The time finally came Saturday night, March 16, 2019 in Arlington, Texas, live from AT&T Stadium, home to the Dallas Cowboys.
IBF Welterweight champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. took on pound-for-pound great and four division champion Mikey Garcia in scheduled 12-round championship bout.
The highly-anticipated matchup brought all the stars to Jerry’s World, including a who’s who of boxing greats both new school and old. Everyone in the building was wondering the same thing, what’s going to happen during the main event?
In the lead up to this bout, Garcia was adamant that he possessed the blueprint to defeat arguably the most dangerous Welterweight in the division. In an era of boxing where fighters take calculated risks, Mikey Garcia dared to be great. Spence welcomed this challenge and promised to put on a spectacle for the masses. Both fighters made that long walk to the ring with roars from the crowd echoing throughout the stadium, it was time to fight.
Like many high-profile fights, the opening round was tense and neither fighter attempted anything too risky outside of establishing a jab and pace. Spence launched the jab and initiated a good amount, but Garcia followed up in the next round and let his hands go a bit more.
The tactical fight of two world champions had commenced. Spence began to find his range as his left hand was starting to find a home on the face of Garcia. For as many times as Garcia’s head was snapped back from the crisp double jab of Spence, Garcia held his ground.
In the fifth, Garcia came out and immediately rushed Spence back into his own corner and began to throw combinations, forcing the champion onto the ropes. At the midpoint of the fight, the Spence jab was the center point of the offensive attack and set up crisp and clean shots to Garcia’s head and body.
The mid-to-late rounds were all Spence and Garcia struggled to find his way inside the Spence guard. For every time that Garcia launched his attack, Spence was there to bully the smaller Garcia. The ninth round was dominated by the champion as he battered Garcia for virtually the entire three minutes, but Garcia’s heart and toughness were on full display despite being down on the cards.
The championship rounds had begun and Spence was in full control. Garcia was fighting on pure heart. Despite the cheers of the crowd after every landed shot from Spence, Garcia pressed on. Spence chopped away at the Garcia mid-section throwing hook after hook. Garcia needed a KO in the 12th to win the bout, but there’s a reason Errol Spence is named The Truth.
The final scorecards read 120-107 and 120-108 twice, all for Spence who dominated in front of his fans.
“The motivation fighting in front of my hometown crowd made me feel great. These people have supported me since day one and I wanted to put on a good performance for all of them,” said Spence after the unanimous-decision victory. “I give Mikey Garcia all the credit for taking this fight. I respect him so much and I appreciate him for stepping up.”
Garcia, who suffered his first professional loss, gave his opponent credit for executing a solid game plan.
“He came out here with a good game plan and kept the distance at his favor,” said Garcia after his first career loss. “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 now seems to be moving on to his next big fish and all signs may lead to the eight division champion Manny Pacquiao.
“He’s broken records here before, he’s a legend in the sport and it’d be my honor to fight him next,” said the IBF champ after inviting Pacquiao into the ring.
With other names failing to step up to the plate–including Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter–a Pacman vs. Spence showdown is both pleasing and highly likely.