'On fight night I’ll be 149 or 150lbs': Mikey Garcia interview
Luke G. Williams
Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
While in training for his clash with Errol Spence, Mikey Garcia spoke to Boxing Monthly's Luke G. Williams while he prepared his preview of the fight. Here is the conversation in full, published for the first time...
BM: How has training been going?
Training is going well. We’ve been here for several weeks, about four weeks. It’s going well, I like the way I’m gaining shape. It’s a little different than what I’m normally used to, but l’m feeling good.
BM: Do you see this as a career defining fight?
MG: It’s most definitely a big fight. I’m taking on the biggest challenge available. I’m willing to move up all the way to the welterweight limit and I’m not just facing any fighter, I’m facing the top champion in the division - a fighter that most fear. And I’m willing to step up and face him. So it’s one of those fights I think people will remember me for. I’ve had some great match-ups before and some great victories but I think this will be one of the biggest of my career.
BM: Does the big event feel of a stadium fight appeal to you?
MG: Yes, I want to make sure that the fans get a chance to see me in the biggest fights available. Every fight I’m doing I want to be bigger than the last. That’s why being at the AT&T stadium the home of the Cowboys is great as a lot more fans can come and watch us perform. There’s nothing better than that. I could be fighting another opponent at a smaller venue but that doesn’t excite me. These kind of fights with this kind of presence at this kind of venue is what excites me the most.
BM: You’re fighting on Spence’s home turf of Texas. How do you feel about that?
MG: We don't have a problem with going to Dallas to his backyard per se. It is what it is. For me it's another opportunity to show the world my skills set and the type of fighter that I am. It's just another day in the office for me - the ring is still the same, four ropes, four corners, it's just a different man in from of me and I'm sure I'm going to have a lot of fans out there as well. He is the local fighter from Dallas but i have a lot of fans in all parts of the country and all parts of the world. I've fought in Texas before and Dallas before and I know I'll have a lot of support as well.
BM: This is your first fight at welterweight., What are your expectations in terms of what you will way on the scales and on the night of the fight?
MG: I'm not a big guy naturally, Remember I started at featherweight, I've been gradually moving up in weight and my body has been acclimatising to the new weight classes. But this is completely new, I've never been at welterweight, but I feel I have a lot of skills that will help me win as opposed to my size. I’ll be coming in probably right under the limit, at about 146, maybe 145lbs. On fight night I’ll probably be 149 or 150lbs. I’m not planning to gain too much weight. I don’t plan on fighting heavy. I want to be sharp; I want to be quick. I want to be explosive and I also want to carry my power and I think that this sort of training I'm doing will allow me to do all these things.
BM: Do you think your power at welterweight will be explosive and surprise people?
MG: I feel very comfortable and confident with my power but I don’t know the impact or the effect it may have on Spence. He’s naturally a lot bigger, and when someone moves up in weight, fighters are that much bigger that they can take a bigger punch. On fight night, Spence might be 14 or 15lbs heavier than me. But I’m confident my power will be there, and he will have to respect that.
BM: What's your assessment of Errol Spence?
MG: I think he's a great champion. he does everything almost perfect. He reminds me a bit of me actually! He doesn't get over carried away, over excited. He's patient, he's strong. He's a straight-up, stand-up guy. There's nothing crazy about him, but he does everything well.
BM: After the fight do you see yourself staying at welterweight?
MG: I'm keeping my options open. I don't know how I'll feel until the end of the fight and I don't know what options will be there after. I'm not ruling out the possibility of coming back down to lightweight, there's fights I can do at lightweight or super lightweight. I want to get through this fight first then I'll assess where I am and see what fights are available and where I feel most comfortable.
BM: Your brother Robert indicated that you guys have seen "something" in Spence which gives your confidence. I don't expect you to reveal what that is, but am I right in saying you have tailored a specific strategy for this fight based on something you've seen in him?
MG: Sure. I saw him fight [Lamont] Peterson and after that I told my brother that when I move to welterweight that's the fight I want. At first when I mentioned it to some of the press and media they thought it was a joke and just me talking. I knew there were other fights I had to get done first, like against Lipinets. But after the Easter fight there was nothing else for me that excited me more than moving up to welterweight and challenging Errol Spence. The more myself and my brother have studied his fights the more we like my chances. We've seen things that tell me I'm a better fighter than him. I'm a better boxer and a better fighter, by a little bit, not by a lot. But I'm better.
BM: Do you think your greater experience going the 12-round distance (** as opposed to Spence's none) gives you an advantage?
MG: Not necessarily. When I fought for my first world title against Orlando Salido a lot of people thought his experience would be the deciding factor and that he would win that fight because of his experience. But I was confident in my skills and I used those to win the fight. Just because I've had more title fights than Errol Spence doesn't mean that's what I'm betting on. I don't think experience will be a factor. I'm confident in my skills as a boxer and a complete fighter - that's how I'll win this fight.
BM: Does the fact you have dealt comfortably with the size of Robert Easter and southpaws in Juan Manuel Lopez and Dejan Zlaticanin, give you confidence against Spence, who is a tall southpaw?
MG: Yes, but that confidence does not just come from those fights. Since I was a kid I've trained and sparred and competed against a lot of guys that are southpaws, and I've never had problems. I've always been able to adjust and adapt to those styles and figure out ways to win. I've fought a few in my a career and have always been able to do what is necessary and find a way to win. I'm not scared or in any way worried about the southpaw stance or the height.