Mikey Garcia seeks superstardom
By James Blears
WBC Lightweight champion Mikey Garcia is great, but now he`s daring to be even greater, by fighting bigger taller and heavier IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr, at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium on March 16th.
Last August when Mikey was accompanied to Mexico City by Dad Eduardo and brother Robert, who`s his Trainer, to be presented with his Green and Gold Belt By World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman, he made it plainer than crystal clear, it`s Errol who he wanted to take on next.
Robert publically disagreed with his younger brother saying there are still good fights to be had in the lightweight division, before taking that next destiny changing step involving Errol. But Robert also stated that if that`s what Mikey wanted he`d devise a strategy to defeat southpaw splendid Spence.
Mikey (39-0, 30 KO`s) and Errol (24-0, 21 KO`s ) are undefeated. The way both punch, someones` 0 will certainly go! To win, Mikey must confound the old boxing saying: “A good big un, usually beats a good little un.
Even though Mikey will arrive bolstered by Victor Conte`s physical conditioning, the fact remains that he`s conceding three and a half inches in height and four inches in reach. It`s a mighty and audacious gamble for Mikey, who started out as a featherweight. It`ll take superb lateral movement and quicksilver savvy ringcraft to overcome Errol, who`s a chilling puncher in his own right. It`s Errol`s third defense and he comes to it with twelve straight KO`s.
Let`s take three illustrious fighters who`ve gambled big in the weight stakes. In their coinciding glorious eras, Sugar Ray Leonard plus Roberto Duran and decades earlier, the late great Mickey Walker have climbed the “Snakes and ladders” divisions to attain staggering glory. But nothing great is easy.
Prior to his wonderful last round victory over Wilfredo Benitez for the WBC welterweight title, Ray chanced his arm, by upping to middleweight, and he had a really tough but now little remembered fight against power hitting Mexican national middleweight champion Marcos Geraldo. Taller and appreciably heavier, Marcos had Ray in trouble in round three landing a huge right hook. As the fight wore on, try as he might the increasingly dominant Ray unloaded his full repertoire, but the lean teak tough poker faced Mexican, soaked it all up… and kept surging back.
When Ray fought for the WBA super welterweight championship against Ayub Kalule, the so called light hitting but physically more robust southpaw, posed problems against an unusually flat footed Ray, until Ray landed a huge right hook towards the end of the ninth round, then followed up by an even harder left right combination which dropped and dazed the game, hitherto undefeated Ugandan eight seconds before the bell. The Referee mercifully stepped in to save him, even though the round had ended.
Bulldozing against Davey Moore, Roberto Duran`s “Hands of stone” never landed effectively on way taller blockbuster Tommy “Hitman” Hearns who blitzed him. Down twice in round one and cut over the left eye, Roberto was then iced by a mighty frightening right hook, which pitched him face forward to the canvass…and out! Roberto, who`d previously fought fifteen gutsy rounds to lose a decision against WBC middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler, was knocked cold by WBC super welterweight champion Tommy.
In the “Roaring Twenties,” the also great Mickey “Toy Bulldog” Walker, who was welterweight world champion, dared to take on the rugged middleweight champion Harry “ Pittsburgh windmill” Greb, losing a decision. Legend has it that the pair continued their fisticuffs, but minus gloves, later that very same evening in a nightclub.
Mickey who then won the middleweight crown against Tiger Flowers, defeated light heavyweight champion Maxie Rosenbloom . More`s the pity it was a non title fight. Utterly undaunted, unfazed and unabashed, Mickey climbed up even further fighting a tremendous draw against erratic ex heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey, but then coming badly unstuck against the far more consistent Max Schmeling, who unrelentingly battered the smaller and lighter man, closing both his eyes and prompting the intervention of Mickey`s Manager Jack “Doc” Hearns to stop the fight, after then bell ended the eighth round. “Doc`s” chewing tobacco which he sometimes took out of his mouth to staunch cuts, mercifully wasn`t used as a stinging poultice that night.
Mickey had learned the hard times lesson, the bigger they are…the harder they hit…not fall!
Eighty six years later, Mikey is also setting himself the most difficult, tough against the odds test. The best in his weight division he`s taking on a larger and stronger opponent, who excels in a heavier realm. One of Mikey`s keys to winning is hitting on the move, picking his shots and not initially going toe to toe for a slugfest. Only the absolute very best are willing to take such an exacting test.