Last night, Errol Spence, Jr. finally became a U.S. star.
An exciting, yet one sided fight, against four-division world champion, Mikey Garcia, proved why Spence is the most feared welterweight in the world. In front of close to 48,000 fans in his hometown of Dallas crowd, Spence Jr.retained his IBF Welterweight World Championship and put the world on notice that a force had arrived.
The fight, held at “Jerry’s World” (aka AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas) was the first Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event.
“The motivation fighting in front of my hometown crowd made me feel great,” said Spence. “These people have supported me since day one and I wanted to put on a good performance for all of them.”
Undefeated welterweight WBC champ looked to defend his unblemished record against 4 division champ Mikey Garcia, also undefeated, and daring to be great by jumping two weight classes for this fight. Errol Spence Jr.
The bout was technical at first, both fighters feeling each other out.
Spence pumped a consistent jab, reminding Garcia that his reach would dictate the pace. Spence also stole Garcia’s strategy from past fights, cutting off the ring and frustrating Garcia’s search for chances to counter.
Garcia had some success early on with a few counter left hooks, but he could never establish a rhythm against the bigger and busier champion.
“He came out here with a good game plan and kept the distance at his favor,” said Garcia. “I couldn’t get my rhythm going and he did what he had to do. I tried to make adjustments and he kept executing.”
Spence took things to another level, breaking down Garcia with a mix of body and head shots while maintaining a robotic pace.
By round four, Spence had dominated most of the action. However, Garcia made a late surge, forcing Spence into a defensive crouch for the final moments of the round. Garcia maintained that energy early on in round five, putting Spence on the defensive. But it was only temporary as the champ regaining his momentum and connected on powerful straight lefts.
But as the fight progressed, Spence proved to be too much for Mikey. Garcia began bleeding from his nose in round eight, at which point Spence increased his output and landed 35, 29, 34 and 25 punches in rounds nine through 12 respectively, according to CompuBox. The dominance was evident, as Spence landed more punches in 10th and 11th rounds (78) than Garcia landed in the entire fight (75).
“A lot of commentators thought he was too smart and I couldn’t box as well as him,” said Spence. “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.”
Spence threw a career-high 1,082 punches and out-landed Garcia by a staggering 345 to 75 margin. After 12-rounds of action, all three judges saw the fight for Spence, by scores of 120-108 twice and 120-107.
Kate Abdo caught up with the welterweight champ after he defended his belt against Mikey Garcia in Dallas on Saturday. Spence Jr. talked about his performance and who he wants next.
“We just went 12-rounds with a great welterweight champion,” said Garcia. “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.”