On Saturday night, unified WBC-IBF Welterweight world champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KOs) will make his long-awaited return to the squared circle in a highly anticipated FOX pay-per-view main event against two-division champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
At first glance, there’s no denying that this bout is an intriguing one given Spence’s status as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and Garcia’s status as a tough and highly skilled former champion.
But when taking a deeper look at both the matchup and the circumstances surrounding the fight, it becomes clear that Saturday night could also very well mark the stiffest test of Spence’s career.
First off, the 32-year-old Garcia, a native of Philadelphia has long been considered to be one of the best fighters at 147 pounds. Possessing an impressive 36-2 record that features 21 wins by way of T/KO, Garcia’s only two career losses have come in closely-fought contests against fellow former champions Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter.
While consistency over the course of 12 rounds has seemed to be an issue for Garcia over the duration of his career, he’s both highly skilled and experienced. With a wide variety of punches in his arsenal, he’s shown both accuracy and power, a terrific left hook among other shots, and the ability to adapt on the fly while being unafraid to engage in a fight.
Simply put, Garcia presents a legitimate test for Spence. While The Truth is deservingly considered to be the favorite, there’s no denying that Garcia both has the ability and the potential to make things interesting on Saturday night.
That’s not exactly what makes this the toughest fight of Spence’s career though.
After all, he’s been in the ring with high-level competition before and proven himself capable of competing on that level. That’s not to say Garcia can’t end up with his hand raised, but we’ve seen Spence, for example, travel to England in 2017 and stop then-champion Kell Brook, outclass four-division champion Mikey Garcia in 2019, and dig deep to pull out a victory over Porter in 2020.
What makes this challenge on Saturday night a tougher one for Spence than it already would’ve been, are the circumstances surrounding the two-belt champion, as he’ll be making his return to the ring for the first time since being involved in a traumatic one-car accident in October 2019 in Dallas.
Driving his Ferrari at a high speed while intoxicated, Spence lost control of the vehicle, which caused it to flip multiple times. If you were to watch the video of the accident, you may be surprised to hear that the driver lived to tell about it. To hear that Spence suffered no permanent or completely life-altering injuries outside of bruising, some lacerations, and damage to his teeth would likely shock you.
Ultimately, Spence is incredibly lucky and he’s talked about how grateful he is to have a “second chance.” But although he appears to be healthy and has claimed that he’s returned to top form, there are questions that simply can’t be answered until he enters the ring.
Is his body in the kind of shape needed to win a 12-round championship fight, for example? Does he have the ability to take a shot the same way, especially to the face area where he suffered most of his damage? Has his mindset been impacted at all?
These are all unknowns at the moment and factors that must be discussed when looking at this fight with Garcia, which given everything involved, could very well test Spence in a new way.
In the end, we already know that The Truth is a special fighter. On Saturday night, however, he’ll have to prove that he’s still that guy we’ve come to know after such a brutal accident.