The best matchup of the year so far takes place this Saturday (March 16), as Errol Spence Jnr defends his IBF welterweight title against Mikey Garcia in a clash of unbeaten elite-level performers. With the fight occurring at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas – just a half-hour drive from Spence’s residence in Desoto – the southpaw champion will enjoy home billing on this TGB promotion. FansBet step back into the ring with leading fight opinion Boxing News with their betting preview and tips for the fight and if you are having a punt then head over to where the value is with our enhanced odds!
Much has been made of the fact that Spence possesses significant advantages over Garcia in height, reach and natural size. Whereas Spence, 24-0 (21), has fought his entire career at 147lbs, Garcia, 39-0 (30), has spent the vast majority of his down at featherweight and super-feather.
It wasn’t until the Californian returned in July 2016 from a two-and-a-half-year hiatus – owing to a contractual dispute – that he began operating above 130lbs. Since making his comeback, the Moreno Valley man has fluctuated between lightweight and super-lightweight, with his most recent outing coming at 135lbs – this being a unanimous decision win against Robert Easter Jnr in a unification bout eight months ago. Set to move up two weight classes this weekend, it remains to be seen whether Garcia’s yo-yoing between divisions will eventually take its toll on his body.
A four-weight world titlist, Garcia’s 2018 was more eye-catching than Spence’s, with his victory over Easter being supplemented by a unanimous points triumph over another previously undefeated rival in Sergey Lipinets (at 140lbs in March).
Spence, 29, meanwhile, claimed inside-schedule successes against the seasoned Lamont Peterson (rtd 7 – January) and the not-so-seasoned Carlos Ocampo (ko 1 – June). These contests marked the opening two defences of Spence’s IBF crown, which he ripped from Kell Brook via an 11th-round knockout on away turf in Sheffield in May 2017.
Garcia, 31, whose extensive list of victims includes notable names such as Orlando Salido (td 8), Juan Manuel Lopez (rsf 4), Roman Martinez (ko 8) and Adrien Broner (ud 12), boasts an impressive 77 per cent KO ratio. However, this is surpassed by Spence’s 88 per cent, which, of course, was compiled against far heavier opponents than Garcia has ever faced.
Keys To Victory
Despite their different frames, Spence and Garcia share many attributes, including adaptability, variety, timing, accuracy, patience and a highly effective jab. They are both top-quality all-rounders who are adept at countering or coming forward, and they each put their shots together well, especially hooks and uppercuts.
While both are intelligent movers, 2012 Olympian Spence is in the ascendancy when it comes to speed, body work and physical strength. The experienced Garcia has the edge in terms of energy and punch output, but he gets tagged more frequently than Spence, although he has typically demonstrated a solid chin.
Spence v Garcia Betting Tips
The old adage goes that a good big man always beats a good little man, and that saying should ring true here. Spence won’t have it all his own way, but Boxing News expect his size and skill to impress the judges enough to win around eight of the 12 rounds.
However, while many are quick to write off the smaller man, his exquisite skillset might just be too cute for Spence. The value bet is for Garcia, the underdog, to nick this one on points but, with quality like this on display, don’t rule out the draw which is usually handsomely priced.
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*odds subject to change.