Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Errol Spence-Mikey Garcia reaction, David Benavidez, Luis Nery)
THE TRUTH IS THE REAL DEAL
Mikey Garcia was supposed to be a lose-lose situation for Errol Spence and it turned out to be a career defining fight. As I said last week in my letter, Spence will beat Mikey not because of size but because of his underrated boxing skills. This man is the best in the business right now and the good thing about this is that the second best happens to be in the same weight class. Spence vs. Terence Crawford is without a doubt the best fight money can buy. To me it’s better than Joshua-Wilder.
What Spence did was masterful. He could’ve steamrolled Mikey and simply show his size and power, but what he did is take the opportunity presented to him to show how many dimensions he has. He showed an educated jab, activity, great movement, very good speed and of course power. He dominated on the inside, outside, the counterpunching contest, everything! I am very impressed by what he did. Mikey is one tough big cojones dude. He is also a top technician, one I respect a lot, yet Spence made him look like an amateur.
Right now, I favor Spence vs anybody 154 and down. He’s the man and it’s going to be tough to beat him. I can’t wait to see him again. Thanks Doug. – Juan Valverde, San Diego
Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another nine months before we see him again, Juan. Spence says he wants to be back in the ring in July. His management should do everything in their power to fulfill this wish because he deserves to build on the career momentum created by his March 16 performance.
I agree that Spence was masterful against Garcia. He clearly outboxed the more experienced (and proven) pro, but size was definitely a factor in the one-sided nature of the matchup and that played out in two key ways – 1. Garcia literally couldn’t reach the defending welterweight titleholder (I understand that Spence’s excellent jab was the main reason for this, but Mikey’s T-rex arms didn’t help), and 2. whenever Garcia was able to connect with a clean shot, he couldn’t hurt or even budge Spence.
To me, Garcia’s ability to hurt Spence – or as I put it “earn respect” in previous mailbags and interviews – was the most important factor in this matchup. To have ANY shot at all Garcia needed to make Spence give a damn about what he was throwin’ – and he had to establish that respect from the get-go. And after that, there was the question of who had the higher Boxing IQ. Everyone who picked Garcia to win assumed that he was the smarter and more skilled boxer. I felt that remained to be seen. Spence was the FAR better and more accomplished amateur boxer. You combine that pedigree with his boxing/athletic talent, technique, skill and ring generalship, and you have a potential world-beater.
Having said that, I wouldn’t favor him to beat ALL of the top dogs in the 147- and 154-pound divisions. Crawford’s athleticism, versatility and gritty determination would definitely provide a worthy challenge; as would the sheer size, durability and physical strength of Jarrett Hurd. And while I’d favor him over the following standouts, I don’t think he’d have his way with Erislandy Lara, Jaime Munguia or Keith Thurman.
This man is the best in the business right now and the good thing about this is that the second best happens to be in the same weight class. Spence is ONE of the best in the business. (Calm down, bro. Kosei Tanaka, who defended his flyweight title in Japan on the same day as Spence-Garcia is a three-division beltholder who has faced more world titleholders and legit contenders than “The Truth” has in just 13 pro bouts and the Japanese wunderkind isn’t even on most P4P lists.) Crawford is second to Spence in the 147-pound rankings, but I still think Bud is ahead of Spence in the mythical pound-for-pound ratings.
Spence vs. Crawford is without a doubt the best fight money can buy. To me it’s better than Joshua-Wilder. I agree 100%.
THOSE WHO PICKED GARCIA
Do you think those that picked Mikey to win (which was quite a few) overestimated his abilities or underestimated Errol? – Rodemeyer
WAS SPENCE-GARCIA GOOD FOR BOXING?
I hope you enjoyed the big event this weekend. Do you feel that this event was good or bad for boxing?
Ordinarily, I would say that these huge events are great for the sport, especially when the main event pits two elite fighters against each other. However, do you think the one-sided nature of all the contests did more damage to the sport’s reputation? The undercard, particularly, was just a series of mismatches.
As for the main event itself, I think that both fighters should come out of the contest with a great deal of credit. Spence Jr for fighting a near perfect fight and doing everything bar dropping his opponent or closing the show and Garcia for his bravery against an opponent who had every conceivable advantage over him. That said, I wasn’t ever really big on this fight as I always thought that there would only ever be one winner. Do you feel that this answers any questions about either fighter’s P4P credentials? Personally, I don’t.
