By Keith Idec
Paulie Malignaggi doesn’t think Mikey Garcia will be out-classed in any way when he encounters Errol Spence Jr.
According to Malignaggi, the four-division champion simply will be too small to beat the taller, stronger Spence in their 12-round, 147-pound title fight. The 30-year-old Garcia will move up two weight classes, from lightweight to welterweight, to face Spence in a Showtime Pay-Per-View main event expected to take place March 16 at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Malignaggi, an analyst for Showtime and Sky Sports, broke down the Spence-Garcia fight during an open workout Wednesday in Manchester, England, to promote the Oleksandr Usyk-Tony Bellew bout Saturday night.
“I think they’re both very good, fundamentally sound fighters,” Malignaggi told BoxingScene.com. “And I think that in their respective weight classes they are dominant forces. But I think weight classes exist for a reason, you know? And Mikey going up to ’47 is not just coming from lightweight or super lightweight. You know, this is a guy who has fought at featherweight.
“So I think it’s a tough fight. And I think Errol Spence is a really, really tough proposition for full-blown welterweights. And his power is a tough proposition for full-blown welterweights. So I think, at the end of the day, that will probably be the difference in a fight between two very good fighters. It’s just weight classes matter.”
Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) technically was a lightweight (131) when he made his pro debut 12 years ago. He has since won world titles at featherweight (126 pounds), junior lightweight (130), lightweight (135) and junior welterweight (140).
He fought at 140 pounds as recently as March 10 at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, where he dropped and out-pointed then-undefeated Sergey Lipinets (14-1, 10 KOs) by unanimous decision to win the IBF junior welterweight title. The Oxnard, California, native moved back down to lightweight for his following fight – another unanimous-decision victory over previously unbeaten IBF lightweight champ Robert Easter Jr. (21-1, 14 KOs) on July 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The 28-year-old Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, has fought at welterweight or slightly above the 147-pound limit throughout his entire six-year pro career.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.