22 Feb 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
It’s understandable that Errol Spence Jr. is a fan of the Dallas Cowboys because he grew up in Desoto, Texas, which is in Dallas County.
Mikey Garcia is from Oxnard, where the Cowboys hold their annual training camp. He, too, roots for “America’s Team.”
The fighters this week touched on that aspect ahead of their March 16 fight at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the Cowboys.
Apparently, it’s kind of a big deal to them.
“This is a dream come true,” said Spence, 29. “This is something that still hasn’t really hit me yet. I try not to get caught up in the moment, but this is my favorite team that I’ve watched since I was sitting on my dad’s lap.”
Garcia, 31, is equally jazzed.
“This fight deserves a home like this,” he said. “This fight deserves this type of atmosphere and energy. I was a Cowboys fan myself growing up and now I’m here in their home about to have the biggest fight of my career.
“It’s unbelievable, but here we are. I’m excited to make this a memorable night. This is history in the making.”
This is all well and good. But there is a huge question hanging over this fight:
Sid Garcia bite off more than he can chew in challenging Spence for his welterweight title?
Garcia has won titles at featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight, but Garcia is not even a big super lightweight, which is a weight class down from welterweight.
Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) is a natural welterweight and has fought at as high as 156 1/2 pounds, which is 2 1/2 pounds above the junior middleweight limit. Garcia at 39-0 with 30 knockouts is really, really good. But he’s moving up in weight against a big welterweight who also happens to be a southpaw. Oh, and Spence is really, really good as well.
Good for Garcia for daring to be great. To him, it’s the only way to roll.
“If I don’t take these risks, then I won’t be rewarded,” Garcia said. “I want to be recognized as one of the greatest and the best of this generation. How can I achieve that if I don’t take these risks? That’s why I’m taking the biggest fight available.”
Spence speaks as if a victory over Garcia would be a big deal for him, which says a lot about the smaller Garcia.
“Mikey is very difficult because of how he places his punches,” Spence said. “He’s always thinking and he has a high ring IQ. But I’ve been clicking on all cylinders. I’m strong mentally and physically and prepared for anything he brings to the table.
“A win here can definitely catapult me and I’m ready to make it happen.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones loves the scenario. Why? Of course, because both fighters love his team.
“These two fighters are uniquely associated with this stadium and the Cowboys,” Jones said at a news conference. “Errol Spence Jr. literally lives next door and is from this particular area. The last fight he had at The Star (in Frisco, Texas), he had his Cowboys gear on and made our players and myself so proud.
“Our home away from home, Oxnard, California, is where Mikey Garcia used to watch the Cowboys practice. We have a lot of kinship with these two fighters and our fans are in for a tremendous treat.”
This bout will be available on Fox pay-per-view.
DeGale vs. Eubank Jr.
James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr. won’t be fighting for a major title Saturday when they square off in the super middleweight main event from O2 Arena in London (on Showtime). But DeGale is a former world champion, Eubank once held an interim belt and apparently they don’t like one another, which adds intrigue.
DeGale (25-2-1, 15 KOs) believes Eubank is in over his head.
“Eubank is a tough fighter, he’s strong,” said DeGale, 33, of London. “He has a lot of good attributes, but I’m too good for him. To mix it up and go to the very top, you need more than strength and toughness. Every time he’s stepped up, he’s lost.”
Eubank, 29, is 27-2 with 21 knockouts. His losses were via split decision to Billy Joe Saunders in 2014 and to George Groves, who won a unanimous decision over Eubank in February last year.
Saunders later became a middleweight world champion, and Groves was super middleweight champion at the time he beat Eubank.
Eubank scoffs at anything negative DeGale has to say about him.
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“This guy is a bum,” said Eubank, of Brighton, England “He talks a good game. He’s going to have a good go, but at the end of the day I’m going to be too much for him.
“We are both at a stage where we can’t lose. We are both fighting for our careers. He knows he can’t handle me. He’s asking himself, ‘Can I survive?’ And the answer is absolutely not.”
Anthony Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KOs) of Flint, Mich., will take on Avni Yildirim (21-1, 12 KOs) of Turkey for a vacant super middleweight title Saturday at Minneapolis Armory in Minneapolis, Minn. (on Fox Sports 1). … Also Saturday, former champions Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (35-4-1, 26 KOs) of Oxnard and Humberto Soto (68-9-2, 37 KOs) of Mexico will tangle in the junior middleweight main event from Auditorio Municipal in Tijuana (on DAZN).