Although Spence Jr did more or less everything he could do in this fight, the fact that he had such as size advantage over Garcia makes it hard for me to really gauge where he stands against elite fighters at other weights. I feel that fighters such as Usyk, Crawford, Canelo, GGG, Lomachenko and even Joshua would look just as dominant against any fighter from two divisions lower. Some of them already have!
I know that there will be a huge call for Spence Jr to rise up the mythical ratings now, many will feel that he should be above Garcia. But if this match was a Lightweight match, with Spence Jr not having the huge height, reach and power advantages, and Garcia being quicker without the unnecessary excess weight, this fight would be a really difficult pick. Going into this match the general consensus was that Mikey had little to lose and that Spence Jr wouldn’t get any credit for beating a much smaller fighter. Strangely, I think both of those predictions have been proved wrong. Spence Jr did display a very sharp boxing brain, great punch output and repertoire and has enhanced his standing, whereas Garcia’s technical ability is now starting to be questioned – a little unfairly in my opinion considering what he was up against.
Finally, here are three fights I found myself considering a lot after Saturday;
Spence Jr vs Crawford (obviously)
Pacquiao vs M Garcia (140 or 147)
Inoue vs Nery
How do you think these fights would play out if they were to happen next? Regards. – Jeremy, UK
I favor Crawford by close decision, Garcia by stoppage at 140 and by competitive decision at 147 (IF the 12 rounds with Spence didn’t take something from him) and Inoue by mid-to-late KO.
Spence is going to jump from No. 10 to No. 5 in The Ring’s Pound-for-Pound rankings, per The Ring Ratings Panel. I think that’s a little bit too much of an advancement given that he was the solid odds favorite and that it was Garcia’s first bout above 140 pounds, but
Mikey’s name and pound-for-pound status (and, I guess, all the pundits that backed him) have added significance to the victory. And even though I wouldn’t have ranked him quite that high, I’m totally fine with Panel’s suggestion and I can understand it because Spence boxed such an impressive and disciplined game plan in his first bout to go the 12-round distance. Garcia will drop all the way to No. 9. I agree with you and managing editor Brian Harty, who believes that it’s a harsh demotion for the veteran who was taking all the risks. But, guess what, kiddos? Boxing is a harsh sport. The Panel has spoken.
I hope you enjoyed the big event this weekend. I did. I watched the card on my laptop via FoxSports.com (because my email and password didn’t work with my Fire TV stick for some reason), but that didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the undercard blowouts and even though the main event was one-sided, it was compelling in real time. I didn’t mind the 37 commentators that FOX and the PBC felt the need to use. It was totally surreal seeing a Radio Rahim feature during the broadcast, and I even had fun reading all the complaints about the PPV from the hardcore fans and insiders on Boxing Twitter. (Lighten up, mother f__kers!)
Do you feel that this event was good or bad for boxing? It was good. It captured the boxing public’s imagination during the buildup, it drew 47,000 fans to AT&T Stadium, and it delivered a master class from a future star; plus, I think the loser (who put the majority of the butts in the seats) keeps his fan base and respect (even though he lost ground in the pound-for-pound rankings).
As for the main event itself, I think that both fighters should come out of the contest with a great deal of credit. Spence’s stature in the sport has never been higher. Mikey’s rep as an elite boxer has taken a bit of a hit but he’s still got his supporters and most of the boxing word still respects him as a competitor.
That said, I wasn’t ever really big on this fight as I always thought that there would only ever be one winner. I think most of us knew the best Garcia could do was be competitive in a loss, or merely go the distance. I thought he’s be more competitive than he was en route to a late stoppage, but I’m not mad at him for losing 12 rounds against Spence, who for all we know may go on to knockout his next 10-15 opponents. Still, the hype Garcia garnered as the fight date got closer made the thought of the matchup interesting.
Do you feel that this answers any questions about either fighter’s P4P credentials? Personally, I don’t. I think Spence deserves to advance in The Ring’s P4P rankings (we had him at No. 10 prior to this fight), but I don’t think Garcia should be penalized as much as he is.
