By: Hans Themistode
Errol Spence Jr. is against what many would consider normal in the boxing world.
Usually, after spending a prolonged amount of time on the sidelines, fighters have shown a tendency to return to the ring against less than stellar opposition in what can be described as “tune-up” fights. Although that’s become the standard, Spence Jr. wants no parts of it.
On August 21st, earlier this year, the unified welterweight champion was set to take on Manny Pacquiao in a career-defining fight. The smile that was spread across the face of Spence Jr., however, was immediately wiped away once he was forced to withdraw from their contest due to a detached retina in his left eye, which led to subsequent surgery.
While the Dallas native is likely to sit out the entire year, once he does make his return to the ring, he isn’t interested in taking any soft touches.
“I need to fight for a title next,” said Spence Jr. on his social media account. “Tune-up fights are for guys who are unsure of themselves.”
Spence Jr.’s refusal to face lesser-known names in his ring return is a blueprint he’s followed in the past. Following his September of 2019 win against Shawn Porter, Spence Jr. was involved in a horrific one-car wreck that left his vehicle totaled, and the 31-year-old nursing several injuries.
Spence Jr. would spend over a year out of the ring following the crash. In the mind of many, the proper path for Spence Jr.’s return was to take on an unheralded opponent. One that would present little to no problems in the ring. Spence Jr., however, rolled his eyes at the mere thought of facing a tune-up. Instead, he opted to take on former two-division world champion Danny Garcia.
Spence Jr.’s thought process behind choosing Garcia was motivational. With Garcia known as a notoriously hard puncher and top contender, Spence Jr. believed that squaring off against him would force him to steady his aim during training camp. By all accounts, Spence Jr.’s plan worked out perfectly as he went on to dismantle Garcia, winning a wide unanimous decision.
At the moment, the return date for the unified 147 pounder is still unclear. However, head trainer Derrick James has recently revealed that Spence Jr. has begun light training and plans on ramping up his activity in the coming months.
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