R. Schaefer – When we first announced this fighter Spence versus Garcia virtually everyone picked Spence to win. In fact, Spence was in the Vegas sports book an eight to one favorite. Now that we have fight week the odds have clearly changed.
In Vegas we are slowly but surely getting close to a 50-50 fight. This morning while I was taking coffee I heard some news flash over my screen. It was from ES News who asked three iconic boxers Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather about their picks.
Here is what they had to say. Mike Tyson, “Oh, man. Forget it. Mikey Garcia is the man. He’s just great. I was telling my wife, watch this. He’s one of those special fighters who comes along once in a long, long time.”
Sugar Ray Leonard, “Mikey will beat Spence this weekend. You know why? Because he’s Mikey.”
Floy Mayweather, “I want to see Mikey Garcia and I don’t care what I have to do or what it takes. He will be undisputed world champion.”
So I saw Mikey this weekend at the fight in Carson and what jumped out at me was his calm confidence. Something which you cannot learn. Something which was instilled in him through his family legacy. For his early days on when we could barely walk he was already throwing punches in his parent’s living rooms. We all have seen these pictures.
Since then he has become a four division world champion. But since then he has as well captured the hearts and the minds of fight fans and sport fans. And with this crossover fight this coming Saturday he wants to capture the heart of the general public and show everyone that with hard work and determination anything is possible. Or as we say in Spanish ‘si se puede’. Yes, we can.
It’s a pleasure for me now to introduce to you the legendary four division world champion, the undefeated Mikey Garcia. Mikey?
Thank you Richard. Good morning everyone. We are in fight week now and the fight is just a few days away so I’m just very happy, very excited and can’t wait to get in the ring, you know.
Has there been a bigger emphasis on building up your body to handle the sense of power at welterweight for this weekend?
Yes. There was a bid more of a physical change and we needed to make sure that moving up to welterweight would be a good decision by adding weight in the right areas, the right amount of muscle mass.
So that’s why we did go those five weeks up north at SNAC to work and I wanted to make sure that I gain the weight – the right weight. But we also didn’t want to lose the speed, we did not want to lose the reaction time, the explosiveness.
And that’s what we worked with with Victor Conte. We made a program that could help me to gain a little bit of mass but at the same time, improve my speed, my reaction, my reflexes and all the things that I will use on fight night.
Do you feel that the winner of this fight should call themselves the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world today?
Well, look, when I took on this fight and I wanted to get this fight, I was not doing it for any reason other than to prove to everybody that I’m the best and that I can fight anybody and I’m not scared to fight anybody even in the welter division.
I’m going to move into welterweight and just be considered one of the best. And if that puts me number one fighter in town then that’s extra another accolade. But there is no other fighter doing what I’m doing.
There is no other fighter moving up in weight and back down and back up and keeping weight classes, fighting champions, undefeated champion. No other fighter is doing that.
So I mean, when you talk about pound-for-pound well I’m actually proving it. I’m doing it in different divisions. So I mean that’s kind of why people will remember me for, that I was willing to fight anybody in any division.
Whether you put me number 1 pound-for-pound or not everybody has an opinion but there is no one else doing what I’m doing.
I just want to add on this quickly. I think it’s important when you look at the fact that Spence and Garcia are both right now top five pound-for-pound fighters, they are both undefeated, they are both champions. And there is no other pound-for-pound fighter who really has a signature win like Garcia would have if he beats or Spence would have if he beats Garcia.
These are two prime fighters in their absolute prime and I think that is what will elevate them – the winner of this fight to pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world and that’s why I do call it the coronation in Dallas.
What about this fight do you feel conditioning wise you have been able to attune moving up three weight classes?
Well, look, we did all the work like I mentioned for those five weeks with the SNAC team. And then we finished my training camp here and stayed with my brother. We got all the sparring in, we got the best sparring with big guys that can really push me and get the best out of me to be in the best shape possible.
We also worked with natural welterweights that are fast and quick and sleek just so I can be sharp and explosive. So I have all the confidence in all my abilities and I have all the confidence in my boxing and my abilities because I know I did all the work, I know I’m in great shape and I don’t worry about the size.
That’s something that I was willing to challenge myself and prove to everybody that you don’t win fights just with mere size and weight. There is a lot more that goes into it. And so that’s why I chose this fight to overcome that challenge and prove to everybody I’m the best.
Do you feel the scrutiny pushes you forward and allows you to fight in an elite level?
I think I need a fight like this to get the best out of me. I meet an opponent that will challenge me, that will push me and is matched almost identically to me. I keep telling people I love his fight.
He’s almost like similar to me, like, he reminds me of myself. He does everything well, he’s very effective, he’s strong, he has very good footwork, good combination, very similar to the way I fight. Nothing crazy, flashy out there like the flashy speed or hand speed or footwork. Nothing like that. But everything is done very well, very effective and I need someone like that to allow me to perform to the best of my ability.
And that’s why this fight is so important and that’s why it’s such a big fight. It deserves to be in the stadium, it deserves to be getting all this coverage and all this attention because you hardly ever see two of the best pound-for-pound fighters, in their prime, undefeated champions fighting each other.
It’s rare that you get that and I totally knew that this is the fight that I wanted and I’m just very happy that I was able to secure it and we are only a few days away from me making history.
When you look at the welterweight division do you see yourself sticking around after this fight?
I will definitely have options. The great thing in my position is that I can move up in weight, come back down, I will have options and different names in different divisions.
And I will look to see who the best name, who the best fight, for me, if it’s a lighter weight class I will move down, it’s a welterweight I will switch back. I know the welter division has many names, many great fighters so I could possibly stay here.
