Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia was billed as a superfight between two undefeated champions. But the end result was not even remotely competitive, as Spence took the unanimous decision win with not one single judge awarding Garcia one single round. Spence had the reach advantage, which he played up with his jab, and he had the power advantage. With those tools, combined with nice defense, he took Garcia completely out of the fight, denying him the opportunity for any offense. It was a great, world class performance from Spence, but it’s one that is sure to leave a bit of a sour taste in the mouths of some - those who will wonder why the big Welterweight couldn’t put away the man coming up two weight classes. But this shouldn’t be a knock on Spence. Garcia may be smaller, but he’s a terrific fighter himself, and Spence fought the perfect fight to destroy him. It was’t dramatic, but it was a masterclass performance.
Post-fight, all the hype was on Manny Pacquiao, who claimed he wanted the winner. Which... well, forgive me for being skeptical there.
There are plenty of great, relatively easy to book options available for Spence right now: Pacquiao, Thurman, Porter, Danny Garcia. Any would be good. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait a year or more to see him challenged, because we still haven’t seen just how good he is capable of being. And I want to find out.
Thoughts on the rest of the card:
- Fights aside, it has to be said that this was a really horribly produced show, especially for a PPV. So many bad “bits” and attempts at funny little segments that just fell flat. And a glacial pace with analysts not saying anything of note mixed in with fighters not telling us anything of note. And the fights? Aside from the main event, they were all one-sided destructions with no drama, and that’s what all looked like they would be based on the match-making. Surely we can do better than this, especially for $75, can’t we?
- In the semi main event, David Benavidez returned from a suspension and year long absence and completely dominated J’Leon Love. Love wasn’t able to move and make Benavidez uncomfortable, and that allowed Benavidez to plant himself and just tear Love apart from the start. In round two, he forced the fight to the ropes, hurt Love, completely unloaded, and the fight was over. I thought there was a chance Benavidez would start slow given the layoff, but he certainly didn’t.
- Thanks to some fast fights, James Roach and Lindolfo Delgado got called up as a swing fight, and Delgado made the very most of the opportunity. He set the tone right from the opening bell with some nasty body work. About two minutes in, Roach was already badly hurt and stumbling. Delgado trapped Roach against the ropes, uncorked a bomb of a left to the body and that was that. Good job taking the advantage of an opportunity for the now 9-0 Delgado.
- Luis Nery put on a strong performance here. He looked great in a 4 round rout of McJoe Arroyo. Great speed, great combos, and big power. Arroyo is a good talent, and he just had nothing at all for Nery, being dropped 4 times between rounds 2-4 before his corner very sensibly decided he had seen enough. I’m excited to see what comes next for the undefeated Nery, even if perhaps the “next Pacquiao” narrative from the commentary team may have been a bit much.
- Chris Arreola put on the exact fight he needed to put on. He came in, he put the pressure on Jean Pierre Augustin, and he got it done, ending the fight in round 3. At 38 and over 15 years into his pro career, he knew, and said, that a loss here was the end. That didn’t happen, and he’s got new life. It wasn’t pretty, but it was the win he needed. I certainly don’t see him being a true title threat (obviously), but he could have some fun fights - perhaps against Luis Ortiz? For his part, Augustin didn’t look good at all, repeatedly flopping and just making it an ugly fight all around.
- The night kicked off on FS1 with a Heavyweight fight between Charles Martin and Gregory Corbin. It’s a notable fight for the result, as Corbin simply could. not. stop. punching Martin in the groin. He was warned, he was docked points, but he was on a mission to land those low blows, and nothing was going to deter him. In round 8, after having already been docked 3 points (!), he did it again and was at last disqualified. Martin, best known for being the guy Anthony Joshua won his first world title from, gets back in the win column after a September loss to Adam Kownacki.