Like Arthur’s knights, even the one who fucked his wife, had douchey hair, and eventually the ignominy of being portrayed by Richard Gere, the TQBR Crew must come together to discuss the important topics of the day. Smartphones our swords, and emotional disturbance our armor, we sally forth once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.
Also, pay no attention to the fact that Roberto Duran has gotten fat enough that the young version of him on his t-shirt has been stretched into looking like a less fat, but still fat, Roberto Duran. He is a god amongst men and you will do homage to him. I have spoken.
#1. In the 2 years since beating Kell Brook, Spence has only fought twice. Will his inexperience at the top level & inactivity be a factor in this fight?
Hedtke: I don’t think so. I mean, the video of him being so drunk after the Porter/Garcia fight that he forgot how to do basic math is less than encouraging in regards to his professionalism but sometimes you gotta be that drunk to hang out with Broner. He’s a pro and he’ll do what needs to be done to be ready.
Swain: I actually think both are going to be factors. It’s been 2 years since Spence beat Brook, and he looked rusty and tentative early in that fight until he began to get his timing and rhythm, and Brook started to fade. Peterson was a nice win, but Ocampo didn’t tell us much. Mikey has a lot more experience at the top, so I can see Spence getting off to a slow start and Mikey using that time to establish his jab and range.
Langendorf: A three-sheets-to-the-wind Spence might be the only thing that gets Mikey out of Saturday in one piece. The size disparity overshadows nearly every other measurable and intangible in this matchup. Of course, no fighter *must* stick to the lowest weight class he can semi-comfortably make – just like that chick who got mauled by the jaguar didn’t *have* to obey the clearly posted sign that read STAY OUT OF THE JAGUAR CAGE, DUMBASS.
Hedtke: You’re never gonna know how you’d fare against a Jaguar though unless you ignore the sign and jump into the cage. You’re probably gonna end up with jungle butt or an advanced case of feline rabies but at least you’ll know.
Starks: Let’s just say it can’t help, right? Vis-a-vis drunken math: That can’t help either. It doesn’t necessarily mean he lacks professionalism, because lots of people enjoy a beer at a fight, but Floyd Mayweather being so chaste about chemicals surely aided his excellence.
Swain: I think what it boils down to is that there are still unknowns about Spence. A lot of them. We know who Garcia is, the only mystery about him will be if the size matters. Speaking of…
#2. Spence is obviously the much bigger fighter, but will his size and clear power advantage be enough to offset Garcia’s superior technique and experience?
Hedtke: This is the big question and my answer may surprise you: I have no idea. On paper, yes, of course, Spence’s power is an issue but I don’t know what Mikey being in serious trouble looks like. I’ll answer this question after the fourth round, cool?
Swain: This is the whole fight, in my opinion. Spence is a phenomenal athlete. He has the kind of explosive speed that can scramble Mikey’s distance and timing. Mikey is hittable, and Spence is a real puncher. Like Brent, my answer is “I don’t know.” Can’t wait to find out, though.
Langendorf: Spence walks around at 170. As recently as five years ago, Garcia fought at 126. Yeah, I realize I’m spoon-feeding you two extremes as part of a nuance-free argument. Eat it up, baby bird. These two shouldn’t be fighting each other.
Hedtke: This isn’t Pacquiao/De La Hoya but it also isn’t Canelo/Khan. A good big man will generally beat a good little man, yes. Generally. History isn’t on Garcia’s side but if there’s anyone in the sport with the skill level to negate a size disparity this big it’s Mikey.
Starks: It ought to. That said, yours truly has had a track record of late of thinking fight outcomes obvious, only for the upstart to make a competitive showing of it. At any rate, I rate Mikey Garcia more of a live dog than I suspected Tyson Fury would be and look how that turned out.
#3. If Spence is able to hurt Garcia, will Mikey’s corner let him work through it, or do they save their guy from getting hurt and chalk it up to the size disparity as a reason?