Although Spence Jr did more or less everything he could do in this fight, the fact that he had such as size advantage over Garcia makes it hard for me to really gauge where he stands against elite fighters at other weights. I understand where you are coming from, but he proved to be a physical steamroller vs. experienced veterans Kell Brook and Lamont Peterson, as well as other tough welterweights (such as Chris van Heerden and Leo Bundu); vs. Mikey he proved his boxing/technical/tactical acumen. You put the two sides together and you have lethal combination for even the elite welterweights and junior middles.
I feel that fighters such as Usyk, Crawford, Canelo, GGG, Lomachenko and even Joshua would look just as dominant against any fighter from two divisions lower. Some of them already have! True. Caneo iced Amir Khan with one punch. Golovkin broke Brook’s face. Loma made Rigo quit.
GARCIA AT WELTERWEIGHT
Is there anyone in the welterweight top 10 that Garcia would defeat? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN
Are you talking about the top 10 rankings of the sanctioning bodies (WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO)? If so, then there are more than a few I believe Garcia can beat. The alphabet boys rank still-unproven prospects (Josh Kelly, Conor Benn, Rashidi Ellis), faded former titleholders (Andre Berto) and gatekeepers (Adrian Granados) in their welterweight top 10.
If you’re talking about The Ring’s welterweight rankings, I would favor Garcia against Pacquiao (No. 5), Egidijus Kavaliauskas (No. 8), Jeff Horn (No. 9) and Jessie Vargas (No. 10) – provided the Spence fight didn’t take something off his fastball. However, I think all of these matchups would be difficult for Garcia.
FOX PPV ACTION
Well, that turned out to be a pretty one-sided night of fights. I’m glad I found a bar showing the fight & didn’t have to pay that PPV sticker price. Luis Nery is an enigma–he’s got a stink to him with that PED test & missing weight, but the guy is an undeniable talent with some thumping power. What’s a good matchup you’d like to see on the horizon for him?
Again, not the best matchup, but I think Benavidez might have the highest ceiling at 168 when he’s switched on. He’s popped in my gym in Seattle a couple times & he couldn’t be a nicer guy. He’s lightening fast & I’d love to see the grudge match with Plant come to fruition sometime late 2019 or early 2020. At this point, I don’t see Dirrell offering up much resistance if that comes next. Just assessing it on skills/ceiling – who do you think will be looked at as the cream of the crop @168 this time next year?
Despite being the overwhelming favorite, I think ESJ managed to help his stock. Not talking some massive P4P leap, but he put people on notice & put on a crisp boxing display. I think a lot of people lazily chalked him up as a come forward weight bully, but ESJ had a smart game plan and really just out-skilled him in every which way. He reminds me of Winky Wright, albeit a more entertaining version – southpaw, kept his hands up in a tight guard all 12 rounds, and snaps a fast/unpredictable jab that he’s able to double & triple up with success. Not to mention he looked good varying his attack upstairs & to the body. I don’t think any of his PBC stablemates will be clamoring to fight him after that (what’s new?). What do you think his next move is? Do you think Al can twist the arms of Porter/Thurman and get those fights signed sometime this year? You don’t wanna see Pacquiao in there with him do you? – DJ
I don’t want the future hall of famer take the beating Spence will no doubt dish out on him, but if both welterweight standouts want the fight, so be it. Spence will retire Pacquiao if and when they fight, and I’ve been over Senator Manny for several years. I just don’t want to see him get seriously hurt.
I think Spence-Porter can be made without Uncle Al twisting anybody’s arm. Thurman MIGHT be ready to face the winner of that showdown by the end of this year.
I hadn’t thought of the Winky Wright comparison, but I see some of what you’re talking about. I think Spence is more naturally talented and versatile, but he’s yet to accomplish a fraction of what the recent hall of fame inductee achieved during his career.
Luis Nery is an enigma – he’s got a stink to him with that PED test & missing weight, but the guy is an undeniable talent with some thumping power. Nery is f__king beast. I almost called him a “monster” but there’s only one Monster in the 118-pound division and he’s not from Mexico, he’s from Japan.
What’s a good matchup you’d like to see on the horizon for him? The winner of the WBSS bantamweight tournament. In the meantime, I think WBC beltholder Nordine Oubaali and Ryan Burnett would provide quality matchups for the Mexican badass.
Again, not the best matchup, but I think Benavidez might have the highest ceiling at 168 when he’s switched on. I agree. He’s the youngest top-10 contender and he’s one of the most talented.
He’s popped in my gym in Seattle a couple times & he couldn’t be a nicer guy. I’ve heard he’s a cool cat. I’ve met his father and his brother (back when Jose was a teenager) and they were very nice people.
