Errol Spence Jr. puts his IBF welterweight world title on the line against four-division world titleholder Mikey Garcia on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Will Garcia’s two-weight-division jump be too much to overcome against one of boxing’s top fighters at 147 in Spence?
|Fighters||Opening Odds||Odds as of March 13|
Odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook
Here’s a look at where the money is going from Vegas bookmakers, along with opinions from boxing experts, boxers and trainers and my prediction for the fight.
Where is the money going?
Jeff Sherman, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s VP of risk management, opened the fight with Spence -400 and Garcia +300.
"Initial support was on Spence, driving the line up to -500/+375, but since then it’s been all for Garcia. We are now at Spence -350 Garcia +275," said Sherman.
The SuperBook is seeing 80 percent of tickets written on Garcia and 74 percent of money wagered on him too.
Sherman opened the fight total at 9.5 rounds over -160 and under +140. He then moved the line to over -180 and under +160 with 100 percent of tickets written on the over. He mentioned that he is seeing support on the draw below at +2000 as well.
Odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook
At William Hill US, senior trader Adam Pullen opened the fight with Spence Jr. -400 and Garcia +320.
"We are now down to -340/+280 with over two times the money wagered and 8-to-1 in tickets written in favor of Garcia," said Pullen.
Pullen opened the total at 9.5 over -180 and under +160 and action has been minimal thus far.
Experts weigh in
Kelly Pavlik (former lineal middleweight champion): I see it as a 50/50 fight. Spence has the advantage of size and power and he’s a big welterweight, but don’t sleep on Mikey. People think he’s too small. Look at what Pacquiao did. People say Mikey isn’t Pacquiao, but why not? It’s not out of the question for him to win, but Spence is a really good fighter and I really see this as a toss-up fight.
Abraham Gonzalez (boxing sharp): Garcia will use his outstanding footwork and angles to avoid Spence’s big shots. Spence will use his jab to create distance throughout the fight, setting up his shots to the head and body. In the end, the judges will see it close, and Mikey will win via split decision.
Stephen "Breadman" Edwards (boxing trainer): Fight of the year! Mikey cracks Errol repeatedly with 1-2s and visibly buzzes him. But Errol starts to get to roll downhill around the sixth round. His jab and body punching are not winning the points but they are scoring attrition points. Errol does serious trauma to Mikey’s nose and the fight is stopped in the 10th in a thriller.
Jamel "Semper Fi" Herring (USBA Featherweight Champion): Very interesting fight and deserves all the hype and praise it’s getting, if I’m being honest. I respect Mikey’s confidence and hunger for stepping up to the challenge, but as much as I respect him for it, it’s hard to side with him in this one. Mikey is a really good fighter, but he’s heading into the fight against a really good fighter, who’s a dominant big man. Spence has been on a knockout streak, and I see his power and pressure playing a huge part mid-to-late rounds in this fight. Spence by unanimous decision.
Luke Chapman (boxing sharp): The size argument is obvious and valid, though the southpaw Spence’s skills are being overlooked by most. Mikey is a great fighter and we’ll be seeing him at his best for this. But whether it’s at range or in the pocket, Spence will eventually be too much for him. Spence by KO +110.
John "Iceman" Scully (boxing trainer): Mikey makes some very good points and it all sounds even logical. But sometimes when you over-analyze a fight you lose track of a bit of reality. I think it will be a better fight than a lot of people expect, but Spence is the boogeyman at 147 and I just can’t see him losing to a lightweight. Either he beats Mikey into submission or wins a clear decision in a better-than-expected fight.
Cynthia Conte (Ring TV Boxing correspondent): Mikey says he sees something in Spence he can expose. We know Spence is the naturally bigger, stronger fighter who has some wicked punching power but lacks some head movement and defense. Garcia is the more technically-sound boxer who’s very ring savvy with a lot of confidence and heart. But will he be able to take Spence’s power? This will be a chess match turned into a war! I think it’s a close fight and I do love a good underdog story and I think Garcia can pull it off.
Evan Young (boxing sharp): Mikey appears to be gaining quite a bit of favor from the general boxing public in recent days. I like Mikey, but Spence isn’t just a larger man devoid of skills. He’s an extremely strong, hard-hitting, quick and yes, much bigger fighter. I’m rolling with Spence. He’ll find Mikey, hit him with heavy shots and break him down for a mid-to-late rounds stoppage.
Percy Crawford (boxing sharp): Spence by eighth round TKO. All respect to Mikey for daring to be great, but he’s facing [a fighter] too big, too fast and too strong. Wouldn’t shock me if [trainer] Robert Garcia saves him.
