By Keith Idec
Negotiations are progressing for Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia to meet in a welterweight title fight early next year.
A source has confirmed to BoxingScene.com that Spence likely will defend his IBF 147-pound championship against Garcia at some point in February. Showtime would distribute their pay-per-view event, and February 16 and February 23 are two potential dates for Spence-Garcia to take place.
RingTV.com first reported Thursday that a Spence-Garcia deal is nearing completion. Assuming a deal is completed, Spence-Garcia won’t be officially announced until Showtime’s first pay-per-view show of the new year – headlined by Manny Pacquiao versus Adrien Broner on January 19 in Las Vegas – is made official.
If Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) and Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) come to an agreement, Garcia won’t make a mandatory defense of his IBF lightweight title in his next fight against Ghana’s Richard Commey (27-2, 24 KOs). ESPN.com reported earlier this month that representatives for Garcia and Commey came to an agreement for their mandated championship match.
Moving up two weight classes to challenge Spence obviously would earn Garcia much more than he’ll make for facing Commey. The undefeated four-division champion still would be a huge underdog against Spence, which is why most boxing fans would prefer to see Garcia go up against Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) in a lightweight title unification fight.
Garcia, 30, owns the IBF lightweight championship. The Oxnard, California, native gave up the IBF junior welterweight title he won by beating Sergey Lipinets by unanimous decision March 10 in San Antonio.
Spence, 28, last fought June 16. He knocked out Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo (23-1, 14 KOs), his mandatory challenger, in the first round that night at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
An ambitious Garcia began stating that he wants to fight the bigger, stronger Spence before he faced Robert Easter Jr. on July 28. Garcia reiterated that plan once he defeated Easter (21-1, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round lightweight title unification fight at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.