By Keith Idec
Vasiliy Lomachenko and whomever emerges from the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound tournament were Mikey Garcia’s obvious options.
After a 2½-year layoff cost Garcia an important part of his physical prime, the undefeated four-division champion just didn’t want to waste any more of his time. Rather than waiting for Lomachenko or the WBSS winner to agree to fight him, Garcia instead embraced just about the biggest challenge, literally and figuratively, that he could find.
Garcia couldn’t care less, either, that he is generally regarded as a huge underdog against Errol Spence Jr. The 31-year-old Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) is confident he’ll exploit the bigger, stronger Spence’s flaws when they meet March 16 at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“You know, I’m looking for the biggest challenge available, the biggest names, the biggest fights,” Garcia told Tha Boxing Voice for an interview posted Monday to its YouTube page. “There’s no one else out there that can motivate me enough and challenge me enough, like Errol Spence. And that’s why we’re going after Errol Spence. I wanna prove to everybody that I’m the best in the generation. And if I don’t get those kind of fights, then I won’t get recognized. That’s why I went after Errol Spence.
“That’s why I made sure I did everything to secure that fight, and I’m happy that we were able to work that fight. It was actually a pretty easy negotiation. I do thank his team and himself for accepting the challenge. I am challenging him. You know, he is the champion, undefeated champion, and he could’ve taken other fights as well. He could’ve taken other fights, but, you know, this fight makes sense for both of us. And that’s why I’m here.”
Garcia is in the Bay Area, where he’s working on strength and conditioning at Victor Conte’s Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning facility. He is preparing to move up two weight classes – from the lightweight limit of 135 to the welterweight maximum of 147 – to fight for Spence’s IBF welterweight title.
The Oxnard, California, native typically doesn’t do anything during training camp outside of roadwork and boxing training. For this training camp, however, the 5-feet-6 Garcia is adding muscle mass so that he can contend with the 5-feet-10 Spence’s strength and size when they square off in a FOX Pay-Per-View main event in two months.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.