What is Next for Errol Spence?
By: Waqas Ali
IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr produced a masterful performance following his 12-round decision win against former world champion Mikey Garcia (39-1).
The bout took place at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in front of over 47,000 fans in attendance.
Spence (25-0) executed his craft, cynical and crisp jab right from the start of the first round and kept using that for the entire round.
Garcia, a former four-division titlist did very little in terms of the activity level. The 31-year-old did step up his tactical style in the second round. Arguably that was his best round and close round to give him.
Spence, who was in the third defence of the title, stepped up his pace and landed devastating hooks in the third round that shook Garcia in his position.
The 29-year-old mixed up his punches in the middle and later stages of the fight with sharp left hooks to the head and body.
Garcia doing very little to fight back.
In round nine, Spence aka ‘The Truth’ cornered Garcia to the ropes and landed blistering body shots.
Much of the later rounds were repetition to the previous one and despite Garcia not landing any more than 10 punches per round, he showed great heart and devotion to the ring.
According to Compubox, Spence landed 345 of 1082 punches (32%). This was the most ever punches he had thrown as a professional.
This was also the most punches ever landed on Garcia.
Garcia landed only 75 of 406 punches (20%). His previous five bouts, his power punching accuracy was at above 40%. However, against Spence, he landed at a low 28%.
Spence won every single on all three judges scorecard. Reading at: 120-107 and 120-108 (twice).
The question remains: who is next for Spence and can he conquer the welterweight division?
According to a poll conducted by well-known boxing page on Twitter called Editinking, out of over 5,000 voters, 47% of them chose Terence Crawford for Spence to fight next, 28% chose Pacquiao and 15% picked Keith Thurman.
🤔 Who next for Errol Spence?
— EditinKing Boxing 🥊 (@EditinKing) March 17, 2019
In a post-fight interview of the bout, Spence instantly called out Pacquiao, who could be in the works of fighting him in July.
“Manny Pacquiao would definitely be a good fight,” Spence said.
“I’ll definitely give him that retirement check that he needs. I’m ready in July,”
Pacquiao in response stated: “Yeah, why not? We’ll give the fans a good fight. I’m so happy to be here in Dallas and I’m hoping I will be back here soon.”
For Pacquiao, this is a unique fight for him – considering the fact that he would a huge amount of money from this and to end his career on a high note would be big for him and a learning curve for Spence.
A much bigger financial award for the Filipino could be fighting the bigger fighters in the middleweight division such as Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin or the Charlo brothers.
But that is highly unlikely considering the huge weight advantage they would have over the 40-year-old veteran.
Terence Crawford, as boxing fans in the poll above, voted the most to fight Spence, is the main fight that has been going on for over two years.
He’s got great styles and variations in his arsenal of weaponry. His style of artilleries consists of footwork, speed, restricted and defensive guard, height and accuracy.
According to Compubox review, Crawford throws around 48 punches per round and connects with a rate of 35%. That’s five percent higher than the average welterweight.
In the power punching department, Crawford throws around 22 with a connect rate of 48%. That is 11% higher than the average welterweight.
Crawford opponents landed just 7 punches per round- 10 fewer than the welterweight and just 5 power shots per round.
Another fighter that could be a challenge for Spence is former two-weight world champion, Amir Khan.
Khan is always up for a challenge and has never been backed down from any competitor. He’s fought the likes of Marcos Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera, Zab Judah, Paul McCloskey, Paulie Malignaggi, Luiz Collazo, Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia and Canelo Alvarez.
Khan is known for his immense speed with blistering combinations which has always been his strongest asset throughout his amateur and professional career.
He would certainly be a great matchup for Spence in late 2019.
Whatever the case may be for Spence, the names listed above and in the poll are no easy target to take on. He possesses great talent and has proved it in the Kell Brook fight and even against Garcia. He is a fighter to watch out for and definitely a star of the future. Spence deserves to fight the big names in his division and boxing fans both casual and hardcore will no doubt be supporting him.
Spence vs. Garcia: Keep that Same Energy
By: Kirk Jackson
“He’s a great champion. He’s the truth,” said Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KO’s) after a long, hard fought battle against the top welterweight in the world.
“He executed his game plan very well. He came out here with a good game plan and kept the distance in his favor. I couldn’t get my rhythm going, and he did what he had to do. I tried to make adjustments and he kept executing.”
The undefeated Errol “The Truth” Spence (25-0, 21 KO’s) executed a near-perfect fight in his first Pay-Per-View event. The defending IBF welterweight champion put on a 12-round boxing clinic in the battle of the undefeated boxers, winning by lopsided margins on all three judges’ scorecards (120-107, 120-108 and 120-108).
It’s fitting pound-for-pound greats Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were sitting ringside as this fight resembled some sort of passing of torch.
The wrongly perceived “Brawler” pitched a shut-out against a top pound-for-pound fighter perceived by many as the more intelligent and greater skilled fighter.
“Throughout training camp, a lot of commentators thought he was too smart and I couldn’t box as well as him,” said Spence, who called out Manny Pacquiao after his extraordinary victory. “I showed I can box and I can move my head if I want to.”
“The game is to be smart. It’s the sweet science. I had the size and reach advantage, so why not use it to take away the jab? It’s a weapon for me and it takes away one of his weapons.”
CompuBox credited Spence for landing 345-of-1,082 overall punches, 270 more than Garcia (75-of-406). According to CompuBox, Spence connected on 183 more power punches (237-of-464 to 54-of-218) and 87 more jabs (108-of-618 to 21-of-188). Stat of the night is Garcia never landed more than 10 punches in a single round.
Spence’s jab controlled the fight that can be deemed as a one-sided massacre. Working off his jab, the defending IBF welterweight champion landed powerful straight left hands and looping left hands around Garcia’s guard, piercing the four-division champion’s chin.
Renowned trainer and Fox analyst Joe Goossen, who appeared in favor of Garcia based on his commentary, even remarked on Spence’s ability to land the looping left hand in round 3 stating, “He’s starting to find that, that’s a punch that Mikey, as smart as he is, shouldn’t be getting hit with.”
The Texas native also displayed superior footwork in front of his hometown crowd of approximately 47,500. It was a frequent occurrence to witness Spence slip, block and outright avoid most of Garcia’s punches. There were even brief moments in the fight Spence switched back and forth between southpaw and orthodox stances, landing punishing punches in the process.
“The Truth” looked more like Marvin Hagler as opposed to Antonio Margarito and “The Truth” hurts. There were times late in the fight where Errol was digging nasty body shots and punishing Mikey, reducing him to a punching bag.
“My brother wanted to maybe stop the fight in the later rounds,” Garcia said. “He didn’t want to let me get hit more, but I told him I was fine and I tried to go out there and pull it off. I thought I could have landed one good shot to change everything, but I wasn’t able to land it.”
“We just went 12 rounds with a great welterweight champion,” Garcia said. “That’s a feat no one has done recently. I’m proud of what I was able to do. I have to go back and think about it. I will probably go back to lighter divisions, but we’ll have to think about it.”
While Garcia didn’t maintain the “Energy” required to execute his game-plan and exploit the weaknesses he claims to have analyzed regarding Spence’s technique, Garcia displayed a tremendous amount of courage.
He dared to be great. Mikey should also be commended for showcasing true sportsmanship along with Errol’s camp as well. Both fighters exemplify championship grit.
But there are no consolation prizes in boxing and it’ll be back to the drawing board for the Garcia clan. A move back down to junior welterweight or lightweight is more than likely in the cards for the four-division champion. As of now, the welterweight titles are not in reach and the same relates to his recent opponent, as we’re currently in the Errol Spence era.
Gracious in defeat, Garcia did not make any excuses and neither should the media or the fans; Spence deserves full credit for his victory.
Remember, Garcia stated, “Saturday night, Errol is going to find out why I picked this fight,” Garcia said. “All of my opponents say they don’t see anything special when they watch me, until they get into the ring. I have all the tools and all the skills needed to beat Errol Spence Jr. When it comes to timing, speed, reflexes and defense, you name it, I’m better.”
Spence offered his retort stating, “The size difference won’t matter. Skill for skill and talent for talent, I’m more dominant than him in every aspect,” Spence said in response. “I’ll beat him at anything he wants to do. On paper, he’s the toughest opponent to date but once we get in the ring we’ll find out.”
“Mikey is supposed to think he’s going to win this fight. He called me out, so they obviously think that they see something. I’m glad he’s as confident as I am. I hope he keeps that same energy inside of the ring.”
Spence certainly validated the opinions of the few of us in the media who thought he possessed greater skill and boxing ability compared to Garcia. He definitely kept that same energy before, during and after the fight.
Time will tell if someone can match his energy.
PBC on Fox PPV Results: Benavidez Stops Love, Spence Cruises Past Garcia
By: William Holmes
AT&T Stadium, the home site of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, was the host site of tonight’s PPV offering by Fox Sports and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
This was the first ever boxing pay per view offering by Fox.
The first fight of the pay per view was between Chris Arreola (37-5-1) and Jean Pierre Augustin (17-0-1) in the heavyweight division.
Augustin was seven years younger than Arreola and has never suffered a defeat as a professional, but he has never faced someone on the level of Arreola before.
Arreola started the fight off by coming forward behind his jab, but Augustin was able to land his jabs from the outside and touch Arreola often, but his power didn’t bother Arreola.
