By: Sean Crose
F Scott Fitzgerald, the famous American writer, once asserted that there are no second acts in American lives. This is notable for the fact that Fitzgerald sadly died before he could enter his own second act. In a sense, his words served as a self-fulfilling prophesy. Is Fitzgerald’s famous dictum true in all cases, however? Followers of boxing know the answer to be a resounding “no.” Fighters from Muhammad Ali, to George Foreman, to Bernard Hopkins have proven that American boxers can be far more than one act individuals. The story of Foreman – who went from ring heavy, to ring teddy bear, to Madison Avenue superstar – is particularly fascinating.
And now, with news that welterweight Danny Garcia is to be facing rising superstar Errol Spence Jr, fans can see if another second act of note may be at hand. While it’s true Garcia, at 35-2, is nothing if not a successful fighter, he’s no longer seen in the same light he once was. Losing a bout or two has that effect in the world of contemporary boxing. While he was once viewed as an undefeated, upper level (if not entirely ambitious) divisional bright light, competitive losses to Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman have sent the Philadelphia native into the B+/A- realm in the minds of fans and analysts. That can all change with a win over the 26-0 Spence, who is perhaps seen as the brightest star of a star filled welterweight division.
While no date has been set, no location announced, no contract signed, the Spence-Garcia match is as good as made. In the world of Al Haymon’s Premiere Boxing Champions, when two fighters are presented together in the ring before pay per view cameras, they are either about to fight that night, or are going to fight in the near future. That’s just how things are in the PBC universe (given recent buy reports, the strategy seems to be working quite well for Haymon and company). So when people saw Garcia standing before Spence after Spence’s victory over the wildly entertaining Porter last Saturday, fans knew a Spence-Garcia fight was on. They may have wanted Spence-Crawford, or Spence-Pacquiao, but they understood right then and there that Spence-Garcia would be next.
And, frankly, it’s not a bad match to make. Perhaps not pay per view worthy – at least on paper – but a quality matchup nonetheless. Garcia is a good fighter. A very good fighter. He also has a considerable fan base. The question now is, can he beat Spence, who is clearly an exceptional fighter? Garcia has shown what he can do before. Wins against Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan, and Paulie Malignaggi have proven just how effective he is. People view Spence, though, as another story entirely. As Floyd Mayweather has made clear, there’s levels to boxing – and fans and analysts currently view Spence as being a half or full level above most of the top names out there.
That doesn’t mean, however, that fans and analysts can’t be proven wrong. As Amir Khan learned in his 2012 battle with Garcia, all it takes is one good punch from the fighter known as “Swift” for things to end rather abruptly.