Brandon Wade/Associated Press
Errol Spence Jr. defeated Danny Garcia by unanimous decision on Saturday night to retain his WBC and IBF welterweight titles. It was a dominant win for Spence over a former two-division champion and one that should immediately set up a superfight with WBO titleholder Terence “Bud” Crawford.
Unfortunately, should is the operative word. Because as much as the world wants to see what would happen if the undefeated Spence took on fellow unbeaten champ Crawford, boxing’s political landscape is likely to leave that fight off the table for the foreseeable future.
If only should could make things happen.
Oh, boxing, no wonder two 50-something fighters sold more pay-per-views than any other fighter this side of Floyd Mayweather Jr. last weekend when Mike Tyson fought Roy Jones Jr. on Triller.
Unlike what happens in today’s boxing world, fighters from that era actually made the biggest and most important fights happen.
Maybe that’s why Tyson and Jones still have so many fans.
Regardless, it doesn’t matter how many front-row seats Crawford buys at Spence’s fight as he did on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, or vice versa, Spence vs. Crawford is dead in the water.
Blame PBC, Top Rank, Al Haymon, or Bob Arum. Blame all of them or none of them. It doesn’t matter. The fight won’t happen no matter how many fingers we point.
And that’s a real shame.
Because as great as Crawford looked in stopping former welterweight titleholder Kell Brook in just four rounds last month in Las Vegas, Spence might have looked even better against Garcia.
Spence was a big favorite in the fight, but he made good on being the bookies’ choice by stepping on the gas pedal from the opening round and never really letting off it.
Garcia fought bravely and with a decent-enough plan. A crafty and hard-hitting counterpuncher, Garcia tried his best to keep up with the southpaw’s tremendous work rate.
It didn’t work. The fight devolved into the same thing that every other Spence fight turns into. It’s like a mountain climber trying to overcome an avalanche. It just doesn’t work.
The tough Texan starts everything behind his strong southpaw jab, and he works his other punches all over his opponent’s head and body.
While other boxers claim to do something similar, it’s Spence’s consistent work to his opponent’s torso that separates him from the pack.
Garcia did his best to counter as much as possible. He landed here and there, but nothing was ever quite hard enough to get Spence’s attention.
Garcia could never turn back Spence’s tide.
Oh sure, Garcia had a few moments in the fight. In fact, two of the judges sitting ringside gave him four of the rounds while the other one gave him three.
But even those few rounds seemed more a case of Spence giving those rounds away over anything Garcia did.
It wasn’t for lack of effort. Garcia was trying his best to win the fight. It’s just that Spence had him beat at every turn.
Much had been made beforehand about whether Spence had fully recovered from the single-car accident he got himself into last year that left him in the hospital for two weeks.
But by the time Round 9 came around against Garcia, it was crystal clear to most everyone watching the fight that the unified welterweight champ was all the way back to top form.
In fact, Spence had warned everyone before the fight that he would be just as good as ever against Garcia, if not even better, because of all the lifestyle changes he made after his DUI conviction.
There was no better indication of Spence’s words ringing true than the look on Garcia’s face over the final three rounds of the fight.
Garcia’s eyes were swollen, he was breathing heavy, and he had marks all over his face and body. The 32-year-old from Philadelphia appeared haggard, overwhelmed, and completely sapped for energy.
To make matters worse, Spence was still coming forward.
The 30-year-old is a pressure-fighting southpaw who beats his opponents down over time, and he doesn’t take too many hard punches back in return.
He’s always coming forward.
There doesn’t even seem to be any other 147-pound fighter in the world right now who might be able to solve the punishing puzzle that is Spence.
Well, except for Crawford, the three-division world champion who, like Spence, seems to be a Chessmaster stuck inside a world full of Checkers players.
Spence and Crawford is the best fight that could be made in boxing right now. Both fighters scored huge wins in 2020 that prove the superfight should immediately be set up right now.
It’s too bad what should happen in boxing doesn’t mean a thing.