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Facing “The Truth”

Behind Mikey Garcia’s quest for immortality

By John Zemel   - @intuboxing

Mikey Garcia knows he doesn’t have to do this. He knows that he has done enough for the sport of boxing to be a sure fire hall-of-famer when he hangs them up, regardless of what happens when he fights Errol Spence Jr. this weekend. He knows that as a multiple time four division champion with a 39-0 record that he doesn’t owe us anything. He doesn’t care. This isn’t about that. This isn’t a fighter facing his first true test or an old champion hoping to recapture the glory days. This is a boxing superstar in his prime on every reputable pound for pound list climbing two gigantic weight classes to face off against a man so feared in his own weight class that fellow champions won’t even say his name. We are witnessing a man willing to put himself through the most excruciating challenge imaginable, risking literal life, limb, and legacy to find out what he’s truly capable of in this sport. On March 16, when he finally faces off against the man they call “The Truth”, win, lose, or draw, he’ll find out once and for all where his limits lie. Or if he has any at all. 

This wasn’t supposed to happen. In boxing, when two fighters on the level of these two giants find themselves in each other’s sights, a sort of “marination” process usually begins. Both fighters begin mentioning the other’s names more and more in interviews. They show up to each other’s fights and make a big show out of calling each other out. It’s a bizarre dance that only exists in this sport that ultimately builds up to what is known as a “super fight”, a bout as intriguing and irresistible as it is profitable. Both Garcia and Spence already had such a process begin with other fighters years ago. It was common knowledge among hardcore fight fans that Mikey Garcia was building up to a potential showdown with Vasiliy Lomachenko and that Errol Spence Jr. was destined to meet Terence Crawford in the fight of the decade. However, with both of those pound for pound titans locked up in Top Rank’s hermetically sealed stable, Spence and Garcia have been forced to look elsewhere. That leads us to now, when two of the most polished, exciting, and feared fighters of the current decade just reaching the beginning of their earning prime with as much to lose as they have to gain put it all on the line. This isn’t for money, as both fighters could potentially have made as much or more with significantly less risk involved. This isn’t about politics, as far too many matchups are these days. This is for pride and for passion. This is the kind of matchup that made fight fans fall in love with the sport in the first place. 

Mikey has heard it all. He knows exactly why he’s such a significant underdog. It’s not lost on him what an insane undertaking he has embarked upon. There’s a reason his father and his brother/trainer Robert Garcia tried to talk him out of it. They begged him to take a tune up fight at 147 before facing the IBF Champion. Mikey doesn’t care. “There’s a lot at stake,” Garcia told Inside PBC Boxing. “But if I can accomplish this, I think I will be forever remembered for this reason... Winning this fight will forever cement my name as a fighter.” He knows what he’s risking and he continues to forge ahead. “I want to make history.”, he says. “I want to leave my name, my imprint on boxing.” On March 16, if he can handle The Truth, that’s exactly what he’ll do.