Arreola had blood coming from his nose in the second round, but he didn’t appear to be bothered by it. Arreola connected with a stiff jab in the third round that staggered Augustin, and he was backing away and looked wobbly. Arreola followed it with a combination that sent Augustin to the mat and down for a count of nine, but the referee allowed it to continue.
Arreola immediately jumped on the still wobbly Augustin and forced the referee to stop the bout.
Arreola wins by TKO at 2:03 of the third round.
The next bout of the night was between Luis Nery (28-0) and McJoe Arroyo (18-2) in the bantamweight division.
Nery is a talented boxer and is making his US debut. Both boxers were southpaws and Nery was able to keep his distance and land outland his opponent early on.
Nery scored a knockdown in the second round with a short left uppercut, but Arroyo was able to survive the round.
Nery scored another knockdown in the third round after a quick combination that sent Arroyo to the mat. Arroyo had a small laceration by his nose as the third round came to an end.
Nery did not look like he was concerned about the power of Arroyo at all and landed a three punch combination in the fourth round that sent Arroyo down again. Arroyo got back to his feet, but was sent to the mat again in the fourth round after another combination and he got to his feet as the round came to an end.
His corner didn’t wait long to stop the fight in the fifth round, as Nery wins by TKO at 0:10 of the fifth round.
A walkout bout between Lindolfo Delgado (8-0) and James Roach (5-1) in the super lightweight division was shown due to the quick stoppage of the prior two fights.
Delgado looked to be in superior shape, and he has stopped all eight of his opponents that he faced so far.
This bout did not last long. Delgado blasted Roach for nearly the entire round and sent him down for the ten count after a vicious combination that ended with a body shot
Delgado remains undefeated with a knockout at 2:59 of the first round.
The next bout of the night was between David Benavidez (20-0) and J’Leon Love (24-2-1) in the Super Middleweight Division.
Benavidez looked to be a lot taller than Love, and was able to avoid the jabs and body attacks of Love early on. Benavidez was able to land some heavy combinations on Love when his back was against the back of the ropes, and he had Love stumbling back to his corner at the end of the first.
Benavidez continued to pound J’Leon Love when his back was against the ropes in the second round Benavidez landed two hard straight right hands to the chin of J’Leon Love, who covered up and offered nothing in return to stop the onslaught.
The referee jumped in to stop the fight at 1:14 of the second round to give Benavidez the TKO victory.
The main event of the evening was between Errol Spence Jr. (24-0) and Mikey Garcia (39-0) for the IBF Welterweight Title.
The announced attendance for this fight was 47,525.
Spence was active with his jab in the opening round and Garcia was showing good head movement. Spence’s straight left was landing in the first and second rounds, but Garcia kept it close in the second.
Spence’s reach was a major factor in the second round as his jab kept Garcia at bay. Garcia was unable to solve the reach of Spence and took some heavy shots in the third and fourth rounds, as he landed some heavy power shots.
Garcia came out strong in the beginning of the fifth round, but Spence quickly turned the momentum back in his favor with a crisp jab followed by power left hands. By the sixth round Spence looked like he was running away with the fight and was walking Garcia down and in total control.
Spence continued to touch Garcia at will in the seventh and eight rounds and Garcia had no answer for the offense of Spence. Garcia was able to land a few counter shots, but they had little to no effect on Spence.
Spence looked like he was close to stopping the fight in the ninth round as he pounded Garcia from corner to corner, but Garcia was able to stay on his feet and grit his way through the round.
Garcia was warned by his brother/trainer Robert Garcia that he was going to stop the fight before the start of the tenth round if he didn’t’ show him a little more than what he saw in the ninth round. Garcia was able to land some punches, but still got pummeled by Spence through most of the round and didn’t really threaten his opponent.
Garcia needed a knockout in the final two rounds in order to win the bout, but in the eleventh round it appeared it was Spence who was going for the stoppage as he brutalized both the body and head of Garcia.
Even though Spence was comfortably ahead in the final round, his corner told him to go for the stoppage and he did, but Garcia was able to survive the fight.
Errol Spence wins by a wide decision with scores of 120-107, 120-108, and 120-108.
Afterwards, Spence called out Manny Pacquiao for a fight and Pacquiao appeared to willingly accept it.
It’s the Spence-Crawford Era, Garcia is Just Living In It
By: Ste Rowen
It feels that ever since the fight was announced, Errol Spence, IBF welterweight champion vs. Mikey Garcia, WBC lightweight champion has been laughed at in many corners of the boxing world, but as time has gone by, and experts have run the roost over each fighter’s prospects, the weight of opinion has shifted ever so slightly towards Mikey, making it a more competitive bout than initially thought and, just perhaps, leaning towards a Garcia victory.
Pundits predicting a Mikey win aren’t chancers hoping to shout about a call only an ‘insider’ would’ve been able to make – well, not all of them anyway – The four-weight world champion, Garcia has a legitimate chance, but only if he meets Spence on a bad day that the Texan has yet to have in the pro ranks.
In the build-up towards the mega-bout, Spence’s amateur experience has been too often overlooked. His style and performances earnt him a stand out position in the US boxing squad for amateur world championships and Olympics. ‘The Truth’ won numerous Nationals and qualified for both the 2011 worlds and 2012 Olympics; losing in the 2012 quarter-finals to the man who lost to the man, who eventually claimed gold. It was the same man who defeated Errol in the 2011 World Championship quarters, Serik Sapiyev.
Spence, 24-0 (20KOs) is the much bigger man by conventional welterweight vs. welterweight standards but it’s time for fans to stop overlooking the elite level that Errol has boxed and continues to box at. He has obvious power and it seems inevitable that he will, one day soon, find himself fighting at middleweight but Errol isn’t recognised as a pound-for-pound player by accident. The American southpaw fights off, what almost appears as, a hesitant jab; as if he’s attempting to lull his opponent into a false of security. But it’s the left-hand lurking, always ready in the background, that does the real damage. Against Brook, Spence’s left punished the home fighter to the body early on, and it told in the later rounds.
When ‘The Truth’ stopped Peterson in his latest bout, the jabs weren’t so hesitant, but the left hands brutalised the former world champion.
As a professional, Errol has reduced Bundu and Chris Algieri to journey men-esque opponents and forced Kell Brook to quit in front of a packed-out home crowd. Legit challenger, Lamont Peterson was swept aside without a second thought; you’d have struggled to find a single person giving Peterson a hope before that fight. It’s more the measure of the boxer that Errol is, than the level of his opposition.
Of course these are all thing Mikey and trainer Robert Garcia would’ve analysed and worked on themselves, but it doesn’t mean they will stop the Texan from implementing them.
Mikey has a solid chin, proven solid enough too in bouts with some of the best names, but then again, and there’s no nuanced way to put this, Slick-Mike does have an unusually large head. Does that help? Evidently. Will it be an advantage against the force of Spence’s punches, past evidence formed from Errol’s pro-bouts suggests not.
But Mikey sits in the top 3 – top five at least – of the pound-for-pound list for reasons that stretch beyond the fact that he can take a punch. Much like his opponent this Saturday, Garcia has magnetism to the way he fights. Both Mikey and Errol have constantly looked a cut or two above their opposition but at times it’s felt as if they’ve phoned in their offense. An accusation that could also be labelled at the shadow lurking in the background of this article, WBO champ, Terence Crawford.
Take the example of Garcia vs. Broner. Six months after crushing Zlaticanin, Mikey crushed Adrien Broner, but this time only on the scorecards, throwing the heaviest of punches early before seeing the bout out at a canter.
For Terence; the WBO king has taken the foot off the pedal on numerous occasions. Look again at his dominant showings over Viktor Postol to unify at lightweight, or his complete domination of Ricky Burns. The bully came out on both occasions, but the bully enjoyed his own work a little too much.
And in Spence’s case it wa-…actually, maybe that’s why Spence is seen as the top of 147lb, and why he’s the overwhelming favourite heading into this weekend. When was the last time he laid off his opponent after taking control?
Okay, cards on the table. I like Mikey Garcia. I really like Mikey Garcia. He’s seemingly always aimed for legacy over profit (not to say he hasn’t earned well from the sport), especially since returning in 2016 from, his almost three-year layoff.
He’s 39-0 (30KOs) heading into this weekend’s bout, and that’s no manufactured record. Mikey’s victims, just to name a few, include; Salido, Juanma Lopez, Broner, Sergey Lipinets and most recently, Robert Easter Jr – whilst constantly fluctuating between different weight limits.
And don’t forget that beautiful – many would say brutal – knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin in 2017.
His record is proof enough that the Mexican-American has it in him to possibly defeat Spence, but victory over Errol, though it might guarantee temporary P-4-P number one status, does not guarantee supremacy over the latest division he’s decided to fight in.
If Mikey defies the odds and defeats Errol, it makes him the IBF welterweight champion, but it doesn’t make him the universally recognised 147lb boss.
Whilst Terence Crawford, a champion of three divisions, remains undefeated, any welterweight that claims supremacy, including Spence himself, leaves themselves open to questioning. And being part of a separate promotional team just won’t cut it as an excuse.
For the winner of Spence-Garcia, true legacy-defining glory awaits in the bouts of the future.
Errol Spence Transitioning into a Super-Star
By: Kirk Jackson
Saturday March 16th is the day Errol “The Truth” Spence (24-0, 21 KO’s) has patiently been waiting for. The AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is the site where history will be written.
