Spence Jr. not overlooking the smaller Garcia

Most view welterweight world titleholder Errol Spence Jr. as a significant favorite to defeat lightweight world titlist Mikey Garcia, who is making the audacious move to jump up two weight classes in an effort to win a belt in a fifth division.

But Spence, who will make his third title defense when they clash on March 16 (Fox PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas, swears he is in no way, shape or form overlooking his much smaller opponent.

"You can tell how I looked 10 weeks ago compared to how I look now," Spence told media members Tuesday during his media session at World Class Boxing Gym in Dallas, near his hometown of DeSoto, Texas. "I'm not overlooking Garcia. I'm in tip-top shape, slim and ready. The difference is that now in a pay-per-view fight you have to be more dedicated and focused to promote the fight, showing that you are a star in boxing and sports media."

The fight will be the first pay-per-view headliner for both fighters, each of whom ranks among the elite pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), a 29-year-old southpaw, is known to be dedicated in the gym, but Derrick James, Spence's longtime trainer, said the magnitude of the event has him at an all-time high in terms of focus and hard work.

"This has been a tremendous training camp. I've seen how hard Errol has worked and how motivated he is," James said. "He's extremely confident, and rightfully so. I know Mikey is going to come prepared, but so are we. Whatever Mikey brings into the ring, we're going to have the answer."

Spence won his world title on the road when he knocked out Kell Brook in the 11th round in his hometown of Sheffield, England, in May 2017, and has defended the title twice. He stopped former titlist Lamont Peterson in the seventh round in New York in January 2018 and mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo in the first round in June at the Ford Center, the Cowboys' training facility in Frisco, Texas.

But now Spence is taking on Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), 31, of Moreno Valley, California, a fighter with a much bigger name than those previous challengers and the rare fighter who called Spence out to fight. Spence is also facing Garcia in a high-profile stadium in front of a home crowd. Laid back by nature, Spence couldn't be more amped up.

"I'm really excited for this fight, especially to have it at AT&T Stadium. I'm 100 percent focused and ready for next week," he said. "This fight is going to have a bigger crowd, be more electrifying and will just be an amazing event overall. A lot of times when I'm in AT&T Stadium watching the NFL games, or watching [Manny] Pacquiao fight or Canelo [Alvarez] fight [in other bouts that have taken place there], the jumbotrons are so big that you get caught up looking up even when you're ringside."

Spence, who was a 2012 U.S. Olympian and has had many fights on major television platforms, believes a strong performance will help launch him into the mainstream.

"This is definitely one of those crossover fights for me," he said. "Garcia is the biggest name to date that I'm fighting on American soil. It's just great being so young in my career, fighting in my first pay-per-view and fighting with a guy like Garcia who brings over a different fan base.

"I put that pressure to look great on myself, not just because I'm undefeated or because everybody says this about me. I do it for myself to put on a great performance and a great show. I want to do that so great guys can look at me and think about if they want to fight me or not. That's why a lot of guys don't want to fight me."