Jim Karas (boxing sharp): Despite being a four-division world champion and one of the best fighters in the world, it’s a big ask for Mikey to go up to welterweight and beat Spence. Mikey has never fought at this weight before, and gives up three and a half inches of height and four inches of reach to Spence, who himself is a massive welterweight. The hill is possibly too high to climb for Mikey, and while I admire his courage taking this fight, I do not see this ending well for him. Spence is one of the most vicious body punchers in the game, and Mikey is both soft and hittable to the body. I expect Mikey to be competitive early on, but the sheer physicality of the much bigger man wears him down, and Spence gets a mid-to-late round stoppage win. I will be backing Spence by KO, TKO, DQ at +125.
Joey Odessa (boxing sharp): When the price on this bout opened in November 2018, players bet Spence. The opening line of -400 (4 to 1) moved as high as -500 (5 to 1) offshore before settling down and dropping back down to average market price of around -370. I’ll keep it simple. Garcia is a great undefeated lightweight moving up two weight classes to challenge a great undefeated welterweight. Everyone loves an underdog and Garcia fits the mold. Mikey is a live dog who won’t win. The bigger, younger, fighter Spence will preserve his undefeated record and get his 25th win Saturday night.
Michael Mohan (boxing sharp): This is a difficult one to call. Spence’s pressure will just be too much for Mikey. I see this fight being incredibly competitive until Spence takes over in the later rounds. Spence will win by decision or possibly a late-round stoppage.
Rich Marotta (Hall of Fame Sportscaster): While I’ve warned everyone against writing off Mikey because of size, I must now go along with conventional wisdom that Spence will be the victor. Garcia has magnificent technique, and he will have his moments, probably several of them. However I suspect Errol’s insanely effective body punching will eventually take its toll in wearing Mikey down, and combined with his great skills, will result in a Spence decision win.
Matt Andrzejewski (boxing sharp): Garcia is a great fighter. But Spence just has too many advantages and his traits are a level above those of Garcia’s. Spence has the faster hands, shorter crisper punches, better defense, hits harder and is the much bigger man. I see Spence getting a late stoppage with his consistent heavy handed attack and I like the value in the Spence win by knockout.
Jules Philippe-Auguste (boxing sharp): I am going with Spence via decision. I believe Mikey will have success early on with movement just like Brook did with Spence. Eventually, Spence will pick up the pace and take over the fight. Mikey is tough, so I do not see him being stopped. But, I think the size advantage will be too much to handle for Mikey going down the stretch.
Face to face
Spence: As an amateur, Spence won three consecutive United States national championships in the welterweight division. He represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics, reaching the quarterfinals.
The 29-year-old enters this fight with a 24-0 record and 21 knockouts. Spence, a Long Island, New York, native now fighting out of Desoto, Texas, sports an 88 percent KO average and has amassed 96 rounds in his seven-year career. He won the IBF title in May 2017 with a bruising KO over Kell Brook in the 11th round. Spence has defended his title two times with wins over Lamont Peterson in January 2018 (TKO8) and a first-round KO via body shot over Carlos Ocampo in June.
He is a southpaw and his moniker is I and so far his career has been nothing but the truth. Spence’s power and offensive arsenal is one of the best and most exciting in boxing. His vaunted body attack wears his opponents down. He has only seen the 10th round twice in his career and will be looking to showcase his skills in this massive showdown.
Garcia: He enters this fight with a 39-0 record and 30 knockouts. He has won titles in four weight classes (featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight). He is a highly intelligent fighter who doesn’t make too many mistakes in the ring, and his boxing IQ is one of the best in the sport.
The 31-year-old fighting out Moreno Valley, California, is under the tutelage of his brother and former champion Robert Garcia. Mikey started boxing at the age of 14 and won a bronze medal at the 2005 National Golden Gloves Championships. With an orthodox stance, Garcia has a 77 percent KO average and is a surgeon in the ring in the way he dissects his opponents, and his precision is spectacular.
In 2018 he had wins over Robert Easter Jr. and Sergey Lipinets. He is moving up to the welterweight division to take on one of boxing’s top talents in Spence. A win here could put him as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Betting the fight
The panel is backing Spence by 12-2 margin and one too-close-to-call from Pavlik. There are many reasons to back Spence but I feel Mikey is going to pull off the upset. He asked for this fight, and in my opinion he wouldn’t be taking the risk if he felt he couldn’t handle the move to 147. It won’t be an easy task, but if Mikey fights his type of fight he has a very good shot at the upset.
Pick: Garcia by decision +400.
— Joey Oddessa 🇨🇷 (@MMAOdds) 14 de marzo de 2019