The biggest fight of the year (so far) featuring two undefeated world champions, two highly skilled fighters in their physical primes, one being Spence, the other Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KO’s), prepare to engage in battle, as the fight signifies as the launching point for Spence to propel towards super-stardom.
The seeds sowed years ago are beginning to blossom and take form. Traits attributed to both the fighting style and overall mentality of each fighter, helped transform this match-up on paper to a blockbuster boxing event.
Derrick James, long-time trainer of Spence believes this upcoming fight may catapult his fighter into a new realm of acclaim and may continue a trend witnessed in recent years with the best fighters facing each other.
“People get excited by the big fights and this one kind of reminds of some of those in the ‘80s we got to see,” James said. “Ray [Leonard], Tommy [Hearns], Duran, Hagler, they all fought each other. I think that’s the kind of fight this one is and hopefully, this one will be the start of something like it was in the ‘80s with those guys.”
Characteristics of hard work, consistency, impeccable timing, and intelligence – traits displayed effortlessly in the ring, each trait earned through countless hours of preparation and textbook execution. These very same traits implemented outside the ring as far as (fighting the right opponents at the right time, securing good management and promotional situations, maintaining high level of professionalism and focus).
One of the hurdles conspiring against Spence throughout his young professional career is the ability to secure big name opponents. Former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin arguably experienced similar issues. Both Golovkin and Spence notably been referenced by the media as the “Boogeyman” for each of their respective divisions.
Golovkin’s star shined brightly over the past few years and as he climbs in age, hopefully he can continue the trend of securing big name, elite fighters as opposition, heading towards his final stretch.
Ideally, it would be nice to see Spence land the big name, elite opponents, sooner rather than later and Mikey Garcia is a good start.
Correction, the misconception is Spence lacks quality opposition across his resume. Quickly assessing that notion, starting his career in November of 2012 and spanning across 24 fights, Spence faced and defeated three world champions – Kell Brook, Lamont Peterson and Chris Algieri respectively.
It’s not a large sample size, but Spence displayed toughness, grit and championship intangibles traveling across the pond to Sheffield, England, dethroning Brook en route to capturing his first world title.
“This takes me on right track to become the face of boxing, and become the #1 Pound-for-Pound fighter in the world.”@ErrolSpenceJr on the face of boxing, and filling the Mayweather void. pic.twitter.com/UiiJxhhC0v
— FOX Sports: PBC (@PBConFOX) March 13, 2019
Using the statistic of world titlists defeated as a benchmark, he trails in comparison to his pound-for-pound contemporaries; Vasyl Lomachenko defeated eight world champions, Terence Crawford defeated six world champions, Golovkin and Oleksandr Usyk defeated five world champions respectively and Mikey Garcia defeated 10 world champions entering Saturday’s match-up.
It’s why analyzing a fighter is case by case and more than numbers or statistics on paper. There are circumstances behind each fight – the condition of each fighter leading into the fight for example. There are circumstances behind why fights never form to fruition as well.
When assessing a fighter, the eye-test is important but taking into consideration the level of opposition is just as important. Spence and Garcia are fighting with something to prove to themselves and to the world.
Garcia is considered the best opponent to date for Spence and the notion of Garcia pulling off an upset continues to cultivate day by day. The lack of acknowledgement and non-appreciation of Spence’s skills continue to develop as well.
Garcia is the fighter observed in this match-up as the fighter with superior technical skills and intelligence. The Mexican-American fighter from Oxnard is regarded with such advantages, in spite of referring to Spence as a mirror of himself.
Something to keep in mind, Spence has greater experience as an amateur and competed as an Olympian for the United States in 2012. Advancing through the rigors of national tournaments, Olympic trials, the Olympics, exhibits a high-level of technical mastery.
Especially considering, Spence and the other amateurs in Olympic boxing from 1992 to 2013 (last year for Olympics -2012) fought under the Computer scoring system.
Five judges sat ringside with a keypad with a red and a blue button. The judges pressed a button for which ever corner they felt landed a scoring blow. Three out of the five judges had to press the button for the same boxer within a one-second window in order for the point to score.
A legal scoring blow was that which is landed cleanly with the knuckle surface of the glove, within the scoring area (middle of the head, down the sides and between the hips through the belly button), and the boxer can’t be committing a foul (slapping, ducking head, wrestling, holding, etc.). As long as the punches landed within the scoring area, they are legal and that included body punches, as well as those to the face/headgear.
No stranger to enduring a measure of under-appreciation from a skill standpoint, in his heyday oddly enough, middleweight great ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler was plagued with similar issues throughout his career as well.
Hagler of course, was revered for his unadulterated savagery inside the ring as well. Drawing comparisons to Hagler, Spence administers a measure of skillful brutality to his opponents.
The late former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier once told Hagler, “You have three strikes against you; you’re black, you’re a southpaw, and you’re good.”
The same applies to Spence – which may have served as a stumbling block to reaching the acclaim and stardom. Factors may also include the direction of the boxing market and how the sport overall is promoted.
The market can dictate the level of celebrity and fame amongst boxers and the audiences in respective countries worldwide. The television series Premier Boxing Champions, is bringing renewed mainstream exposure to professional boxing across various cable television networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) and their affiliated sports-oriented cable networks (ESPN, CBS Sports Network, FS1, NBCSN, respectively along with Spike and Bounce TV).
DAZN is another outlet – a subscription video streaming service dedicated to sports, offering live and on-demand streaming of events. More and more premier boxing events are filtering through DAZN and it is viewed as the way of the future by many.
With the stock of boxing continuing to rise with greater promotion and exposure, the time for Spence appears right as he aims to overcome previous obstacles laying in his path.
His opponent this weekend is the right opponent to display skills, showcase greatness and ascend to another level. Spence aims to carve his own path, but in many ways he is shadowing a similar path comparable to Hagler.
When Hagler was on the cusp of super-stardom, he had Roberto Duran to elevate his status. Spence’s “Roberto Duran” is Mikey Garcia.
It was Mikey Garcia, stepping up to challenge Spence shadowing the path of Sugar Ray Leonard or Roberto Duran, while other champions in Errol’s division appeared weary of embracing the challenge of the young IBF champion.
“I have all the tools and all the skills needed to beat Errol Spence Jr. When it comes to timing, speed, reflexes and defense, you name it, I’m better,” Garcia said. “I’ve got to go in there Saturday night and show why I picked this fight. I want to make history and this is the one that will get me there.”
“I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to win this fight. We trained very hard. We can go 12 rounds for sure. But, if I get a chance to hurt my opponent, I’m definitely going to jump on him and get the knockout.”
The fighter regularly avoided (Spence) is now in the target in this case. How he responds with the bull’s eye across his back is telling, because winning this weekend most likely assures he’ll be the target progressing forward. The winner can be the target progressing forward due to financial incentive.
Spence mentioned Floyd Mayweather and replacing the void he left upon retirement. When Mayweather campaigned at super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight, he was the fighter avoided by most because he was deemed as high-risk, low reward.
It wasn’t until his shining moment against the late Arturo Gatti and again against cash cow Oscar De La Hoya, that Mayweather’s stock rose to heights never witnessed previously. That very same fate may potentially bestow upon the winner this weekend.
Fighters are chasing the meal ticket. The pot at the end of the rainbow and as they should, they’re prize fighters as well as warriors.
The measure of focus appears at it’s the highest point, as Spence remains in the laboratory fine-tuning his engine in preparation for Saturday night.
Spence aims to be fully prepared as he engages in the fight of his life. In true Marvelous Marvin style-fashion Spence will wage war against Mikey Garcia – fellow undefeated fighter across four weight classes, a fighter seeking his version of manifest destiny, aiming to solidify greatness of epic proportions.
Hagler soundly defeated Duran in an entertaining, competitive affair, securing his spot as one of boxing best fighters and biggest attractions. Hagler’s victory over Duran led to greener pastures, as his star shined brighter and he capitalized eventually securing fights against Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.
“I wanna be mentioned with the likes of ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, Ali and Ray Robinson, Floyd Mayweather. I wanna be mentioned along with those greats,” said Spence.
“And I know in order to do that, I have to fight the best fighters out there and keep getting titles. Hopefully, I can be undisputed welterweight champion.”
True to form as he is shadowing the path of Marvin Hagler – Spence should emerge victorious over the weekend and the question is who is next in line?
Manny Pacquiao – albeit will not be considered Spence’s “Sugar Ray Leonard” is another prime time opponent serving as an additional catalyst to Spence’s emergent ascension to power. And another fight that may take place at AT&T stadium.
Which may fall in line with the long-term plans of Al Haymon (Pacquiao’s advisor) when Pacquiao signed to PBC. No matter what transpires with Pacquiao, he’ll always be fondly regarded amongst the media and a loss to Spence doesn’t hurt his cause.
The same situation presents for Garcia – if he loses this weekend he’ll be regarded as the brave fighter moving up two weight classes to challenge the “Boogeyman.”
The truth is, this match-up can be argued as lose-lose situation for Spence. “It’s a win-win for him – even if I knock him out in the first round,” says Spence in an interview with ESPN.
“They’ll say he’s too small,” Spence continues. “If I beat him up throughout the whole fight, they’ll say, ‘He has amazing heart for a little guy. Errol Spence is supposed to do that, he’s the bigger welterweight.’ So even if he looks good [in defeat], they’ll say, ‘The smaller guy looked good, he just couldn’t hold up the weight.”
