Asked and answered: Errol Spence Jr. back in form with decision over Danny Garcia
SAN DIEGO, Calif. December 5, 2020 – IBF welterweight champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. of Dallas (27-0, 21 KOs) laid to rest the questions about his mental and physical fitness following his auto accident with a strong unanimous decision over Danny “Swift” Garcia of Philadelphia (36-3. 21 KOs).
Spence Jr. didn’t look much different than before, with only a touch of normal ring rust, winning a wider decision than the official scorecards of 117-111, and 116-114. We scored the fight 118-110 for Spence Jr.
“It’s almost surreal, man,” said Spence Jr. “Since my accident and a year and a half layoff, I had a little ring rust, but I looked pretty good. In training camp, I felt good. I told people I didn’t want a tune-up fight, I wanted a great champion like Danny Garcia. I wanted to prove to myself I am the greatest fighter at 147 (pounds).”
Without the questions raised when Spence Jr. survived a rollover crash that ejected him from his speeding Ferrari, the fight wouldn’t have been quite as exciting. Spence Jr. came in fit, calm, and confident, working with his jab to disarm and throw off Garcia throughout the fight.
‘The better man tonight’
Garcia struggled to get around Spence Jr.’s jab to find an opening. He had some success, and he landed several good shots to Spence Jr.’s chin, while Spence Jr. delivered more body shots. Garcia and Spence Jr. landed the same number of power punches in the fight, 103 of 338 for Garcia, and 103 of 288 for Spence Jr. The difference was the 84 jabs landed by Spence JR., versus just 14 for Garcia. Garcia’s swollen left eye showed the effects of Spence Jr.’s work.
“Danny Garcia pushed me to the limits, especially in training camp,” said Spence Jr. “I know what he brings to the table. I had to be 100 percent ready.”
Garcia described Spence Jr.’s jab as rangy. “It was throwing my timing off a little bit. That was the key to the fight. Everything else, I was adapting to it. I knew he was going to go to the body, I knew he was going to throw his looping left hands. But his jab was a little better than I expected.”
Garcia’s trainer and father Angel said his fighter wasn’t busy enough in the ring. “He took the shots well, he dipped and slipped, but he didn’t counter. One time I thought he hurt Spence a little bit, but he let him back into the fight. What he could have did better is get busier.”
“He was just the better man tonight. No excuses. I fought a hard tough fight. He had a hard, tough jab. That was the difference in the fight. And he was a little more busier than me. It’s all good. I fought hard, and I’m proud,” concluded Danny Garcia.
This Bud’s for you, Errol
Spence Jr. gave himself a B for the fight, but trainer Derrick James gave him an A-plus for sticking to the game plan. Spence Jr. said he is still shaking off some cobwebs, but “I’m here for a reason. I proved I’m back, and I’m here to stay. I’m the unified champion of the world.”
“Be patient with me … I’ll be 120 percent for my next fight. I made a couple mistakes, playing around a little bit, putting my hands down and being lazy a little bit,” said Spence Jr.
Spence Jr. said he would spend time at his ranch with his family, and his horses and animals, and then decide when he would return.
WBO welterweight champion and pound for pound foe Terence Crawford was among the 16,102 people in attendance at AT&T Stadium in Arlington ringside, the maximum permitted for a pandemic era sellout. Crawford got plenty of Fox Sports on PBC camera time, leading to plenty of speculation. When asked about Crawford being ringside, Spence Jr. played coy.
“If he says he’s not worried about me, I don’t know why he’s here. I never went to any of his fights,” said Spence Jr. Sweet Science Santa, we’ve been very good this year. How about Spence Jr. vs. Crawford under the corner Christmas tree?
Super welterweight Sebastian Fundora hit new heights
Promising super welterweight prospect Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora of Coachella, California (16-0-1, 11 KOs) got right to work against former title challenger Habib Ahmed of Ghana (27-2-1, 18 KOs) in their title eliminator. Ahmed ran into a hard left uppercut in the first seconds of the first round, and the outcome was already in sight.
