Errol Spence Jr returned to the ring after an absence of nearly 15 months, and defended his WBC and IBF Welterweight titles with a clear points win against former two-weight world champion, Danny Garcia in Texas on Saturday.
Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) hadn’t been seen since September 2019 when he edged Shawn Porter by split decision, and then subsequently was injured in a near-fatal car crash while under the influence of alcohol. Garcia’s last outing was in January, outscoring Ivan Redkach over twelve.
The first two rounds in front of just over 16,000 at the AT&T Stadium were pedestrian, with Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) landing a left hook just after the bell to end the second being the highlight.
By the fourth, Spence was in control of the action, jabbing to head and body, while also landing with several power shots that left Garcia with a cut on the bridge of his nose.
The Philadelphia man would have his moments, but would then quickly be put back in his place as ’The Truth’ would fire combinations to regain the initiative. By the sixth, Garcia’s left eye was swollen, and he was in danger of being cut adrift in the contest.
The pattern for the bout was set, with Spence firing at will and ‘Swift’ unable to find the answers, and by the championship rounds, it was clear that the 32-year-old needed a knockout to win.
The tenth did see former WBC champion, Garcia belatedly pick up the pace, as he landed some good solid body shots and a right hand, but it was almost as if Spence took the round off, as he was soon back to being the aggressor in round eleven, finding a jolting left hand with Garcia’s eye now near shut.
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Spence finished the fight with plenty in the tank, and Garcia only really went for broke in the final seconds, and as the fight went to the cards, it was clear that ‘The Truth’ had done more than enough to defend his titles.
Two scores of 116-112, and a third at 117-111 were enough to see the home favourite go to remain unbeaten, and closer to a meeting with the Welterweight big hitters.
❌ “NO EXCUSES” FOR GARCIA
🗣️ “He was just the better man tonight. No excuses. I fought a hard, tough fight. He had a pretty good jab & I think that was the key to the fight, his jab”
— Pro Boxing Fans (@ProBoxingFans) December 6, 2020
“It’s been a dream of mine to come back since the accident,” said Spence post-fight.
“I had a little ring rust in there, I got a little tired, but I think I shook off the cobwebs.
“I proved myself that I am the best 147lbs fighter in the world.”
Spence wasn’t too vocal about future opponents but the dream fight for fans is a meeting with WBO champion Terence Crawford, who was ringside.
WBA (Super) champion, Manny Pacquiao congratulated Spence on Twitter in the aftermath.
Thanks buddy https://t.co/1P4OEs40cD
— Errol Spence (@ErrolSpenceJr) December 6, 2020
Fundora blasts out Ahmed in two rounds
The undercard was re-jigged midweek due to COVID-19 related withdrawals, and in one such contest, Sebastian Fundora (16-0-1, 11 KOs) stopped Habib Ahmed inside two rounds in a WBA Super Welterweight title eliminator.
The 6”5 Californian was dominant from the off, and the fight was waved off in the second with Ahmed (27-2-1, 18 KOs) receiving heavy punishment along the ropes.
Lopez halts Santana in final round
In a battle of the gatekeepers at Welterweight, Josesito Lopez stopped Francisco Santana in the tenth and final round.
Lopez (38-8, 21 KOs) was fantastic from start to finish, and the fight should have been stopped a round earlier when Santana (25-9-1, 12 KOs) was pummelled by a barrage of shots that forced him to take a knee.
Santana was sent out for the last round, and was dropped again, and another follow up assault finally saw the referee intervene.
Featherweight: Eduardo Ramirez TKO5 Miguel Flores
Super Featherweight: Isaac Avelar UD10 Sakaria Lukas
Super Bantamweight: Juan Tapia UD8 Fernando Garcia
Lightweight: Frank Martin KO5 Tyrone Luckey
Light Heavyweight: Marco Delgado SD6 Burley Brooks
Welterweight: Vito Mielnicki Junior UD6 Steven Pulluaim