Spence must win for his star to truly shine and he must dominate. Although he recognizes Garcia is a tough opponent, he also realizes his status as boxing’s premier star depends on defeating Garcia.
“On paper he’s the toughest opponent to date, but once we get in the ring we’ll find out,” Spence said. “I know I’m the best fighter in the world and I’m going to show it Saturday night. I’m going to punish him and make him wish he took his brother’s (Robert Garcia) advice to not take this fight.”
“This is an opportunity,” Spence continued. “Mikey Garcia is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He’s proven himself time and time again and he’s always out there looking to fight the best. So for me to fight a guy like that, that’s a chance for me to make a statement.”
Errol Spence Jr: Out To Prove He Is The Truth
By: Hans Themistode
IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr (24-0, 21 KOs) has been a dominant fighter in his short career. That dominance has led to him being nicknamed the truth. Yet truth be told it has also led to other fighters refusing to step inside the ring with him.
From very early on in his career it was clear that Spence would become a special fighter.In the Olympic Games he was touted as the best fighter there. He began to really make a name for himself with some of the most extraordinary sparring stories ever told. Believe it or not Adrien Broner was once a hot shot prospect who many viewed as an upcoming star. Rumor has it that Spence had Broner extremely hurt in a sparring session.
Say what you want about the personality of Broner but the man has an iron chin. Another story that made its way around the rumor mills is that Spence gave Floyd Mayweather a black eye in their sparring session. Many have came out to rebuke these rumors including Spence himself but several others have in fact said that these rumors are true which have led to a bit of credence behind the stories.
As Spence progressed through his career he looked like your typical great prospect. Place someone in front of him and he would destroy them. That is what a good prospect does. But there was something about Spence that made him a bit different. In 2015 while still building his reputation he called out then WBA Welterweight champion Keith Thurman. Call outs are normal in the sport of boxing but not from a fighter who is mostly known as a prospect.
Thurman didn’t take the bait, and neither did any other champion that he called out. Their reason was logical. Who the hell are you? Spence didn’t complain, instead he just got to work. Knockout after spectacular knockout ensued and the world began to take notice.
In 2017 he knocked out Kell Brook and snagged his IBF title in the process. He then brutally beat down Lamont Peterson in his first defense. Do we really need to say what he did to Carlos Ocampo in their matchup? Exactly, there’s no need. Spence proved to everyone that the hype around him was legit, but he was also becoming an avoided fighter. No longer did fighters not want to fight him because he lacked in name recognition. Now they just did not want to flat out fight him.
That was true until four division champion Mikey Garcia began to chirp in Spence’s direction. No one believed that Mikey actually wanted that fight. He would after all have to come up essentially two weight divisions. Many doubted he even wanted the fight but fast forward a few months later and here we are. What seemed like harmless banter between two fighters quickly turned into a match that has the boxing world flipped on its head.
Make no mistake about it, Spence has the edge at least on paper in power and size but that’s why they fight in the ring and not on paper. You may not think it but Mikey will become Spence’s biggest test. Sure he is coming up in weight but his place among the elite in the boxing world cannot be denied. This is the exact fight that Spence needed. For so long he had been calling out and hunting the very best and seldom getting a response. Now the tables have turned, he has become the hunted.
A win over someone the stature of Mikey Garcia will significantly raise the profile of Spence. For those that believe this will be a walk in the park clearly don’t understand the capabilities of his opponent. This is undoubtedly the biggest fight in Spence’s career. He doesn’t just want to win, he wants to dominate. Come March 16th Errol Spence Jr will show everyone exactly why he was nicknamed the truth.
Mikey Garcia: Underdog? Think Again
By: Hans Themistode
Mikey Garcia is a great fighter, that much is clear. He is after all a four division champion, undefeated in 39 professional fights and a constant fixture on every pound-for-pound list. With that being said, as it stands today he is a 5-1 underdog according to most sports books for his matchup against IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
What does that mean exactly? Well it simply means that the smart money is on Spence to win their upcoming fight. This would be the first time in his entire career that he has gone into a fight as the perceived underdog. Forget about the sports books for a second. What are the so called experts saying? How do they feel about the fight? Search the internet for as long as you like but you will seldom find someone backing Garcia in this contest.
It’s understandable. For as good as Garcia is, Spence is just as good. The only difference is that the Welterweight champion is a much bigger man. Spence is coming into this contest with a three and a half height advantage and a four inch reach advantage. Let’s also not forget that Spence is quite possibly the biggest Welterweight in the entire division. To see Spence fighting at Middleweight one day would shock absolutely no one. Come fight night Garcia could be outweighed by roughly 20 pounds. Fighting a much bigger man won’t be easy but it is something that Garcia has grown accustomed to. In his last contest he took on Robert Easter Jr who had a five inch height advantage and an absurd eight reach advantage. Garcia easily won by unanimous decision. What about his fights against Adrien Broner and Sergey Lipinets? In both contest Garcia was viewed as the smaller man. Each time he cruised to a decision victory. Size is important yes, but it isn’t everything. Be that as it may, none of those fighters that were just named can compare to Spence and his imposing presence. There is a reason why he is regarded as the best Welterweight out there.
By simply categorizing this contest as a great little man taking on a great big man, takes away from the skill that Spence has. He is extremely talented. For him it isn’t just about knocking his opponents out but also mentally wearing them down as well. His boxing ability isn’t given nearly the credit that it deserves either.
Spence is an outstanding fighter but Mikey Garcia is a masterful one. Did he need to move up in weight and take this fight against Spence? Absolutely not. He could have unified his Lightweight titles with Vasiliy Lomachenko in a matchup we all would love to see. Instead, he is taking the ultimate test to leave no doubt that he is the best.
Garcia has repeatedly said that he sees something in Spence, something that he can exploit that will lead to his victory. Great fighters such as Lamont Peterson and Kell Brook couldn’t find a way to get the job done and they are much bigger fighters then Garcia. Ultimately they just couldn’t take the power punching that Spence possesses. Will the smaller Garcia be able to withstand it? It seems unlikely, but then again Garcia actually getting this fight with Spence was unlikely as well.
Most fighters in boxing speak about wanting to be great. Few of them actually go out there and make an attempt at it. What we will be witnessing at the AT&T Stadium on March 16, 2019 in Dallas Texas will be a true pursuit of greatness.
Everything is in Spence’s favor. Height, weight, power you name it and Garcia is at a deficit come fight night but he does have an aura of invincibility surrounding him right now. One that feels as though he will pull off this massive upset.
You think Mikey Garcia is an underdog this fight? Think again.
Mikey Garcia’s Quest For Greatness
By: Sean Crose
Back, way back, in 1897, Bob Fitzimmons, a former middleweight champion, fought heavyweight champion James J Corbett for the title Corbett had won by knocking out bare knuckle great John L Sullivan. A single body shot landed under the Reno sun put Corbett down and led to Fitzimmons being crowned heavyweight champion. Many boxers – some might argue too many – have aimed for the kind of greatness Fitzimmons earned that long ago day. Some have done so organically, by steadily moving up in weight classes as time moves on, while others have engaged in considerable weight jumps.
For instance, Amir Khan jumped up from welterweight to middleweight in order to try to best Canelo Alvarez back in 2016. Although Khan did quite well for himself, a thunderous fifth round shot from the red haired star put the Englishman down and out in frightening style. A few months later, Kahn’s countryman, Kell Brook, also decided to jump two weight classes in order to face then middleweight king Gennady Golovkin. Like Khan, Brook did very well for himself. He did not, however, do well enough. Like Khan before him, Brook found he couldn’t get past the fifth round.
The most famous modern case of a known fighter jumping up in weight in order to attain greatness occurred in 1987 when Sugar Ray Leonard shot up to middleweight after almost three years out of the ring to outpoint iconic champ Marvin Hagler in highly controversial fashion. Mikey Garcia clearly wants to follow Leonard’s lead, albeit without the controversy, when he faces welterweight star Errol Spence Jr this weekend at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas for Spence’s IBF welterweight title. The 39-0 Garcia is jumping up from lightweight to welterweight in order to face the 24-0 Spence, who, at nearly 5’10, is big for a welterweight to begin with.
Stepping into the ring with a man close to four inches taller than him is clearly a daunting task for Garcia. The fact that Spence is exceedingly talented, with a murderous body attack, and a high knockout ratio to boot, also stacks the odds against the California native. Yet Garcia is nothing if not an exceedingly deliberate person. Just watching him eat meals on YouTube videos is a study in deliberation. In other words, Garcia most likely wouldn’t have chosen to go after Spence unless he had solid, highly convincing reasons to do so. To paraphrase Max Schmeling, Garcia most likely sees something.
It’s also worth noting that Garcia, ever the professional, has teamed up with Victor Conte, to train at the nutritionist’s Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning complex in California. The results certainly pass the eye test, as Garcia looks large and impressive in recent media photos. The real test, however, will occur in the ring this coming Saturday night. Fans will either witness history in the making…or witness history simply repeating itself.
Errol Spence vs Mikey Garcia LA Press Conf Quotes
Unbeaten welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. and undefeated four-division champion Mikey Garcia previewed their upcoming showdown and faced-off live on FOX at a press conference in Los Angeles Saturday as they near their battle for pound-for-pound supremacy that headlines a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event on Saturday, March 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Spence and Garcia were joined on stage at the press conference by a living legend, Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, who won titles in five weight divisions and fought Sugar Ray Leonard in one of the most memorable welterweight fights in history.
