Size doesn’t matter in boxing until it does. Betting on the welterweight battle between Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Spence is a case-study in determining exactly when such a thing takes place.
Spence is a terrific welterweight. Garcia has been excellent in multiple lower weight classes. And size is something novice of boxing betting fans tend to overvalue because they haven't been burned enough yet in picking one choice over another using a boxing betting strategy based solely around the physical dimensions of the fighters.
Spence-Garcia is the first ever PBC on Fox pay-per-view bout. The fight will be broadcast live on Saturday, March 16, from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas starting at 9 p.m. ET.
According to 888Sport, IBF welterweight titleholder Spence enters the contest a significant favorite at -425. Garcia, who has won world titles in four lower weight classes, is the underdog at +325..
Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) is one of the best fighters in all of boxing. The 29-year-old is ranked among the top-10 pound-for-pound boxers in the sport, and he probably would garner a higher ranking had he been able to secure more bouts against the other top welterweights.
That 147-pounders such as Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Adrien Broner have managed to avoid fights against Spence despite also fighting under the same PBC banner is a very good indication of what other fighters, managers and promoters in the sport truly believe about Spence’s ability.
He’s really good.
Spence has won his last 11 bouts by knockout. It’s typical for fighters to do that kind of thing early in their careers as they move their way up the divisional ladder. But even the best boxers in the sport run into at least a modicum of resistance once they achieve world rankings and title honors. Spence has blown through those doors with ease, so it seems safe to say the first person to truly test the Texan will have to be a special fighter.
Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) is a special fighter already. The only question that remains is whether he can be as good a welterweight as he’s been in the other weight classes. The 31-year-old was excellent in campaigns at 126, 130 and 135 pounds. His work there earned him praise for being one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Moreover, Garcia has gone 2-0 in fights against notable competition at 140 pounds. Overall, he’s won world titles in four different weight classes. The problem with backing him to win one in a fifth division has less to do with theoretical ability and more do with the actual opponent.
Because there are welterweight titleholders like Thurman and Porter, good fighters who wear belts around their waists as a testament to the plain fact that there are just too many world titles in boxing.
And then there are the likes of Spence and WBO titleholder Terence Crawford, fighters who would probably be capable of winning the 147-pound championship in just about any era sans Sugar Ray Robinson.
Spence isn’t favored over Garcia only because he’s bigger. He’s favored because he’s bigger and probably just as good a fighter as Garcia, too.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in promotional hyperbole before a big PPV fight like Spence-Garcia, but you should never gather data for potential betting angles from the people who are selling you the fight.
Spence was a big favorite at the open, and while there might be some late money on the challenger, the sharper money will either back Spence or stay away from the fight altogether.
Because there’s no relevant data to suggest Garcia is capable of upsetting Spence, and there’s even less to imply Spence’s career will halt its upward trajectory anytime soon. Backing Spence on the outright win market at -400 with 888Sport is the best bet on the board because Garcia doesn’t possess crazy speed or power in the lower weight classes and won’t suddenly gain it by moving up to 147.
The only real question is how Spence wins the fight. Backing Spence on points at +175 seems like good value in that Garcia has never lost a fight and is good enough defensively to probably just survive if that’s what he wants to do.
But will an undefeated fighter as tough and accomplished as Garcia really stop trying to win the fight if he finds himself in deep waters? Probably not.
That means the more compelling case is backing Spence by KO, TKO or DQ at +105 with Karamba. After all, Spence is a relatively large welterweight and even the toughest fighters can be felled by a single, well-placed body punch, the type of which Spence excels at throwing.
By taking the fight at all, Garcia has dared to be great. He won’t stop daring it against Spence even when he probably should, and it’s those counterpunching opportunities that Spence can exploit for the late stoppage win.
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