DALLAS – Danny Garcia gladly agreed to come here to challenge Errol Spence Jr. for his two welterweight titles Saturday night. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Though unfazed by boxing Spence in his proverbial backyard, Garcia figured their fight wouldn’t have happened at this point if they didn’t meet at a site where fans are allowed to attend. Texas is the only state in the U.S. that is permitting crowds for boxing events, thus AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington made perfect sense for Spence-Garcia.
“I don’t think the fight would’ve happened with no fans,” Garcia told BoxingScene.com. “This is too big of a fight to not have fans. So, if there were no fans allowed, probably next year it would’ve happened.”
The home of the Dallas Cowboys can accommodate approximately 16,000 fans for the Spence-Garcia card, in accordance with the Texas Combative Sports Program’s COVID-19 protocols. That’s more than the roughly 11,000-12,000 fans that’ll be allowed at Alamodome in San Antonio for the Canelo Alvarez-Callum Smith card December 19 because AT&T Stadium is considerably bigger.
“I’m very happy fans can come,” Spence said. “This is surreal, especially in this moment, with the pandemic going on and nobody having fans there, not even NFL teams and NBA teams. So, to have this, it’s great. It’s very welcoming, too, at AT&T Stadium and having my hometown and hardcore boxing fan base. That’s gonna be great.”
Whereas Garcia doesn’t think they would’ve fought without fans, Spence says he would’ve battled Garcia in an essentially empty venue if necessary.
“I still would’ve fought, but it would’ve been a lot more boring,” Spence said. “It probably would’ve been like sparring or something without the fans there. I feel with the fans there, it’s gonna be more electrifying, especially coming out [to the ring], you know, just looking into the crowd. I couldn’t imagine looking out to the crowd and not seeing anybody there. That would’ve been like my pro debut. We’re past that point, so it’s just great having fans there.”
Spence’s previous fight at AT&T Stadium – a 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Mikey Garcia – drew an announced crowd of 47,525 in March 2019.
On Saturday night, Spence (26-0, 21 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, will defend his IBF and WBC welterweight titles against Philadelphia’s Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs). Their 12-round, 147-pound championship match will headline a four-fight FOX Sports Pay-Per-View broadcast ($74.99; 9 p.m. EST; 6 p.m. PST).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.