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX Sports
The event also featured an interview via satellite with Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager Jerry Jones, who shared his thoughts on the electrifying event coming to AT&T Stadium, before Spence and Garcia were gifted personalize Cowboys jerseys by two Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.
Tickets for the March 16 event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now, and can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.
Also in attendance at the press conference were undefeated former 168-pound champion David Benavidez and heavyweight fan-favorite Chris Arreola, who compete on the PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View undercard as Benavidez battles veteran contender J’Leon Love, while Arreola matches up against unbeaten Jean Pierre Augustin.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Saturday from Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
“I train old school so I don’t worry about how Mikey is planning to get stronger at the weight. I’m not worried about it and I don’t think it will make a difference in the fight. I’m just going to focus on what I have to do to be at my best.
“Size always matters, but when you get in there, at the end of the day, it’s about skills and intelligence. I’m not going to rely on size. I’m going to focus on my talent. If I can roll through him, then I’ll show my killer instinct and try to get him out of there. I’m going to use my ability to break him down.
“At first I thought he was just chasing my name when he was calling me out. Once it became real, I saw how serious he was. At that point I was very confident it would happen.
“I’m not the bully here because Mikey really pushed for the fight. The other champions weren’t available at the time, plus Mikey is the only top fighter who called me out. I knew this was a fight I wanted.
“Mikey is undefeated, has a great skill set and has won a title at 140-pounds. I don’t see him as that small a fighter. He has a technical style that’s very traditional. He likes to use angles to set his opponent’s up.
“We’re focused on what I can do and what our game plan is. I always spar the same people no matter what because they get me into the condition I need to be in and they have me primed for any challenge.
“The welterweight division has always been one of the strongest divisions in the sport and it is like that now. We just need to fight each other. I’m ready to fight any of them. Whoever ends up on top from this group, will end being a Hall of Famer. That’s how you become an all-time great.
“This is something I’ve been waiting for my whole life. I’m focused and prepared for this challenge. It’s going to be all eyes on me and Mikey in that ring and I can’t wait.
“I’m happy that someone is challenging me. I’ve been looking for an opponent like him. He’s established himself in this sport. I’m happy to be able to take on this challenge. I’m looking for a skillful Mikey Garcia to bring the best out of me on March 16.
“My vision is that my hand will be raised in victory, whether it’s a knockout or a 12-round grueling fight, I’m preparing for the best Mikey Garcia skill wise, strength wise and as far as his ring intelligence.”
“These are the kinds of challenges I want. I need someone like Errol Spence Jr., with his demeanor and style, to bring the best out of me. I want the world to finally see the full Mikey Garcia.
“The training that we did in the Bay Area definitely helped me. We are going up in weight and needed to do a different type of training. We wanted to make sure that we gained a little bit of mass so that I can be able to hold off Errol Spence’s weight and strength.
“The key to my strength training was that we didn’t want to lose my speed and explosiveness. I can see now that I’m back in sparring that I still have that speed while also gaining the muscle we had to.
“If people say Errol is bigger, that’s just obvious. But who’s faster? Who has better timing? There’s a lot more that goes into this sport and who’s going to win this particular fight.
“This has been one of the toughest camps I’ve ever had. We’re working on a lot of different methods and techniques to be at our very best. He’s going to be bigger than me on fight night, but that’s part of the challenge. I’ve know that since the beginning and that’s why we’ve trained the way we have.
“When I saw him fight Lamont Peterson I decided that Errol Spence Jr. was the fight I wanted one day. People tried to talk me out of it, but now they’re all on board. People have now started to see what I’m going to be capable of on March 16.
“I want the best Errol Spence Jr. I know he’s a great fighter with a lot of skills and talent. He hasn’t needed to use all of his skills, just like me. He does everything well, but nothing spectacular. I just feel like I’m the better fighter. I think I have the advantage everywhere except maybe power, but we’ll find out on fight night.
“This is history in the making. I’m trying to establish a great legacy. This is the kind of fight that I need. I know my fans are going to show up and give me a lot of support. This fight truly excites me and motivates.
“I’m not going to let this fight slip away. I’m going to establish myself as one of the best of the generation and eventually one of the best of all time.
“Even though some people believe I’m the underdog, I don’t see myself that way. I’m undefeated and I think Errol knows that I pose a challenge. It’s no easy task for either one of us. This is the fight that I need for my legacy.”
DERRICK JAMES, Spence’s Trainer
“This fight is all about the skillset, not the size. Size will come into play a little bit, but we’re going to show the skillset that we have to beat this guy. That’s what Errol is going to show.
“Mikey Garcia has a good technical style. But there’s always a method to take down a great fighter. I think that a day like today will inspire us even more to work even harder. We can see him right in front of us. Its real and we can’t wait.
“When I first saw Errol we were actually sparring each other. We started working together and I got to see him walk through guy after guy. We knew he was a great athlete, but it took time to build to where I started to realize he was something special.”
ROBERT GARCIA, Garcia’s Brother & Trainer
“This is a big challenge for us to go up in weight to fight the best welterweight in the world. But it’s not like its’ never been done before and I know Mikey has the skills and power to pull it off. That’s what we’re coming to Dallas to do.
“This is an opportunity for Mikey to continue building his legacy. He wants to be known as one of the greatest fighters of all time and a win over Errol Spence Jr. is a big step toward that.
“I don’t think they’ve overlooking Mikey. “They know the talent he has. They’re getting ready for a great fight like they’ve done before. I think they know that they’re in for a real fight.”
“I’m back here in this stage and that’s all that matters. I’m living and learning. I can’t wait to be in position to again fight for the world title.
‘I actually sparred with J’Leon Love when I was 15-years-old. He’s a great fighter who’s a veteran. I’m not overlooking him. I’m training for this fight like it’s a world title fight. Whatever style he comes with, I’m going to be ready for it.
“I’m better than ever. Everything has been a lesson learned. I had to sit out while I lost my spot, so now I’m more motivated than ever. This year we’re leaving the past in the past and coming back stronger.”
“I’m excited to be back. It was a long layoff where I spent time with my son and watched him grow. I missed that feeling of being in front of fans and getting that nervous energy right before a fight.
“I’m anticipating and I’m hoping for a rowdy crowd on March 16. There will be a lot of Spence and Garcia fans and a whole lot of great fights. Us Mexicans, we love fights.
“I know that my opponent is a southpaw and he’s slick. He’s going to try to out box me. I know he’s not going to want to stay in my wheelhouse. I have to be in shape to go the distance and be ready for shots coming from different angles.”
JERRY JONES, Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager
On hosting Spence and Garcia at separate Cowboys home games last season:
“It was just good to rub elbows with champions. I want all that they have to rub off on me and the Dallas Cowboys.
“The fact that FOX is involved and their interest in this fight is amazing. We’ve had great events with FOX, including the Super Bowl. Our stadium was really built for boxing. These fighters will be standing 70 feet tall suspended above the ring on the video board. It’s an excellent way to feel like you’re so close you’re receiving the blows from these great fighters.
“We’re so excited for our Mexican-American fan base. This is a great area for boxing. We endear ourselves to be involved with an event like this in anyway the Cowboys can. Especially with two great fighters like Spence and Garcia.
“I think you’ll see a fight with outstanding champions involved on March 16. You don’t get to see the best against the best very often. At AT&T Stadium, you’ll see it in a way that can’t be matched at normal sports venues. The aura of having thousands of fans like at a football game is unmatched. It’s a grand experience and we’re proud to be a part of boxing.”
RICHARD SCHAEFER, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports
“The winner of this fight will be pound-for-pound the best in the world. Everybody would agree both of these guys are near the top of that list, and I believe whoever wins will be number one. This is a coronation for who is today the king of the sport.
“Mikey Garcia is technically one of the best fighters in the world. Errol Spence Jr. is a strong, determined fighter who just wants to prove that he’s the best. This fight is a chance for both guys to prove they’re the best in the world.”
TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions
“This is a true blockbuster event, worthy of this incredible press conference live on FOX. These two fighters are not only superstars of the sport, but the winner of this fight will be able to make the claim of being number one pound-for-pound.
“FOX and the Dallas Cowboys have given a tremendous amount of support to this event and we anticipate an unforgettable evening on March 16. Mikey Garcia is truly daring to be great against a fighter in Errol Spence Jr. who has established himself as the class of the 147-pound division.”
Unbeaten Welterweight World Champion Errol Spence Jr. to Face Undefeated Four Division World Champion Mikey Garcia on PBC on FOX Sports PPV
Unbeaten IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. defends his title against undefeated four-division champion Mikey Garcia in a highly anticipated and historic showdown for pound-for-pound supremacy that headlines a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event on Saturday, March 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The four-fight pay-per-view card will also see unbeaten former super middleweight world champion David Benavidez taking on veteran contender J’Leon Love in a 10-round showdown, undefeated former 118-pound champion Luis Nery battling former champion McJoe Arroyo in a 10-round attraction and fan-favorite Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola facing unbeaten Jean Pierre Augustin for 10-rounds of action.
Tickets for this showdown, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now, and can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.
