He’s baaaacck! Last night, Errol Spence, Jr. faced off against Danny Garcia at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Errol Spence was defending his WBC and IBF welterweight titles. More importantly, he was coming back 14 months removed from a horrific car crash which saw Spence Ferrari flip over multiple times and be ejected from the car before it ultimately crashed off the side of a road in Texas.
Questions were abound. What impact, if any, did the accident have on Spence? Physically, mentally, would we see the same fighter that beat all stars like Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia and Kell Brook? With last night’s performance, the answer is a definitive “yes”.
Spence and Garcia opened the fight with the customary caution and respect fighters display, the first two rounds saw Spence work behind a jab and Garcia look to counter punch. Each had their moments, with Spence having the slighter edge. The fighters started to let loose in the third round, closing the distance between each other. However, it appeared Spence jab only became more effective.
By the middle rounds, Spence’s southpaw jab caused Garcia’s left eye to swell. The effectiveness, admitted to by Garcia in the post fight press conference, telling the press “His jab was rangy and threw my timing off a bit, that was the key to the fight. Everything else I feel like I adapted to. The jab was the only thing that was better than expected.”
Known as a supreme counter puncher, Garcia picked his spots against the unrelenting attack from Spence, having occasional success with his counter right hook and body shots. However, Spence was the more accurate fighter, connecting on 26% of his shots to 17% for Garcia.
“I was trying to be more active,” said Garcia. “He did a good job taking away what I wanted to do. Everyone is looking for my left hook, so I thought my right hand could be the difference. I had some success going to the body with it. When two champions fight, one guy is going to be better on the night.”
The two welterweight elites continued to fight hard and throw big punches to the last bell, but it was Spence out landing Garcia in each of the last six rounds. After 12 rounds, the judges scored the fight 117-111 and 116-112 twice, all for Spence.
As with boxing, when one question is settled another arises. With the victory over Garcia last night, Errol Spence settled any questions surrounding his ability in light of his car accident. Now, it’s who’s next? WBA champion Terrence “Bud” Crawford was in attendance and salivating over a marquee fight with the likes of Spence. Manny Pacquiao chimed in with a congratulatory tweet. Even the likes of Canelo Alvarez has been bandied about.
Spence however is non-committal thus far. Adeptly side-stepping such questions and simply stating “It’s been a long year and a half, so I’m going to wind down for a week or two, then get back on it. I proved that I’m back and I’m here to stay.”
Yes you are Mr. Spence, yes you are.