By Jeff Zimmerman
In one of the most anticipated matchups in boxing in quite some time, unified welterweight champ and owner of the IBF and WBC strap, Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr.(27-0, 21 KOs) battled two-division world champ Danny “Swift” Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs), in his first fight since his horrific single car accident early morning last October in his hometown of Dallas. The fight was staged in front of a pro-Spence crowd at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, also the home of the Dallas Cowboys and shown live on Fox Sports PBC pay-per-view.
Spence, showed once again why he is still “The Truth” as he came right after Garcia from the opening bell and put on textbook performance to retain his titles with a fairly easy unanimous decision win by scores of 116-112 twice and 117-111.
The southpaw Spence used his solid pistol jab to keep Garcia at bay and his big left and right hooks to the body and head over the course of twelve rounds. The biggest question going into the night was whether Spence could take a big shot on the chin from the hard hitting Garcia since he had lost teeth during the wreck, but Spence showed he was good as new as he waived off the first punches landed with a hand gesture to his jaw.
Garcia had his moments and showed off his Philly pedigree by exchanging with Spence at times, but could never land consistently to do any significant damage. Spence cut off the ring and even had Garcia against the ropes in the 8th round and it looked like he wanted to finish the show, but Garcia hung tough til the final bell, showing the heart that made him a champ at 140 and 147.
Spence, 30, was coming off one of the biggest wins of his sparkling career in Sept. 2019 when he won a hotly contested split decision against Shawn Porter at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Spence picked up the WBC belt in the process to go along with the IBF title he snatched from Kell Brook in 2017. Former champion Garcia was chosen as next “mandown” for an early 2020 scrap, before a possible showdown with WBO champ Terence “Bud” Crawford, who happened to be in attendance ringside. This is a fight that many consider a toss up and the best matchup in all of boxing.
Spence wanted to prove to the world and to himself that he was back at the highest level by keeping Danny Garcia as his opponent.
“I didn’t want any tune-up fights,” Spence said in the build-up to the fight. “I wanted someone who is tough and who could push me to the limit, so I can get back to being Errol Spence Jr.
“I picked Danny Garcia so that I could rise to the occasion. I’m still the top dog in the division. Fighting Danny will show how great a fighter I am.”
Derrick James, the only trainer Spence has had since turning pro in 2012, has always wanted whatever his fighter wants, and even though Garcia was one of the top fighters in the division and a two-division champ, James was on board.
“Errol wants to be challenged and not only challenged, he wants to prove to the world that he is still the best welterweight,” stated James in an exclusive pre-fight interview with Fightnews.com.
The 32-year-old Philly native Garcia had other plans and was up to the challenge. He came to Spence’s hometown to show he’s a road warrior and can win under any conditions. His only blemishes on his resume were two narrow losses to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter in 2017 and 2018.
But Spence with his miraculous recovery in the rearview mirror, proved once again he is still “The Truth” in the welterweight division and all roads lead to Dallas, if there is any hope to crown an undisputed welterweight champ. After another big win at home, let’s hope a Super Bowl match up with Crawford comes to AT&T Stadium in 2021.