Spence and Garcia will go face-to-face on Saturday, February 16 at a press conference in Los Angeles that will air live on FOX from the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT. The press conference is open to ticket holders for the Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rafael Rivera featherweight championship fight.
On Tuesday, February 19, Spence and Garcia will square off at a press conference from
AT&T Stadium where they will finally go toe-to-toe on March 16.
Garcia is stepping up two weight classes from his last fight to challenge Spence for the welterweight title in Spence’s backyard, not far from the Dallas suburb of DeSoto where Spence grew up a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan. Garcia will be fighting in Texas for the ninth time as a pro and figures to be buoyed by the large contingent of Mexican and Mexican-American fans that will be in attendance.
His task has historical parallels to the paths taken by great fighters like Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, who all moved up multiple weight classes to challenge all-time great welterweights. Mosley and Pacquiao were both successful in moving up from lightweight to defeat Oscar De La Hoya, while Marquez’s rise to welterweight was halted in a decision loss to Floyd Mayweather.
Spence is a power-punching welterweight who has stopped his last 11 opponents heading into this intriguing matchup against the brilliant tactician that Garcia has established himself as. With a clash of two superb boxers in the prime of their careers and squarely in the top-five of the mythical pound-for-pound rankings, the winner can stake a claim as the best boxer in the sport today.
“Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia is a matchup of two highly-skilled and accomplished fighters in a true blockbuster showdown,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Fans will get to see the hometown hero Spence against the Mexican-American superstar Garcia with huge contingents of fans uplifting them to put on a performance to match the moment. Combined with a jam-packed pay-per-view undercard of action fights, this has all the makings of a once-in-a-lifetime event.”
“Spence vs. Garcia is an event that transcends boxing and is a coronation that will crown the new ‘King of Boxing,'” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports. “In addition to the main event, fight fans will be treated to a spectacular night of boxing featuring three of the most exciting Mexican fighters in the sport in David Benavidez, Luis Nery and Chris Arreola. This is exactly what a pay-per-view card is and should be all about: entertainment and non-stop action from the first bell to the last!”
“We are proud to host a boxing match of this magnitude with Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia,” said Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager Jerry Jones. “AT&T Stadium was built to house the greatest sporting events on the planet, and we feel we have another incredible boxing event on the horizon with this matchup in our building on March 16.”
Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) is no stranger to big stadium events as he won the IBF title by traveling to England to take on then-champion Kell Brook at Bramhall Lane soccer stadium on May 27, 2017. In front of a raucous crowd of over 27,000 loyal Brook supporters, the 28-year-old Spence stopped Brook in round 11 to wrest away the title.
This will be Spence’s third defense of the title. After beating Brook, he successfully defended it with an eighth-round stoppage of two-division champion Lamont Peterson and then knocked out mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo in the first round in his last fight at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, near his hometown of Desoto, Texas on June 16. Spence turned pro shortly after representing the U.S. at the 2012 London Olympics with much promise and rose to the championship ranks with wins over former champion Chris Algieri and veteran contenders Leonard Bundu, Alejandro Barrera and Chris van Heerden.
“I can’t wait for March 16th. It doesn’t get bigger than this,” said Spence. “Fighting at AT&T Stadium in my hometown is a dream come true. If I beat Mikey Garcia the way I plan on beating him, I will be the guy in the sport. This is my year and Mikey isn’t going to stop me. I am training like this is the biggest fight of my life and I want to put on a great show for the fans and win convincingly.”
Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) is striving to put together a legendary career and is aggressively pursuing that goal. He has won world championships at featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight. He now eyes a welterweight title against the consensus class of the division in Spence. Fighting out of Moreno Valley, California, Garcia unified the IBF and WBC Lightweight World Championships in his last bout by scoring unanimous decision victory over Robert Easter, Jr. on July 28.
The 31-year-old first reached the championship ranks by blitzing through the featherweight and junior lightweight division, defeating Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez, Roman Martinez and Juan Carlos Burgos to establish himself as a star in the sport. Garcia has been on a fast track since ending a nearly 2-1/2-year hiatus with a knockout victory over Elios Rojas in 2016. After the victory over Rojas, Garcia scored a KO victory over Dejan Zlaticanin for the WBC lightweight championship in January 2017, before defeating four-division champion Adrien Broner in July and then captured a title at 140-pounds by dropping and defeating Sergey Lipinets last March.
“In my career I’ve always sought to fight the best in boxing and this fight against Errol Spence Jr. is just that,” said Garcia. “I want to be known as one of the all-time greats and what better way to do that than to win a welterweight title and become a five-division world champion. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Errol and what he’s accomplished, but I fully expect to leave the ring at AT&T Stadium with the welterweight world title. This is a match that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and I plan on giving the fans a performance they’ll never forget.”
The 22-year-old Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) became the youngest fighter to ever win a super middleweight title in 2017 when he defeated Ronald Gavril at just 20-years-old. Fighting out of Phoenix, Benavidez’s older brother Jose is also a pro fighter who challenged Terrence Crawford last year. Benavidez most recently won a rematch against Gavril last February, and as WBC “Champion in Recess” he will look to reclaim his belt against the winner of the Anthony Dirrell vs. Avni Yildirim bout for the vacant title on February 23.
Born in Detroit but fighting out of Las Vegas, Love (24-2-1, 13 KOs) has long been amongst the top contenders at super middleweight and most recently lost a decision to Peter Quillin in August. The 31-year-old had been previously unbeaten in seven bouts heading into the contest against Quillin.
Currently riding a nine-fight knockout streak, Nery (28-0, 24 KOs) will look to get one step closer to a fight to regain a bantamweight title when he steps into the ring March 16. The 24-year-old from Tijuana, Mexico twice traveled to Japan and stopped Shinsuke Yamanaka in WBC title fights. In 2018 he stopped Jason Canoy and Renson Robles heading into his U.S. debut against Arroyo.
A 2008 Olympian for his home country of Puerto Rico, Arroyo (18-2. 8 KOs) captured a 115-pound championship with a technical decision over Arthur Villanueva in their 2015 clash. After dropping decisions against Rau’shee Warren and Jerwin Ancajas, the 33-year-old most recently defeated Sander Diaz last June.
An exciting brawler inside the ring, Arreola (37-5-1, 32 KOs) is well-known for challenging the best heavyweights in the sport throughout his career, and for becoming a popular attraction in and around his native Los Angeles for his fighting style and persona. The 37-year-old faced the likes of Vitali Klitschko, Tomasz Adamek, and Bermane Stiverne, before challenging Deontay Wilder for his title in 2016. After a brief retirement, Arreola returned to stop Maurenzo Smith last December.
Unbeaten and fighting out of Louisville, Augustin (17-0-1, 12 KOs) will face his toughest and most experienced test to date in Arreola. Born in Haiti, Augustin turned pro in 2014 and has steadily climbed up the heavyweight rankings.
Somebody’s 0 Has Got to Go: The Top Three Fights Fans Want to See
By: Oliver McManus
“Somebody’s 0 has got to go”, it’s possibly the most used phrase in modern boxing. Mind you, if David Diamante has his way it will soon become “let’s nix a nil” but the premise remains the same, two unbeaten fighters putting their records on the line in, hopefully, guts-and-glory encounters.
Don’t get me wrong, a loss doesn’t make you a bad fighter and beating an unbeaten man doesn’t, equally, make you a star player in the sport. As we’ve seen recently there have been a fair few damp squibs when it comes to unbeaten vs unbeaten – Andrade vs Kautondokwa, anyone?
Nonetheless there are plenty of mouth-watering fights in prospect and these are three fights I want to see, at world level, where someone’s 0 has got to go…
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk – Heavyweight
Where better place to kick off than in the heavyweight division? Anthony Joshua has had things pretty much his own way at the top of the game since winning his first world title – sanctioned by the IBF- in 2016. Since that capitulation of Charles Martin, Joshua has fought in six world title bouts and added the WBA, WBO and IBO straps to his collection.
With a touted fight against Deontay Wilder falling by the wayside – take whoever’s side you want on that thorny issue – Joshua is next out on April 13th, at Wembley, with an opponent yet to be scheduled in.
But I’ll be honest, the tag of undisputed aside, I’d much rather see AJ in with the man who holds all of the cruiserweight belts and, arguably, one of the best in the world pound for pound. Usyk seems to me, and many others, the toughest challenge that Joshua can face.
Technically he is sublime and he possesses the heavyweight power required to take Joshua into deep water but, let’s not forget, Usyk has amateur pedigree in the heavier division so it’s not like he’s inexperienced at the weight. Even having said that experience wouldn’t be an issue for someone of such natural quality as Usyk for his fight IQ and ring-ability transcends weight classes.
Coming off the back of a breezy fight against Tony Bellew in which, if we’re honest, he never looked out of control the natural step is for Usyk to go up to heavyweight. Joshua, we know, is searching for “legacy defining” fights and a bout against Oleksandr Usyk is about as big as they come.
The fight seems the most realistic, out of all the big heavyweight contests, with Eddie Hearn taking an active involvement in the promotion of the Ukrainian powerhouse so, fingers crossed, we could see a blockbuster event next year.
Winner of Errol Spence Jnr and Mikey Garcia vs Terence Crawford – Welterweight
Announced last week is the fight that, if we’re honest, made no real sense. Mikey Garcia was the man we all wanted to see fight Vasyl Lomachenko and Errol Spence was the champion looking to unify with Terrence Crawford.
