Former undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins has warned fight fans not to underestimate Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30) ahead of his ambitious attempt to wrest the IBF welterweight title from Errol Spence Jr 24-0 (21).
Garcia, a natural lightweight, will be making his 147-pound debut against Spence Jr this Saturday night at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“When I first heard that Mikey Garcia wanted to fight Errol Spence I didn’t believe it, then I saw press conferences and knew it was legit,” Hopkins told RingTV.com.
“But listen, anybody – and this is a quote – anybody who thinks this is gonna be an easy fight for Spence, they’re wrong, and I’ll be the first one to say, ‘Told you so!’.”
Hopkins believes both men will have their opportunities in a fight he sees as a genuine pick ‘em.
“This is a match where both guys have so many weapons that they can use,” Hopkins continued. “I think Spence has the slight edge, but he won’t necessarily be the winner. I think this will be one of Spence’s toughest fights and it will show whether or not he can reach superstardom, and the same goes vice versa.
“Garcia has experience; he’s been to the dance many times before and that’s important. Spence is bigger, but that doesn’t necessarily mean better. Garcia has all of the tools to beat – not upset – beat Errol Spence.
“In terms of styles, he has what it takes to win this fight, without ‘upset’ even being mentioned. If Garcia can take away the size advantage, we’re gonna find out early whether Spence has the goods to be this great champion of the future.”
Pressed for a prediction for the fight, Hopkins finally relented.
“It’s very close, and I think they’ll do it again, but I believe Spence wins this one by split decision,” Hopkins said.
“The winner of this fight can reasonably be judged as the second biggest star in the sport behind Canelo.”