Boxing Only

Lightweight vs Welterweight :: Its been done before

Posted: 14-03-2019
Author: Andy Farr

 Errol Spence Jnr vs Mikey Garcia
 IBF World Welterweight Title
 Saturday 16th March 2019
 AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
 Premier Boxing Champions

Quite rightly, Mikey Garcia is a big betting underdog to beat reigning IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jnr. After all. Garcia first became a world champion at featherweight and campaigns in the Lightweight division at present.

Spence Jnr, on the other hand, is a big Welterweight. At 5ft 9 ½ inches Spence will have a 3 ½ inch height advantage and is the naturally heavier man by far. Whatever the discrepancy or lack of it at the weigh-in, we know for sure that the titleholder holds all the physical advantages.

To make matters worse for Garcia, Spence is a heavy puncher in the Welterweight division. Good quality opposition such as Kell Brook, Lamont Peterson and Carlos Ocampo have all failed to make it to the final bell.

Roberto Duran vs Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980
Lightweight great Roberto Duran takes the WBC Welterweight title from Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980.

So, what is it that makes Garcia believe that he can overcome such obvious obstacles? The answer appears to be in the style they both share. Garcia sees Spence as a near mirror image of himself, style-wise. He also believes he can use that style in a more productive manner and so win this fight.

When Spence Jnr won the title he travelled to Sheffield, England to challenge champion, Kell Brook. Winning a title on the other man's home turf is never the easiest thing to achieve, however, Spence overcame some very tough spells in the fight to do so by stopping Brook in the 11th round. It is only in this fight that we have seen Spence look uncomfortable and in a losing mentality, yet, he still came back and won.

In 1980 Panamanian Lightweight legend Roberto Duran won a decision over WBC Welterweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard to take his title. 20 years later, Shane Mosley also came up from the Lightweight division to take the WBC Welter title from Oscar De La Hoya. It has been done before, can Mikey Garcia do it?

Errol Spence Jnr against Kell Brook in Sheffield
Errol Spence Jnr winning the IBF Welterweight tile from Kell Brook in Sheffield, England.

As a 4 division world champion who beat the bigger Adrien Broner in a 2017 Super-Lightweight fight, Mikey Garcia has the experience factor on his side. He will have an advantage in speed but it is the natural size and punch power that Spence Jnr holds that makes him a huge favourite.

If Mickey's hand is held aloft on Saturday, it will be a true David vs Goliath victory and will make him an equal in the P4P rankings with the great Lomachenko.

The fight is being shown on Fox PPV in the USA and on ITV4 in the UK.