He’s lightening fast & I’d love to see the grudge match with Plant come to fruition sometime late 2019 or early 2020. The fluidity of his punches, especially when working on the inside, is absolutely uncanny. He’s a giant with speed, technique and crazy volume. I wouldn’t count Plant out, though. He’d control the distance a lot better than Benavidez’s previous opponents.
At this point, I don’t see Dirrell offering up much resistance if that comes next. I agree, but they still gotta fight the fight.
Just assessing it on skills/ceiling – who do you think will be looked at as the cream of the crop @168 this time next year? Benavidez has got to be considered a frontrunner just behind Ring champ Callum Smith, Caleb Plant, and current light heavyweight beltholder Dmitry Bivol (if the Russian talent can safely make he super middleweight limit as he claims he can).
Your mailbag is absolutely Lights Out. The best boxing mailbag out there. Geez, I had to scroll down three times to get all the comments in Friday’s mailbag. Tremendous work.
I cannot believe Garcia was not able to have any control of the distance last night. I thought that was his specialty. Are you surprised? Obviously, Spence game plan to throw tons of jabs thwarted Garcia’s plan.
Nery really impressed me. After his stoppage I was disappointed that Heidi Androl concentrated more on asking Nery about Pacquiao than a possible showdown with Inoue.
Benavidez in my view is the real deal. To me it was a businessman performance, almost like he expected Love to attack in close.
Who wins Nery-Inoue and will Benavidez eventually move up the Light heavy? Keep up the great work. – Armand Vanore, Philly bred
Thanks for the kind words, Armand.
If Inoue and Nery were to fight this year, I’d favor The Monster but I’d consider Nery a live dog. And I think it’s only a matter of time before Benavidez is forced to move to the 175-pound division. It will definitely happen by his 25th birthday.
I cannot believe Garcia was not able to have any control of the distance last night. He couldn’t get past Spence’s jab.
I thought that was his specialty. Yeah, it is, along with counterpunching – against lightweights, guys he can hurt no matter how tall or rangy they are, and guys who can’t discourage him with their punching power.
Are you surprised? No, not really. I thought Garcia could be more competitive than he was over the first the half of the fight, but I figured Spence would take him to the woodshed over the second half. Credit to Mikey, though, he hung tough in the championship rounds. A lot of world-class welterweights would have folded before Round 12 after absorbing what Spence put on him.
Obviously, Spence game plan to throw tons of jabs thwarted Garcia’s plan. Yeah. It worked, didn’t it?
Nery really impressed me. Me too.
After his stoppage I was disappointed that Heidi Androl concentrated more on asking Nery about Pacquiao than a possible showdown with Inoue. Inoue vs. Nery is a matchup that only tried and true hardcore boxing fans are going to clamor for.
PRIME VS. PAST PRIME
Very measured performance from Spence this past weekend, but the question mark of how much the weight played a part remains. Spence looked really good and showed a different more patient side to his game though. How do you think the fight would’ve panned out had Mikey been a natural welterweight? He looked tentative to engage at times, but showed big toughness.
Also, Pacquiao just doesn’t care who he fights, did not seem fazed in the slightest at the prospect of fighting Spence. I think it’s a bit of a physical mismatch at this point though. On that note what about these changing of the guard MMs but with the older fighter in their prime:
Pacquiao vs De La Hoya 140
De La Hoya vs Chavez 140
Hatton vs Tsyzu 140
Nery vs Yamanka 118
Walters vs Donaire 126
Johnson vs. Jeffries
Thanks. – Conrad, Sheffield
Pacquiao vs De La Hoya 140 – DLH by close decision
De La Hoya vs Chavez 140 – DLH by close decision
Hatton vs Tszyu 140 – Tszyu by late stoppage in a tough fight
Nery vs Yamanka 118 – Yamanaka by decision in a tough fight
Walters vs Donaire 126 – Donaire by decision in a tough fight
Johnson vs. Jeffries – Johnson by decision in a tough fight
How do you think the fight would’ve panned out had Mikey been a natural welterweight? It obviously would have been more competitive because Garcia would have more punch resistance and more power on his shots, but I still think Spence would outbox and outpoint him.
He looked tentative to engage at times, but showed big toughness. There’s no questioning Garcia’s character in the ring.