The boxing calendar continues to become more exciting as WBC/IBF 147 lb champion Errol Spence is set to meet former WBC 147 lb champion and former 140 lb unified champion Danny Garcia. This was a bout that was scheduled for January of this year but was derailed last October when Spence was in a terrible car accident. He suffered multiple injuries and received a DUI following his exciting decision win over Shawn Porter to unify belts last September. At the time of the original announcement this fight seemed like a foregone conclusion and a disappointment to many who wanted to see Spence and WBO titlist Terrence Crawford square off.
Now that the fight has been rescheduled it has also changed in composition. Errol Spence will be entering this bout following the longest lay off of his career and the effects of the accident. Spence by his own admission had not sparred as late as April of this year. There are mixed reports of the injuries but he certainly was out of the public eye for a while so it is tough to say the extent of what he suffered. The initial report was no broken bones but there has been some reporting of a broken jaw. There is no telling what muscle damage could have been done or what mental effect this may have had on Errol moving forward. I am surprised that they are going into the Garcia bout straight away with no tune up.
Garcia was a unified champion at 140 and carried a dangerous left hook counter that had KO power. He was very effective at imposing his style on his opponents at the lower weight class. At 147 his power is not the destructive force it was at 140 and he is noticeably smaller at the weight in comparison to his opponents. Against Keith Thurman he lost a close on the cards split decision with judges turning in 115-113/116-112 type of scores but in reality he was never in command of that fight. Thurman also buckled his knees on more than one occasion. Garcia has always been an effective jack of all trades type of fighter but not the type of boxer to blow away fans with his athletic prowess or with an all encompassing attribute. He has accurate punches, effective but not dazzling foot work, educated defense but not Mayweather-like and pop in his shots but not crippling power. He wins with a balanced style and a good understanding of clean effective boxing. If anything I think Garcia thrives off of guys that come to him but really can be neutralized by opponents that force him to lead. This explains his success vs Lucas Matthysse, Brandon Rios, Amir Khan, and Adrian Granados who came to him. This also explains why Lamont Peterson gave him fits with his movement, how Keith Thurman out boxed him, and how Shawn Porter won with a more measured approached than his all out smothering attack.
Spence has made his name as a come forward pressure fighter but has an Olympic pedigree. He also claimed victory over Mikey Garcia by boxing at range in a very measured approach. Now there are circumstances around that win given his size advantage but it is something to consider. Will Spence come after Garcia and give him his counter opportunities or will he boxed measured at range? I think there is a unique paradox at play here as Spence being aggressive can be a way to impose his size advantage and wear Garcia down. This will expose him to the danger of Garcia’s patented counter punching. If Spence boxes at range he will allow the smaller Garcia to be comfortable in there by not imposing his size. However, this strategy can put Garcia in the awkward position of being the aggressor which has a history of being a thorn in his side.
Opinion of another journalist
Garcia by late KO. I still have my doubts about Spence. Should he be back so soon and against a formidable foe such as Garcia? Some are downplaying Garcia, but that’s unfair to him. A round here or there, and Garcia is still undefeated. With the uncertainty of Spence, I give Garcia more than a puncher’s chance. https://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/29554923/experts-debate-expect-errol-spence-jr-vs-danny-garcia-winsSteve Kim: ESPN
Wild Card #1: Danny Garcia and the judges. Many fans and observers felt Garcia deserved to lose in his decision wins over Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson. In the aforementioned split decision loss to Keith Thurman he got a very favorable card and coupled with the two wins it seemed like Garcia was getting A-side treatment with the judges. Recently, Garcia got edged by Porter to lose his WBC 147 lb title in a nip/tuck sort of fight that typically would go his way. When the scores were read Porter left the ring with Garcia’s green title belt. If this fight is close which way will the judges lean?
Wild Card #2: I hate A vs B vs C logic and adhere to the tired adage of styles make fights. But I do think it is worth noting that Shawn Porter ran Errol Spence close on the judge’s cards and Garcia and Porter had a decision that could have justifiably went either way. I mention this because prior to the accident many felt the fight was a lock for Spence and a mismatch. Many now find this a compelling fight due to the car accident and the lay off. With this comparison of similar foes it can possibly mean that Garcia and Spence may be closer in ability than previously thought. Personally I think Porter’s all out aggression made the fight with Spence the war and close decision that it was. Garcia does not bring that type of intensity but I think it is something to consider. Garcia will be Spence’s second or third toughest fight. His toughest is either Porter or Kell Brook as I asterisk Mikey Garcia based on the size difference. Spence was in a very difficult fight with Brook before Brook’s face began to fall apart later in the contest. For these reasons I think we cannot discount Garcia accident or not.
Prediction: I favor Errol Spence over the course of 12 rounds with a decision in the 116-112 type of department. I get the feeling we will see more of a chess match where Spence will use his size, reach, youth, and southpaw angles to carry the day on a game Garcia.