I don’t know what I’m going to do yet but I’m very happy to be in the position that I am.
When was it exactly that you decided you wanted to challenge yourself against Errol Spence?
Look, I was watching him fight Kell Brook and I saw him really turn the fight around and showed to everybody why he’s the world champion and why he deserves all the credit.
And then I saw him fight Peterson. And we were watching with my dad and my brother and I told Robert my brother and my dad that after a fight or two I want to fight Spence. And they all thought I was crazy and just joking but I was serious. I told them, “I’m going to move into welterweight because I’m coming I’m moving to welterweight. I will fight and challenge Spence.”
I saw his fight with Peterson and even though he did great I just feel like there is a lot more that I can do. People keep asking me what did I see in him. Was there a particular fight? Something that I saw in his game? Some holes in his game? No. It’s not even about that.
It was just what you guys haven’t still seen in me and I know what I can do and what I’m capable of and that’s what I’m betting on. That’s exactly why I took this fight because I know there is a lot more to my game that you guys still haven’t seen.
How convinced are they now that you can go out there and get this job done?
Spence and his camp and his trainer obviously have the confidence and that’s the mindset that they have to be in. You know they are champions and they believe in themselves, they believe in the fighter — much like my dad and my brother have always been in my team, my corner and they always believed in me and that’s why we agreed to this fight.
My dad and my brother wouldn’t allow me to take a fight if they didn’t believe I could pull it off, if I didn’t have enough to do this. So they analyzed the fight – they analyzed and studied Spence more in depth and they both agreed that I definitely have everything that it takes to beat Spence. And that’s why we are confident in our boxing and my training and that’s why we are here.
So how now that you are going to try and settle into the welterweight division does that play into the fact that naturally your weight when you would hydrate from the lower weight classes was kind of around that welterweight limits. Did that play into how you went about building mass for this fight?
I’m naturally a smaller guy so yes, we had to build a little more mass, a little more muscle leading up to this fight. But we did not want to compete against Errol with size and muscle. I want to use my other talents. I want to use my other attributes like my speed, my reaction time, my explosiveness.
Like I keep saying, there is a lot more that goes into winning fights. And I did need to gain a little bit of weight for that reason to move to welterweight but I do not want to be slow and sluggish.
We want to make sure that we kept all of my feet and muscle work and everything. And I feel very good with the results. We had a great training camp and I don’t think the size is what I’m going to be using. So that’s what we have focused on and making sure that everything else was done in the right way and I’m just very happy with all the results.
Is that playing in with the use of your jab as far, like, your timing and all that and being able to use your jab as a range finder?
Look, we made sure that we work on the things that we will need on fight night. And we had to figure out how to use my range and my timing against a bigger guy, against a left handed fighter, so we had to pick some different things like finding the range and the speed, the timing.
We had to make adjustments but I’m just very happy with everything. We had great range finders. I have speed and skills and we have some guys that are bigger and stronger, way bigger than me just so I could be prepared for whatever Errol Spence bring on fight night.
I needed to make sure that I was in the best shape and I had the best training camp and I’m just very happy with everything.
How does it feel being in this big fight for you and your career and you my family and what kind of transition would that be for you?
This is the biggest fight of my career and I’m very happy and very excited to be able to do this. We’re a few days away from making history where I will definitely leave my legacy and my name in the history books.
We are about to make history being a four division champion is no easy task and I’m a kind of fighter that gets motivated by challenges. Challenging myself to move up to welterweight is huge and I’m going against everyone’s opinion and it’s going to be great to prove to anybody that I’m much more than they have ever expected or ever seen in me. So I’m just very happy and excited to be here. I’m excited to be able to accomplish this with my family together which is just unbelievable.
What your daily routine is in the lead up to the fight?
Oh man, just a lot of rest. Look, we did all the hard work, for example already all the hard rounds of sparring, all the tough parts are done with. This week we would like to rest as much as we can, and just kind of wait patiently but we will still do a little bit of workout just to stay loose.
Maybe do like a stretch, some nice good stretching and just to keep our body flexible. We don’t want to injure our self by punching anything hard or doing strenuous activities that could hurt me for fight night. So maybe like light stretching and light shadow boxing is all we need.
Are you expecting to come significantly under the welterweight limit? Do you have to cut weight? What are your expectations in terms of that?
No. You know what? We did the work and I did gain weight. I was up at 160 actually at one time. But then as we started training and sparring we noticed that – I was just getting too big or at least I didn’t feel as comfortable as I could.
So we started to get more spurring, more training and the weight came off just because that’s the way we started working harder. And I’m very comfortable right now.
I’m very good. We are just big enough to be a welterweight but not big enough where I will be slow and sluggish.
All right. Before turn it over to Mikey to make a few closing comments I want to thank you all from the media. Its fight week, I can’t wait to see you all there starting tomorrow Tuesday March 12 at 5:00 pm Dallas time Central Time at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel, the fight hotel.
We will have the fighter arrivals and the media workout. So I will see you all there. Mikey, closing comments?
Well, like I said, we are about to make history so make sure everybody comes in and watches the fight. If you can make it live it’s going to be amazing. The energy is going to be amazing and just the whole experience to be able to be fighting at AT&T Stadium in the home of the Dallas Cowboys in front of all my fans like that.
When when people talk about some of the greatest, you talk about the Ali, Frazieer, you talk about, Leonard and Hagler and some of these fights like that. Well, this is going to be one like those. It’s going to be one of those fights.
So we obviously invite everybody to come out and watch this live. And if they can’t watch it live then make sure they tune in pay-per-view because this is one fight you don’t want to miss. It’s going to be history on Saturday night. We’re making history.