Fourteen months after his breathtaking fight with Shawn Porter IBF and WBC world welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr returns to the business of defending his titles when he faces former two-weight world champion, Danny Garcia. Of course, Spence Jr is also coming back after a near-fatal car crash that threatened to shorten his already spectacular career.
The clash headlines a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View show from The AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, just 30 minutes’ drive from Spence Jr’s home in DeSoto. Let’s hope someone else drives him to the stadium!
2019 was a bumper year for the welterweight division with all the big attractions coming on Premier Boxing Championship cards. Manny Pacquiao’s brilliant win over Keith Thurman could only be topped by Spence Jr’s superb tussle with a rejuvenated Shawn “Showtime” Porter, but when days later the news broke and footage emerged of Errol’s car crash, it seemed that fight fans might be robbed of the chance to see the champion in fights with the likes of Garcia, Pacquiao, and possibly Terence Crawford somewhere down the line.
In most cases, a fighter coming off a long break and especially after such a bad car accident would be allowed a slightly easier assignment so that they can ease their way back into fighting in a live bout but, instead, Spence Jr proved his mettle again by facing a very tough foe in Philadelphia’s hard-punching Garcia.
The 32-year-old Garcia has a great string of names on his resume, Lucas Matthysse, Zab Judah, Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Lamont Peterson, and Paul Malignaggi, but of course, this was when he fought in the Super-lightweight division. Since moving up to 147lbs and winning the vacant WBC title against Robert Guerro in 2016 he has failed to win against the very best in the division thus far.
Danny lost his title in his first defence against Keith Thurman the WBA champion in a big unification bout. Two fights later, Garcia lost to Porter for the vacant WBC title so, there is a big question mark hanging over Danny’s ability when he faces the elite welterweights. Wins over Brandon Rios and Ivan Redkach do little to enhance Garcia’s credentials at 147lbs because both were at their best at 140lbs.
What makes this fight so interesting is that both fighters can punch and both have these doubts hanging over them. Will Spence Jr carry on at the same performance level that he showed against Porter? Can Garcia raise his game on the biggest fight of his career?
The 30-year-old, southpaw champion was being spoken of as a top-five pound-for-pound contender after the Mikey Garcia and Shawn Porter showings, only Terence Crawford could challenge his place as the world’s top welterweight. Now, the Texan has to prove he belongs at the top by beating a very dangerous former champion.
When you compare both champion and challenger at 147lbs, Spence Jr looks by far the tougher proposition. That is not to disregard Danny Garcia’s accomplishments but, the tough battles with Kell Brook and Shawn Porter compared to Danny’s two bouts with Thurman and Porter could prove to be the decisive factor.
Prediction: Errol Spence Jr to win on points in a tough fight.