Top welterweight Errol Spence Jr (26-0, 21 KOs) comes back this week end after over a year off due to a bad car accident. He will defend his IBF and WBC belts against former two-weight titlist Danny Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs).
Spence Jr was an Olympian at the London 2012 games, in which he lost in the quarter finals to eventual bronze medalist Andrey Zamkovoy. He turned pro following the games and compiled a 21-0 record on his way to a title fight with Kell Brook in 2017. He stopped Brook in the eleventh and defended the belt three times before unifying it with Shawn Porter’s WBC belt last year in a Fight of the Year contender. A couple of weeks after the fight, Spence crashed while drunk driving and was ejected from the car in the accident. Miraculously he only suffered relatively minor injuries but has been outside of the ring ever since.
Garcia established himself as the top dog at super-lightweight in 2013 when he beat Lucas Matthysse and moved up to welterweight a couple of years later. He picked up the vacant WBC belt against veteran Robert Guerrero in 2016 but lost his two major fights at the weight in close decisions to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. He comes into this fight off of a couple of expected wins over Adrian Granados and Ivan Redkach.
The southpaw Spence is one of the most vicious and consistent body punchers in boxing, particularly with his left hand (a punch Redkach found some success with against Garcia). Garcia is a very well rounded boxer puncher who, while not the best at any particular aspect of boxing, does a lot of things very well. He is comfortable fighting forward or backward, works the body well and is an above average puncher capable of keeping anybody honest particularly with his left hook. Assuming Spence is the same boxer he was before the accident, I’d expect the fight to look a lot like his encounter with Brook, whom I’d consider to be a more technically polished albeit less durable and probably slightly lighter punching version of Garcia.
The reasonable pick is Spence by decision but Garcia is a very tough comeback and the perfect opponent to capitalize if Spence comes back diminished from the accident, or simply on any ring rust Spence might have to shake off after over a year away from the ring. Should Spence pick up where he left off, the obvious fight the boxing world wants to see would be a clash with Terence Crawford who just looked spectacular against Brook. Unfortunately, the promotional situation of both fighters mean the fight is unlikely to materialize in the foreseeable future. If Garcia managed to pull off the upset, it would be the biggest win of his career and set him up for potential rematches with Porter and Thurman.
Spence Jr vs Garcia airs on FOX Sports and Fite.TV PPV at 9PM ET on Saturday, December 5th.