Hedtke: I don’t think the win/win of this situation for Mikey is lost on anyone. If he loses, he was supposed to. If he wins, holy shit. I think Robert Garcia lets him get as close to DEFCON 1 as possible before pulling the plug. They’re Mexican. Getting punched in the face is basically a polite form of greeting.
Swain: I’m going to go back to the Salido fight on this one. That’s a horse of a different color for a variety of reasons, but as Brent said, this is win-win for Mikey as long as he doesn’t get blown out. Mikey has always been the kind of fighter that made it clear this is his job and not his whole life. I think if the trouble is early, they’ll let him work through it, but if it’s late and Spence is coming on, the towels are getting thrown.
Langendorf: Agreed. But my concern is that Garcia’s transcendent skills might allow him to look good (or at least relatively comfortable) while taking a true and proper ass-beating. I don’t know that we’re dealing with a THROW THE DAMN TOWEL! gif situation, but the danger for Mikey has never been starker.
Hedtke: Speaking strictly in terms of Rocky gifs I’m keeping the Adrian Balboa “YOU’RE GONNA DO IT!” one on-deck just in case. Believe me, I’m acutely aware of how ignorant I sound in terms of the role size is going to play in this fight but I simply don’t think it’s the game breaker it appears to be on the surface.
Starks: Robert Garcia says he’s prepared to throw in the towel if appropriate. If I was in his corner, I’d have a short leash. Mikey is a natural featherweight or junior lightweight who’s been overachieving upwards. He doesn’t have the power at 135 or 140 he does lower, although his punch resistance has held up. Still, Spence is a dangerous puncher at welter and Mikey getting hurt seems like a real possibility.
#4. If you’re in either corner, what’s the main thing you want your fighter to do?
Hedtke: For Spence, start fast and don’t let Mikey get into a rhythm. Use the extra 10-15 lbs to lean on him
For Mikey, don’t die, stay on good terms with your pastor and make sure your life insurance forms are up to date. Kidding. J-A-B jab. Pump that fucker in there and stay mobile.
Langendorf: For Spence, mix it up. He’ll need to leverage his size, yes, but Garcia is too savvy to try to grizzly-bear him around the ring for 12 rounds. Gotta throw him some junkballs to keep him from sitting on the heater. Garcia? It’s all about movement – both lateral and in and out of the pocket. Spence has the reach and power advantages, so Garcia won’t win fighting from distance. Close the gap, smother Spence’s punches, work inside, get out. Rinse, repeat.
Swain: For Spence, make Garcia pay for every combo he throws. For Garcia, don’t back straight up. Ever.
Starks: Gonna endorse the “start fast” for Spence/ “pump the jab” for Garcia plan. Garcia always starts slow anyway, but Spence should do what he can to keep Garcia from establishing rhythm and control. Garcia needs to do something to stop Spence’s assault.
#5. Who are you picking and how?
Hedtke: Mikey by close decision. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 115-113. Mainly because I have a deathwish but also because I think this will be won on skill which Mikey has a slight edge in my eyes. Also, I don’t like that Spence’s head is a perfectly symmetrical cube. Unacceptable.
Langendorf: I want to pick Garcia. I do – if only to throw him a bit of karma that might help keep his head attached to his neck. But Spence is *much* bigger and can *really* throw. A reality exists in which Mikey wins this fight. There just happen to be many more of them in which Spence wins by middle-round TKO.
Swain: I’ll take Spence by late stoppage. I expect Mikey to build an early lead and to look phenomenal at times. I even think we’ll get some great exchanges, but eventually, Spence is going to start getting his timing and landing hurtful shots. And he can finish. Size is really only a factor when all other things are equal. I think they’re equal enough here for the size/power to become a factor.
Starks: Spence unanimous decision. The weight difference is too hard to overcome — Garcia has never been an Adonis-looking type, but his body looked about as good as mine at the weigh-in (Ed. Note: This is accurate). Garcia is still a good enough boxer to put up a solid showing.