Ahmed made it to the second round, but Fundora started doing serious damage to the body and then added headshots. Ahmed was a deer in the headlights against the ropes, and had little to offer. Referee Laurence Cole didn’t let it continue for long before stopping the fight at 1:30 of round two.
“I had the time to admire it when I saw his knees buckle,” said Fundora of the early uppercut. He said it takes just one move to have the right mindset in the ring. “I take my glasses off, that’s all I need,” laughed Fundora, who says he can’t see much without them.
Fundora’s freakish height at 6-foot-5 looks even more pronounced in the ring, and it has to intimidate anyone looking up at him. Ahmed was a late replacement and gave it his best. His only previous loss was to Gilberto Ramirez in six rounds. Fundora didn’t even need a third of the time Ramirez did. At just 22 years old, Fundora is already a formidable foe, matching his power and punch selection with a stalker’s calm in the ring. Former champions Jeison Rosario and even Julian Williams are being mentioned as opponents for Fundora. He’s that good.
Fundora said of his immediate future, “I gotta finish my Christmas shopping, and I have my birthday coming up. I want to enjoy the holidays.” He said he would talk with his team about his next fight. Who would he like to face? I’d love to fight them all, this is what we’re here for,” said Fundora.
Mexican style welterweight war: Lopez stops Santana in ten
Veteran brawler Josesito Lopez, AKA the “Riverside Rocky” (38-8, 21 KOs) traded shots with Francisco “Chia” Santana of Santa Barbara (25-9-1, 12 KOs) but had the upper hand against a durable opponent before scoring a TKO win in the tenth round. Fans might have laughed when Santana promised the west coast Gatti Ward, but the pair honored the spirit of the all-time classic. Santana hadn’t been stopped or dropped since 2009, but the heavy-handed Lopez went to work to the body and stung Santana for a first-round knockdown. Santana recovered enough to push Lopez back with a solid right to the head, and he kept Lopez honest.
Give Santana credit for standing in and trying to give himself a chance for a haymaker. But he didn’t win a single round. By the ninth round, Lopez had landed double the punches of Santana, and just before the end of the ninth round, Santana had to take a knee from the barrage of punches. This is where the fight should have been stopped. Santana wasn’t going to quit, and trainer Joseph Janik should have considered protecting his athlete. But he let it go, and Santana was knocked down again in the tenth before referee Neil Young finally waved off the fight at 1:22 of the final round.
“He’s one of the toughest fighters not holding a belt,” said Lopez. “He knew that if he made a small mistake, he was going to pay for it. I maintained the pace, used my jab, and utilized good movement against one of the toughest fighters. I was a little patient, but he’s a crafty fighter, a tough fighter who can take some punches.” It was a terrific performance by Lopez, but he proved his point long before the end finally came. But as trainer Mark Breland knows, some fighters tell trainers not to stop a fight for any reason. Lopez landed 190 of 677 punches thrown (28 percent) to 84 of 518 punches for Santana (16 percent). “I deserve a big fight. I want a title!” said Lopez.
Ramirez drops a bomb on Flores to win in five rounds
Eduardo Ramirez of Mexico (24-2-3, 11 KOs) was getting the better of Miguel Flores of Dallas (24-4, 12 KOs) over the first four rounds of their featherweight title eliminator to open the pay per view. Ramirez offered a left jab and followed with a right-hand hook that put Flores down hard as the fifth round began. Flores got up somehow, but referee Laurence Cole wisely waived off the fight at 20 seconds of the round. An elated Ramirez let out a shout and enjoyed the victory after checking on Flores in a show of good sportsmanship.
In earlier action, welterweight prospect Vito Mielnicki, Jr. of New Jersey (7-0, 4 KOs) hurt Steven Pulluaim of Riverside, Missouri (5-3, 1 KO) early in their fight, but Pulluaim recovered and made Mielnicki grind out a unanimous decision win in six rounds. Mielnicki is just 18 years old, and he needs fights like this to improve his craft.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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