Spence & Garcia Seek History & Legacy
Exactly one month away from their highly-anticipated pay-per-view clash, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and his challenger, current WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia, came together for a press conference today in Los Angeles, California.
The fight will take place at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Spence, who is from Texas, last fought back in June in a title defense against Carlos Ocampo. That fight took place at the Cowboys’ practice facility, The Ford Center at The Star, and saw Spence score a huge first-round knockout to a thunderous ovation.
Now, Spence gets to compete in the actual stadium.
“It’s a dream come true; something I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” Spence said. “I’ve been training hard, I’m focused, I’m prepared and I’m ready for a great fight.”
While Spence will be looking to make a statement in front of a home crowd, it also represents the biggest fight in his professional career so far. Spence says he’s been looking to face someone with an established name and brand like Garcia has.
“I’m happy somebody challenged me,” Spence said. “I’ve been looking for a name-known opponent. Someone with a record like his and being established in boxing, a four-division world champion. [Mikey Garcia] has good talent and a lot of great experience. I’ve got the pedigree to overcome anything he brings to the table come March 16.”
Meanwhile, Garcia will be looking to make history of his own and join just a handful of boxers —including Thomas Hearns (who was present for the presser), “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao — to win world titles in five different weight classes.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity; it’s history in the making. I’m trying to establish a great legacy and it’s the fight that I need,” Garcia said. “I’m in search for greatness. Not many fighters get the opportunity to do what I’m doing; fight another undefeated champion in their prime. That’s the kind of fight that motivates me and makes me bring out the best in me.
When matching himself up with the WBC’s 135-pound champion, Spence feels Garcia doesn’t match up with him in most ways, but he isn’t writing him off. In fact, he credits Garcia even more for his ability to think under pressure and change things up while in the ring.
He also added that making a fight with Garcia was easy, with not a lot of stress in the negotiations.
“I’m going to show the world that I have a lot of different and better skills, techniques and talent than coming forward,” Spence said. “The only challenge I really see is Mikey Garcia is fundamentally sound, his IQ and he’s coming to win.
“A lot of fighters can’t, especially under pressure, think in the ring and switch gears. [Garcia] wanted the fight, and it was an easy fight to make. I respect his old school fighters’ mentality.”
Spence’s big size and power as a welterweight, and Garcia jumping up to weight classes for this fight, have some viewing Garcia as an underdog, feeling Spence will be too much of a challenge for him to handle. But Garcia, while respecting Spence’s power, shrugs off the underdog status and says, in fact, Spence “reminds me of me…nothing flashy, but he does everything well.”
“I got to respect his power and size…but I think I’m the better fighter by a little bit,” Garcia said. “I don’t see myself as no underdog. I’m a four-division world champion, 39-0. [Spence] probably doesn’t see me as an underdog either, but it does motivate me to have this challenge in front of me.
I’m going to make sure I win this fight to establish myself as the best fighter currently, one of the best of this generation and eventually one of the best of all time.
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones checked into the press conference via satellite to hype up the fight and encourage boxing fans to purchase tickets to the event. He also gifted personalized jerseys for both Spence and Garcia.
“This is a great area for boxing,” Jones said. “Our [Manny] Pacquiao fights were outstanding, and we endear ourself to be involved any way the Cowboys can, especially with these two great fighters.”
And Spence envisions at the end of it all, just like his fight with Ocampo, it will be him who gets his hand raised in front of Jones, any Cowboys players in attendance and all the fans in Dallas.
My vision is my hand being raised, victorious, whether it’s a knockout or 12-round grueling fight. We’re preparing for the best Mikey Garcia, skill-wise, strength-wise, talent-wise and boxing IQ wise.