Mikey Garcia wants to make history, and that’s why he’s taking the risk against Errol Spence Jr.
Mikey Garcia has won titles in four weight classes, and next Saturday he goes for a fifth, facing IBF welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr in the FOX pay-per-view main event from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Garcia (39-0, 30 KO) has fought a few times at 140 pounds, including a win over Adrien Broner and a world title win over Sergey Lipinets, but the move to 147 is seen as particularly dangerous for him, especially because he’s not just facing some tune-up opponent, or even some average contender type. He’s taking on an unbeaten, powerful, very skilled young fighter in Spence (24-0, 21 KO), who has his supporters in his case for being the world’s best welterweight at the moment.
Garcia sat down with Kate Abdo, Keith Thurman, and Abner Mares on Inside PBC Boxing to discuss the fight, and here’s what he had to say:
“I’m happy, I’m excited. We’re now just a few days away from the fight. It’s what I wanted.”
“It’s been a little different, a little more (promotional) work than the usual. Even training camp was a little more strenuous than the usual. But we learned to adapt, we learned to adjust. We’ve been doing this for a long time now, and I’ve seen it with other fighters, the kind of work that it takes. I just deal with it, I do it. I’m just excited to be here right now.”
“Everybody asks me the question, ‘Do I see any holes in his game?’ It’s not even about that. I see him very similar to the way I fight. Does everything well, good footwork, good timing, picks his punches right — very similar. But it’s more of what I know I’m capable of doing that people still haven’t seen. That’s what I’m here to show, that I’m a lot more than you’ve ever seen.”
“I believe I’m better than he is in every category, when it comes to the footwork, the timing, the defense. Power, we’re still yet to find out. Let’s find out on Saturday night. We’ll find out if his power is greater than what I expect, or if my power is greater than what he expects. That’s something to still be determined.”
“There’s a lot at stake. I’m trying to accomplish a big task, overcoming the size, jumping weight classes like I have been. Those are big challenges. My training had to change. But if I can accomplish this, I think I will be forever remembered for this reason. Some of the greatest to ever do it have taken on big tasks, big challenges, and that’s the kind of task that I’m taking right now. Winning this fight will forever cement my name as a fighter who was willing to do this. In the moment, there’s no one else really doing this. I’m willing to do all that it takes to win this fight.”
“Moving up in weight is not going to be an easy thing to do. We needed to make sure we did the right thing. We didn’t want to just gain weight by being fat. So Robert, myself, and everybody, we looked at Victor Conte and SNAC. We’ve known Victor for many years now, we’ve used the supplements, we’ve used their techniques. But this time I did go out there for five weeks to prepare my body, to gain a little bit of muscle mass. Not a huge transformation, honestly. Not a transformation where you’re gonna see this big, muscled guy all of a sudden. I just wanted to gain a little bit of mass, but I didn’t want to lose the speed, I didn’t want to lose the explosiveness, the reaction time. And that’s where Victor and us worked on a plan and a good work routine to keep that and actually improve my speed, improve my reaction time, my explosiveness. When I came back home to do the sparring and all the training with my brother, you can see the difference. You can see the results, and I’m very, very happy with the way things went.”
“Right now, the welterweight division is stacked. You’ve got great champions, undefeated champions like Keith (Thurman). You have Shawn Porter, who just fought last night. Manny Pacquiao is also now part of the squad here. It’s a very talented, very deep division. But I’m not sure what I’ll do (after this fight). I’ll definitely have options. What I really like about my position is I can fluctuate in weight. I can go back down in weight, I can stay here at welterweight. I’m able to do that. That opens the doors to more options, more opponents. I still don’t know what I’m gonna do after this fight. I can come down or I can stay here. We’ll see what the best option for me at that point is.”
On whether a win over Spence makes him the top welterweight: “That’s up to the media to decide. I’m worried about this fight, for me, for my own career. Whatever everybody else says, that’s up to them. Every list is different, every reporter has a different opinion. That’s just the way it is. I’m not worried about that.”
“I’m making history. I want to make history. I want to leave my name, my imprint on boxing. This is the type of fight that I need. At first glance, my brother, my dad didn’t want this fight. There was no need. Anybody could see would also agree — ‘you don’t need to move up in weight, there’s no need, you can fight at lightweight or even super lightweight if you wanted to.’ It changes. Once you look into the fight a little deeper, analyze my boxing skills, and what’s at stake, they started to come around. They could start to pick up where I could overcome the size. It’s a great fight.”
“I never imagined being where I am. It was never a dream of mine to be a fighter. It was never a dream to be a champion. But over the years, that grew. Then my goals started to change. When I had the layoff, I started to miss the sport. Before the layoff I had, I didn’t really care so much. But after being away for those two and a half years, I started to miss it. And I told myself, when I come back, I’m gonna come back better than ever. It’s gonna be a slingshot effect. People thought I was left behind and forgotten, but when I came back, I was gonna slingshot my way to the front. That’s what I’ve been doing. Chasing championship fights, to show everybody there’s a lot more I can do. That’s why I’m picking these fights. To show everybody that they still haven’t seen the best out of me.”