Danny Garcia and Errol Spence don’t agree on much heading into their highly anticipated welterweight title fight later this year.
The pair of elite boxers share common ground in the belief that their November 21 showdown—which tops a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event—will be one to remember. Beyond that, also comes a similar viewpoint—if not from two different perspectives—as to Garcia’s run ever since moving up in weight.
Spence (26-0, 21KOs) will attempt the fifth defense of at least one welterweight title dating back to his 11th round stoppage of Kell Brook in May 2017. The bout will be his first as a unified champion, a status the 30-year old southpaw from Desoto, Texas achieved in a 12-round split decision win over Shawn Porter in their Fight of the Year contender last September in Los Angeles.
Porter represents one of the two losses on the ledger of Garcia (36-2, 21KOs), both of which came on the welterweight title stage. The Philadelphia native dropped a 12-round decision to Porter in their vacant title fight in September 2018, challenging for the very WBC belt he conceded in a split-decision defeat to Keith Thurman in March 2017.
“At 140 (pounds), I’m not gonna lie, he was doing his thing,” Spence conceded to Fox Sports’ Brian Kenny in a joint interview with Garcia, though the statement coming with a disclaimer. “At 147, he’s fallen short.”
The claim wasn’t completely challenged.
There was a time when Garcia was considered among the very best fighters in the world, that status perhaps hitting its peak in a convincing decision win over Lucas Matthysse in September 2013. The win came as part of a seven-fight stretch where Garcia fought and beat all former or current titlists beginning with a ten-round decision win over Nate Campbell in April 2011.
Garcia won two 140-pound titles in back-to-back fights, outpointing Erik Morales in March 2012 before scoring a far more emphatic win in stopping the legendary four-division titlist in their rematch later that October. Wedged in between came a 4th round knockout of Amir Khan in their July 2012 unification bout.
“I’ve faced the hardest hitters and my chin has stood up to the test,” insists Garcia. “I fought the best and I beat them because I was better than them.”
That hasn’t always been the case at 147, where—even including a non-title fight win over Lamont Peterson at a 143-pound catchweight when both were 140-pound titlists in April 2015—Garcia is 7-2, with none of his performances suggesting the same level of superiority he enjoyed as the junior welterweight king.
“I will say a lot of that is because I was [too] comfortable with where I was at in life,” admits Garcia, who has won two straight including a 10-round nod over Ivan Redkach this past January. “I was already a two-division champ. I didn’t get up as much as I should have for those fights, as far as that grit and wanting it more.
“This fight, I feel like this is it. I’m seasoned now. I’ve been in a lot of tough fights. I feel good. I feel like my career is where I want it to be and I feel better than ever.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox