no answers for that, because he is a good little guy who was in with a better bigger guy.
3) TRUST THAT GUT
Tuck this one away for the next super fight the promoters start promoting. Trust your initial gut instinct and don’t engage in that pretzel logic in over-analyzing a bout. You are sage boxing fan, and you watch all the bouts, so you saw that Mikey didn’t blow away Sergey Lipinets at 140. Meaning he is probably best at 135, two classes away from 147. And Lipinets is not headed to Canastota, so when you do your compare and contrasts, rely on history, verifiable. Don’t trust the seller who says, “I saw something.”
Yeah? You saw something that nobody else has seen?
Maybe so. But how about I wait and see if you are right after the fact? How about I don’t take your word for it before?
Unless your name is Sugar Ray Leonard. Then I will tend to believe you.
4) FAMILY MATTERS ARE COMPLICATED
Having dad in your corner, or bro in your corner, it can be beautiful or it can complicate matters. How much did family dynamics and familial pride and ego factor in when Robert Garcia in the last few rounds didn’t throw in that white towel to save his lil’ bro from himself? When the goal shifts from winning to surviving, that is a crucial red line. Because one will allow oneself to be the piñata in order to hear that final bell, and that could well be the sort of punishment that removes a portion of body and soul that cannot be replaced.
Was that the sort of hammering that Mikey took? Time will tell us. But we wonder: looking back, will Robert wish he had more distance from himself and his dad and his bro, and comprehended that his brother had no chance of winning late, and told the ref no más? That may not be apparent now, or next month, or even next year. But if this fight represented a point of decline for Mikey..well, then maybe Robert’s stance shifts.
5) BOXING AIN’T DEAD
And good God, no one really says it is. Yes, it’s a niche and one that is, arguably, not expanding, despite the PBC push to put it on free TV. Almost 50,000 into a stadium to watch a prize fight is evidence of a certain level of popularity, so that’s good news. The less good news: sought after market rates of fighters mean that the asks are so large for this sort of fight that the deal-makers do back of the envelope math, which means they are placed on pay-per-view. And yep, that is a paywall in a world that expects media to be free.
Now, only the insiders know the true numbers. But to me, being a Libra, I like benefits to flow to more of the masses and not gush to a narrow few so much. Would it not have been better for Errol and Mikey to get lower purses, and to place this event on “free” TV? If you are all about expanding the fan base, then the answer is yes.
But, to be honest, this bout wasn’t the sort that would have been a viral phenomenon anyway. Pretty early on, viewers saw how this was playing out and so you wouldn’t have had people on social texting, “Hey, turn on FOX now, there’s an awesome fight one.”
So ratings for this one maybe wouldn’t have been majestic anyway. But all in all, I think that PPV should be a rarity, not a norm, not with the rich financial backers who are in this sphere now.
Those are a few of my thoughts which popped up post-fight. What are yours? Talk to us in the comments section.
Michael Woods is a Brooklyn, NY resident; he is publisher of NYFights.com and calls fight for Facebook Fightnlight Live.