The IBF Welterweight title will be on line come March 16th with Garcia looking to become a five weight champion in his 40th fight. A frighteningly skilled boxer, the California native has continually proved his credentials with a frightening knockout power.
In his last three fights Garcia has been extended the distance but has boxed with class throughout the 36 rounds, controlling the pace of the fight and manouvering his way out of danger with a comprehensive ease.
Errol Spence Jnr goes into the bout with an obvious weight advantage – fighting 12lbs heavier than the division in which Garcia actively holds a world title. 2 years the younger man, Spence burst onto the scene in 2016 with knockout victories over Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu.
Having captured the IBF crown with a ferocious victory against Kell Brook, in Sheffield, the Texas-man has defended the belt twice in equally terrifying fashion. A non-stop work rate with continual punch output, if you let the champion unfurl his hands then you’re going to be in trouble.
And whilst the question of weight will loom over the bout until fight night, Garcia is a consummate professional and an outstanding athlete. For a man trying to prove his ability in the welterweight division, there could be no better way to silence the critics than claiming a world title in your first fight so that’s where Terence Crawford comes into play.
Errol Spence is the man that people wanted to see in a unification class with Bud, they would produce a scintillating fight. If Mikey Garcia is able to overcome such a challenge then he will have instantaneously justified getting a fight with the WBO champion.
All roads lead to unification, or so they… bring it on!
Artur Beterbiev vs Dmitry Bivol – Light Heavyweight
We’ll deal with the younger boxer first in Dmitry Bivol who ticked over towards the back of 2014 with a Bronze Medal at the 2008 Youth World Championships and a Gold Medal at the 2013 World Combat Games. A two time Russian national champion with a record of 268-15, his amateur pedigree was impressive but paled in comparison to his counterpart.
As a professional, though, the 27 year old really turned up the heat by claiming the first, major, belt of his career in just his fifth fight. The knockout power we all enjoy was evident from the first second of his debut but, with that, he’d find opponents looking to hold and just survive through the early phases. Not that that mattered, Bivol has always found ways of punishing his opponent.
Even when he has been stretched the distance – three times in 14 fights – the Kyrgyzstan-born man has always looked in complete control with an array of power punches as well as technical skill. Of course we’ll all remember his fierce one-punch knockout over, admittedly over-matched, Trent Broadhurst that saw Bivol claimed champion.
Successful defences against Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba have followed – he next fights Jean Pascal on the 24th – but surely the Russian will be eying up the options for unification come the turn of the year.
Beterbiev, on the other hand, turned pro in the middle of 2013 and initially built up a strong following in Canada – the elite amateur (World Champion & runner up, two-time European champion) had moved to Montreal in order to purse his professional ambitions.
At 5 and 0 he stepped up to face Tavoris Cloud – a former IBF champion – and dealt with the threat of the American, coming off a world title loss, in convincing fashion. The momentum from this bout seemed to follow as Beterbiev looked to fight better opponents at every opportunity possible.
A refreshing attitude of “fight who’s in front of me and knock them out” has ensured success with all thirteen of his wins coming via an early stoppage. A grizzly fighter, that’s the best way to describe it, Beterbiev never looks the fastest of opponents but, boy, does he have vicious punch power.
Typically standing with his hands at shoulder level, the 33 year old stands ready to pounce and is mature enough not to go out all-guns-blazing. The IBF champion won his title against Enrico Koelling last November and, in a fight that ended in the 12th, boxed patiently and calmly to do so.
Two unbeaten Russian powerhouses, slugging it out to unify light heavyweight world titles… what more could you ask for?
Crawford Won’t Get Spence Until……
By Rich Mancuso
The boxing fan deserve this fight as do Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.. This is asking the improbable with these obstacles of duel promotions and televised streaming rights. However a fight of this magnitude to unify portions of the welterweight titles and determine the pound-for-pound best is bound to happen.
Because it’s boxing, and the promotional fight has picked up a bit, they have to come to an agreement. Or do they?
But for this to happen there also needs to be unity with the respective promoters and of course the personnel who would be involved with networks and rights to televise this potential mega fight.
Photo Credit: Terence Crawford Twitter Account
And with boxing, a fight like this can be done. Then again it becomes a waiting game of back-and-forth and someone giving in with a late punch in the final round. With Top Rank and the PBC, obviously the main principals to deliver this also falls into the lines of boxing politics.
Boxing politics has never stopped Bob Arum and Top Rank from delivering. When the back-and-forth of politics concludes the fight is delivered. It has to be done and will be because Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. is as huge as Mayweather and Pacquiao was.
Perhaps this is bigger in magnitude because they are two champions, one with Top Rank and the other with the PBC, champions in the welterweight division. This elite division of welterweights that also generates the revenue and interest for boxing is shown in the ratings.
An this past Saturday, Terence Crawford, who could be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the business and Jose Benavidez Jr. established the highest rating boxing telecast on Broadcast and Cable television this year.
So now, it is time to deliver a fight that boxing needs. A fight that the boxing fan will demand. Delivering this fight, according to sources, and that back-and forth talk has commenced.
Moments after Crawford disposed Jose Benavidez Jr. in the final round Saturday night, his first defense of the WBO Welterweight title, Bob Arum was asked the questions. The fight boxing needs will have to wait but how long will it be?
Arum does have the leverage here because Crawford delivers the numbers for ESPN and the Hall of Fame promoter has the platform. Spence Jr. also has the numbers with Showtime and the PBC has that history of also delivering the numbers for the network seen in previous fights Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter opposing Danny Garcia for the Welterweight title.
In line with all of this, Tuesday Bob Arum made his pitch. Showtime, he said will soon be out of boxing just like HBO.
“So I’m predicting also that within the next year Showtime will be exiting from boxing because as great as they’ve been for boxing, they don’t belong,” he said. This was possibly the beginning of a bargaining point of view because Showtime is committed to continue their involvement with boxing, and the PBC continues to thrive with all the rumors to the contrary.
Arum is known to make some outrageous statements. This one, and only because he said Showtime is throwing more money into programming, does offer a line of truth. For the past few years it was HBO that lost the roster of fighters that put the network on top. But putting more of their budget into popular programs did boxing in for the network.
This is the Haves and Have Not of boxing. However, with Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. in the picture, it is about having the best fight for the boxing fan. Showtime and the PBC are moving along and so is Bob Arum and his deal with ESPN.
Just a matter of time and the fight will happen. Arum, in the meantime will go back-and-forth but is looking at other opponents for his champion. Similar to Mayweather and Pacquiao and how long it took, at some point next year this fight will be a reality.
And because this is boxing, it only works this way.
Terence Crawford: Only Wants the Champions at 147
By: Rich Mancuso
Undefeated Jose Benavidez Jr. is the next opponent for Terence Crawford next Saturday evening at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Crawford, the three-division world champion, will defend his WBO Welterweight title for the second time. But this is not the opponent he wants in a fight that will be televised on the ESPN platforms.
Don’t get this wrong. Crawford, not one to stir the pot, is honored that Benavidez took this fight. And the home crowd will be thrilled to see their champion again. Many consider him to be either number one or two in the pound-for-pound discussion.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Not to overlook Benavidez, Crawford is very content with the promotional deal he has with Top Rank. However, in a Thursday afternoon conference call with media the names of champions such as Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Errol Spence Jr. came into the discussion. These are some of the elite fighters in the 147-pound division along with some others.
The welterweight division is the talk of boxing. Spence Jr. is known as the elite champion and always a target. With that in mind, where does Terence Crawford stand in the mix of all this? He is with Top Rank, the others with PBC and their platforms of Showtime and Fox.
“Spence, Porter, Thurman, those are the only champions,” Crawford said. “ I don’t look at the WBC Silver interim belts . I look at the actual champion in the division.”
So this is a matter, first of Crawford getting past Benavidez Jr. and then the talk about a mega fight with Spence Jr. who holds the IBF title. The issue is logistics with two major platforms of promoters and networks putting their differences aside and giving fight fans what they want.
Crawford has Top Rank in the corner. The ESPN deal with his promoter is strong and delivering what boxing fans and the sport desire. The Crawford camp is content but as everyone is aware, this is a business.
The talk has to be done at the table, and very similar to the deal that was made when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. got in the ring three years ago. Brian McIntyre, manager and trainer for Crawford wants the elite fights to be made. He made his case on the conference call.
“We want after the champions, man,” McIntyre said. “There is no reason to be fighting a No. 6 dude or a No. 7 dude. Terence wants the best fighters out there at 147.”
Top Rank president Todd duBoef was also on the conference call. McIntyre is seeking the best for his fighter and said the heat is on with Top Rank and all for the best involved.
“We’ll put the heat on him,” he said. He’s the one who makes the fights happen. He could go to ESPN and make those fights happen. Terence wants the fights to happen. Let’s go. The only fights out there is the other champions.”
They don’t want a number 7 or 8 fighter in the division, because this is about the elite fighters at 147.
To that, duBoef said, “We have said this regardless of your affiliation, we don’t care what you are ,what you do, Terence is an elite fighter. in fact elite fight, all they talk is about Terence. “We’ve done the biggest fights with all the complications. We’ve done the biggest with no complications”
But there are always complications. Venues, purse, and how two networks that are in competition can co-exist. A response from the PBC was unavailable when reached for comment.
“We’re gonna go after all those guys,” duBoef said. “We’re not allowing anything, no politics, no nothing, to get in the way. They wanna do it, we wanna do it, let’s just get it done. We’ll figure out a solution.”
