By Keith Idec
Mikey Garcia is serious about moving up to 147 pounds to challenge Errol Spence Jr.
The unbeaten WBC lightweight champion is so sure he can upset Spence that Garcia thinks Spence could be his next opponent. If Garcia gets past IBF champion Robert Easter Jr. in their lightweight title unification fight July 28 in Los Angeles, he doesn’t think there’s any reason he couldn’t face Spence before the end of this year.
Spence seeks an opponent for his third bout of 2018 and he told BoxingScene.com last month he would welcome a fight against Garcia. The feeling is completely mutual, even though Garcia would face a significant size disadvantage against a powerful southpaw who also is considered one of the best boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport.
“That’s the fight that excites me the most at 147,” Garcia told BoxingScene.com before an open workout Tuesday in Los Angeles. “If I move up to welterweight, it’s gonna be against a champion and if he’s the No. 1 champion, considered the top champion in the division, then that’s who I’m gonna try and get. It’s not gonna be the same if I fight for a vacant title or an interim title. I want the champion because that’s how I’m gonna get the recognition.”
Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) expects the taller, longer Easter to present a real challenge when they meet two weeks from Saturday night at Staples Center. If the favored Garcia wins, the four-division champion is confident Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) is a realistic option for the type of high-profile fight he seeks.
“If we can get out of this fight in good health – you know, no injuries, no cuts – we can definitely look forward to landing that fight at the end of the year,” Garcia said. “It shouldn’t be too difficult to do. If we can negotiate a good deal for both fighters, I’d be happy to take him on.”
The 30-year-old Garcia has moved back down from 140 pounds to 135 to face Easter (21-0, 14 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio. The Oxnard, California, native has won back-to-back bouts by unanimous decision at the super lightweight/junior welterweight limit against Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) and Sergey Lipinets (13-1, 10 KOs).
Garcia gave up the IBF title he won from Lipinets on March 10 in San Antonio to battle Easter.
The 28-year-old Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, wants Easter to beat Garcia because Easter and Spence are friends. If Garcia wins, though, the unbeaten IBF welterweight champion can’t see why he and Garcia shouldn’t square off.
Each of the fights Spence wants most – welterweight title unification bouts against WBO champ Terence Crawford, WBA champ Keith Thurman and the Danny Garcia-Shawn Porter winner for the WBC title – won’t be available to him next for various reasons. Their size difference aside, Garcia at least would provide Spence with an interesting, accomplished opponent next.
“That could happen,” Spence said last month of facing Garcia. “Mikey Garcia is a big name, has a great resume and that fight could definitely happen. We fight on the same network [Showtime], have the same manager [Al Haymon]. Why not make it happen? It could happen.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.