Errol Spence Jr. Ready to Defend Titles After Trying Year Away From the Ring
After luckily walking away with his life following a car crash last year, WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. will defend the title against Danny Garcia this weekend.
Updated: Dec. 2, 2020 • 1:51 PM ET
Errol Spence Jr. is looking to retain his titles this weekend.
The WBC and IBF welterweight titles will be on the line this Saturday, as undefeated champion Errol Spence Jr. will defend the belts against former champion Danny Garcia in Arlington, Tex.
Spence will fight for the first time since last September when he defeated Shawn Porter by split-decision to win the WBC title in one of the best fights of the year. Less than a month later, however, Spence was involved in a single-vehicle accident where he flipped his Ferrari multiple times. Fortunately for Spence, he miraculously walked away with just facial lacerations and no broken bones, and no one else was injured or killed. Not so fortunate for Spence, he had alcohol in his system, but under the 0.15 BAL, which helped him avoid jail time. He was convicted of a DWI after the crash and put on probation.
"I feel like this is a second chance for me, not even in boxing, just living," Spence said in a promotional video. “If anybody would have looked at my accident video, nine times out of 10 they probably would have said that person most definitely didn’t survive. I definitely believe it’s a miracle for me to survive, and a year later to have a fight coming up and be fighting in my hometown.
“I feel like this is a second chance for me, and I can’t let it go."
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The 30-year-old Spence has since become a father for the third time, having his first baby boy shortly after the one-year anniversary of his crash. He’s using his kids as motivation to stay healthy and be the best champion he can for them.
“It’s just a blessing and motivation,” Spence said during a recent media workout. “It pushes me and just makes me work harder. Just seeing his face in my mind, it just pushes me to work harder, along with my two other daughters…I want to give my three kids a great future and make sure they have the best life and make sure I give them the best life.
“The only way I can do that is train hard, stay focused and do what I have to do Dec. 5 to get this victory.
Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) is considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Including Porter, he has key victories over Mikey Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Kell Brook and Chris Algieri. The biggest questions surrounding Porter pertain to how he will be physically and mentally in the ring in his first fight since the crash.
So why pick such a tough opponent, who is a decorated former champion, after a long layoff?
“I picked Danny Garcia because he’s a tough opponent, got a granite chin,” Spence said. “He’s a guy that’s always in tough, close fights since his two losses with Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman. He’s a guy that’s going to bring the best out of me.
“I think if I took a tune-up fight, I wouldn’t have been probably 100 percent focused or just as dedicated as I am fighting Danny Garcia because I know he’s going to be 100 percent ready. His dad is pushing him, and he’s going to be ready to try to take my belts in my hometown.”
Spence, a Texas native, will have the added benefit of fighting at home in AT&T Stadium for the second time. There have been talks of allowing up to 30,000 fans in attendance, while still following COVID-19 protocols, but nothing has been made certain at this point.
Spence is favored in Las Vegas to win the fight and if he does, who would he fight next? After his victory over Mikey Garcia in 2018, Manny Pacquiao joined him in the ring. Both proclaimed their desire to fight the other, but the boxing world continues to wait for that fight.
Spence has also been linked to a super-fight with pound-for-pound great and WBO champion Terence Crawford for two years. Crawford once again successfully defended his title last month when he defeated Kell Brook by TKO, and Spence seems like a logical next opponent, provided that he wins on Saturday.
Garcia is a former two-weight world champion, having held the unified WBA (super), WBC, The Ring magazine and lineal light welterweight titles between 2012 and 2015, and the WBC welterweight title from 2016 to 2017. He’s coming off a unanimous decision victory over Ivan Redkach in January, his second straight win since losing to Porter in 2018 for the vacant WBC belt.
Aside Porter, Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) Garcia’s only other loss came to former champion Keith Thurman by what some called a controversial split-decision. The 32-year-old Garcia still has key victories in his career over Brandon Rios, Robert Guerrero, Paulie Malignaggi, Lamont Peterson, Mauricio Herrera, Lucas Matthysse, Zab Judah, Erik Morales (twice) and Amir Khan.
He believes he has what it takes to defeat Spence.
“I’ve been an underdog my whole career,” Garcia said via The Ring. “I’m used to playing that role. I just have to go in there and be myself.
“I have to believe in myself 100 percent and fight round-by-round. I’m going to show what a true champion is made of. After the (Mikey) Garcia and Porter fights, I saw some holes in his game and I knew it would be a good opportunity to become champion again. These types of fights bring out the best in Danny Garcia. They give me the extra motivation that I need and that’s why I wanted it.”
A Garcia victory would shake up things for the world’s elite welterweights, but would he get a unification fight if he wins this weekend?
• How to watch/start time: The main card can be seen on Fox Sports pay-per-view at 9 p.m. ET this Saturday.