Hopkins: Garcia will not be easy for Spence

846614754.jpg.0 - Hopkins: Garcia will not be easy for Spence

“The Executioner” moved up in weight in his career and shocked a lot of people with long-term success.

This Saturday’s pay-per-view main event between IBF welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr and four-division titleholder Mikey Garcia is maybe the most truly intriguing on the current boxing schedule.

Many believe that Spence (24-0, 21 KO) will simply be too big and strong, and that’s understandable. The 29-year-old southpaw is taller than Garcia, longer than Garcia. He’s a natural welterweight, while the 31-year-old Garcia has only dabbled even at junior welterweight, scoring a few wins over Elio Rojas, Adrien Broner, and Sergey Lipinets, that one netting him a title that he held briefly before moving back down to 135 for his last fight.

Garcia is a terrific boxer, one of the best in the sport pound-for-pound right now, but many see Spence that way, too.

The legendary Bernard Hopkins has kind of been in Garcia’s shoes. Back in 2005, Hopkins lost his middleweight crown to Jermain Taylor in a controversial decision, and lost a very close rematch that same year. He was 40 then, and time had been ticking on his career.

His next move was a daring one: he left the 160-pound ranks behind, skipped over 168, and went all the way up to 175 to face champion Antonio Tarver. Most expected Tarver to be too big and too strong. He wasn’t. Hopkins dominated Tarver, and started his incredible second career as a light heavyweight, which ran all the way through 2016 and age 51. You and I will probably never see the like of Hopkins again.

So when B-Hop speaks, we all tend to listen, even if he’s gone off on one of his tangents that get him some backlash. But this is not one of those times. Hopkins tells The Ring that he believes Garcia absolutely can score the win on Saturday, and that he wouldn’t even see it as an upset:

“Anybody who thinks this is gonna be an easy fight for Spence, they’re wrong, and I’ll be the first one to say, ‘Told you so!’ … Garcia has all of the tools to beat — not upset, beat Errol Spence. In terms of styles, he has what it takes to win this fight, without ‘upset’ even being mentioned. If Garcia can take away the size advantage, we’re gonna find out early whether Spence has the goods to be this great champion of the future.”

Now it has to be said that Spence is absolutely the favorite, and that Garcia (39-0, 30 KO) winning would, at least technically speaking, be an upset. Spence is currently listed by Bovada at -375, with Garcia at +285.

It’s also worth noting that this isn’t the sort of situation where Hopkins usually weighs in hyping a matchup these days, which he’ll do as a promoter for Golden Boy, trying to sell us a fight. This is a PBC event, Hopkins isn’t involved.

So if Bernard sees something in this fight, I’m inclined to think there’s something to it.

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