Crawford, on the other hand, avoids this discussion about fighting the elite champions. He is focused on this fight next weekend and when it comes to consideration about being the Number 1 pound-for-pound, he just goes about his business. He wants to take on opponents and bypass the talk of Top 10 fighter or who is Number 1 or 2.
“Some people rate me number 1 some people rate me number 2,” Crawford said. “I can’t complain some people rate me number 2. Don’t pay attention. My main attention is Benavidez. I’m focused and ready to go next week. Keep winning in tremendous fashion.”
He added: “ I never predict a knockout. I just go in there if I see a chance for a knockout I’ll go for it. All i do is go in there and get the win. I believe he is going to come out and try and make it a fight and if he does do it we have a game plan for that as well.
However, this could be the tune-up fight towards the next one. There is time for the respective promotions and networks to stage an eventual Crawford and Spence Jr. title fight.
“Still growing up in this division,” Crawford said. “Not looking to move up. Great relationship with Top Rank. We build a lot of great memories together and built me up to where I am now. Takes me wherever I want to go.”
Benavidez Jr. sought this fight and there was no hesitation. Because Terence Crawford never ducks an opponent, and in boxing you take the opportunity as there is always a chance to pull off the unexpected. And by all means, the height and reach is something to look at with that undefeated record coming in against the champion.
But we all know, this fight is all about Terence Crawford. It’s about getting to the elite and opposing Errol Spence Jr. and soon.
Comment: Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso [email protected]
Errol Spence Shadowing the Path of Marvin Hagler
By: Kirk Jackson
As Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) progresses further into his career, the more it resembles a similar path once traveled by the legendary middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler 62-3-2 (52 KO’s).
Are far as listing similarities and drawing comparisons, there are plenty.
Comparatively from a fight stylistic standpoint, both are southpaws (albeit Hagler converted and was known as a switch hitter; a fighter skilled to switch interchangeably between southpaw to orthodox stance).
Hagler and Spence operate offensively off their stiff right jab; Hagler displayed the ability to effortlessly switch stances as mentioned earlier, but like Hagler, Spence prefers to mount his attack utilizing highly lethal, effective jabs.
Both possess impressive, Adonis-like physiques and oddly enough, both traveled to The United Kingdom to capture their first championship title.
Hagler made minced-meat out of Alan Minter over the course of four vicious rounds, while Spence comprehensibly violated Kell Brook into submission over the course of eleven rounds. Spence was 27-years-old at the time while Hagler was a year younger aged 26 years-old.
Like Hagler, Spence aims to transcend into boxing super stardom by facing another highly coveted, pound-for-pound fighter moving up in weight.
For Hagler, his dancing partner thrusting him into the realm of super-stardom was Roberto Duran.
Duran, initially dominating the lightweight division with hands of stone, climbed through the welterweight division, eventually reaching the mantle at middleweight to battle Hagler for middleweight supremacy.
Hagler soundly defeated Duran in an entertaining, competitive affair, securing his spot as one of boxing best fighters and biggest attractions.
Hagler’s victory over Duran led to greener pastures, as his star shined brighter and he capitalized eventually securing fights against Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s) is to Errol Spence as Duran was to Hagler.
And again, this is not a direct comparison of styles for each fighter, although we can draw similar comparisons for each fighter listed in this formula.
Whether it’s the traits of timing, mastery of range and distance, overall toughness and business-like demeanor, this is more of a comparison of situations and possible trajectory.
If not no. 1 on any given pound-for-pound list, Garcia is certainly in the discussion – just as Duran in his heyday.
Garcia has five world titles across four weight classes in seven championship fights. Like Duran, Garcia aims to move up in weight for greater challenges.
“There’s no one else that excites me enough, that motivates me and that can challenge me other than Errol Spence, and I’m willing to take that challenge, all the way up, because that’s the fight that will motivate me the most,” said Garcia at the post-fight press conference in his win over Robert Easter.
“I’m here to challenge myself. He is the best. He might feel that it’s an easy fight for him, that I’m too small, and that’s fine. Let’s get in the ring and let’s go to work.”
The emerging Spence recognizes too, facing Garcia could help build his brand among Hispanic boxing fans who strongly support Garcia.
“This definitely would help my fan base,” Spence said, “and help me grow as a superstar in the sport.”
It’s certainly a page borrowed from another boxing great and mentor figure to Spence, Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather offered his perspective regarding the potential match-up between Garcia and Spence to Fight Hype.
“You have to respect Mikey Garcia for wanting to test his skills against the best guys out there,” stated Mayweather.
“You can’t fault him [Garcia] for doing it, you can’t overlook Mikey Garcia in a fight with Errol Spence. Errol Spence can fight his ass off, it’s a good match-up. Spence he’s tough, he’s strong, he can bang.”
Aside from Garcia, Spence has other lucrative options on the horizon – his potential Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Spence can potentially face the winner of Danny Garcia 34-1 (20 KO’s) and Shawn Porter 28-2-1 (17 KO’s) as they finally meet in September. Amir Khan 32-4 (20 KO’s) is still a name in the welterweight division and of course there is the ever-elusive Keith Thurman 28-0 (22 KO’s).
The former unified WBC and WBA welterweight champion is still recovering from injury and aims to return at some point in 2018.
A meeting between Spence and Thurman may not take place until 2019 if at all, while another emerging combatant apparently usurped Thurman as far as desired match-ups amongst boxing fans.
The fighter Spence appears fated to face, also drawing comparisons to the legendary Marvelous Marvin Hagler for his switch hitter abilities, overall grit and menacing demeanor, is none other than Terence Crawford 33-0 (24 KO’s).
Crawford is a six-time world champion across three weight classes and like Spence, aims to unify the welterweight division as he did at junior welterweight last year.
Anticipation amongst fans, media and other fighter’s alike continues to build in hopes of witnessing these two prized pugilists meet up in what envisions to be a showdown of epic proportions.
Will Crawford rival Spence as Leonard rivaled Hagler back in the 1970’s and 1980’s?
While that particular plot is yet to be determined, it’ll be interesting watching how the path of Errol Spence continues to unfold.
“I wanna be considered as an all-time great,” says Spence, in reference to his goals as a professional fighter.
“I wanna be mentioned with the likes of ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, Ali and Ray Robinson, Floyd Mayweather. I wanna be mentioned along with those greats. And I know in order to do that, I have to fight the best fighters out there and keep getting titles. Hopefully, I can be undisputed welterweight champion.”
Like Hagler and other phenomenal fighters of yesteryear, Spence is treading along the same path previously molded before him.
Don’t Hold Your Breath on Crawford vs Spence
By Eric Lunger
Errol Spence, Jr. took care of business on Saturday night, dispatching Carlos Ocampo (22-1, 13 KOs) with a vicious body assault in round one. It was as clinical as it was ferocious. The fight marked a return to the Lone Star state for Spence (24-0, 21KOs), who had not fought in his home state since 2014. The fight, or more precisely, the choice of opponent, took some heat in the boxing media. Ocampo is a good fighter, a professional with an undefeated record, and certainly Spence is entitled to make some money by putting on a card for his home fans. Nothing wrong with that. And, to be fair, Ocampo was the IBF mandatory – whether he should have been is a more fraught question. Nonetheless, with a successful first defense under his belt, Spence (and his fans) have to be wondering who is next.
Photo Credit: Errol Spence Jr. Twitter Account
Let’s start with the WBA champion Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs). The rugged Argentine is scheduled to take on perennial champion and fan-favorite Manny Pacquiao (59-7, 38 KOs) in July in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While that fight may appeal to certain fans, it is hard to see Spence wanting to face the winner of that bout, and it is even harder to see it making much sense financially. No disrespect to the Matthysse and Pac Man, both of whom I have enjoyed watching over the years, but they are on the down slope of their careers.
With the WBC belt vacant, the only other unification possibility is against the newly minted WBO champ Terrence “Bud” Crawford (RECORD). For obvious reasons, this is the fight that fans want to see. Both guys are young, dynamic, extremely skilled with sound (almost perfect) fundamentals, and both can hit that mean switch in the ring. It would be an incredible fight, no question. But this is boxing, and, as a veteran of the promotional side of the game once explained to me, if the fans (rather than promoters) made the matchups, we would have a different slate of fights.
Simply put, it is difficult to imagine Top Rank (Crawford) and PBC (Spence) willing to risk their fighters’s value when there are so many other fights to make, and when there is so much more value down the road. I hate the term “marinating” when applied to boxing, but here waiting makes more sense. And it is not like there aren’t other big names in the division: Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Jessie Vargas, to name a few.
Asked whether unification with a big-name welterweight was realistic as his next fight, Spence had this to say in the press conference after the Ocampo bout: “I’ll probably fight again later this year. The unification fight with Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia is definitely going to happen [in August],” implying that Spence is weighing the possibility of facing the winner. So, while indicating he will fight once more before a taking on a top name, Spence went on to note that a fight with Keith Thurman was a distinct possibility: “We got Keith Thurman coming back this year – that’s a fight I can have, we can make that. Same manager, same network. It’s an easy fight to make.” Spence again re-iterated that he wants a serious challenge: “I want big names, Jessie Vargas would be [on the list].”
Will Spence and Crawford ever climb into the ring together? Fans want to see it, but it may be a long time coming.