It had to be seen to find out. (photo by Ryan Hafey)

Coming off his auto accident in 2019, would Errol Spence still be Errol Spence? After twelve rounds, we had an answer. It may not have been his career best outing but it was more than enough to hand Danny Garcia his worst official defeat. Pressuring, guarding well, working the body, and marking up the face of the challenger, we end the weekend where we’ve seemingly been for a couple years now.

There are plenty of good fights to make at welterweight. The one that counts as THE fight has never been more obvious. With now four wins against consensus top ten welterweights in his last six fights, Errol Spence is in position to stamp himself the best welterweight of the post-Mayweather era.

Complete validation won’t come until he sees Terence Crawford.  

Let’s get into it.

The Future for Spence: Spence’s performance Saturday was a best case scenario for him. He seemed to slow down for a couple rounds late but he caught a second wind and closed with a dominant twelfth round. From this corner, he won at least nine rounds and it may only have been his B+ game. Whether Crawford is next or two fights away, it would be criminal if it doesn’t come to be in 2021.

The window for both to square off while still considered at peak isn’t wide but it’s still open. Shawn Porter expressed interest on the telecast in pursuing Crawford before a Spence unification could happen. That would leave Spence with, potentially, Keith Thurman or Manny Pacquiao in the interim; maybe even Yordenis Ugas. None of those would be bad matches but they aren’t “the one” the most people want either. We might have to see some of them first anyways. There are worse outcomes. Certainly either Crawford or Spence would take the check that comes with a Pacquiao fight but fans who can be lured in should beware of thinking the Pacquiao-Thurman result would inform much of what could happen in the coming year. Pacquiao was forty when he fought Thurman. By the time he might face Crawford or Spence, he’d be two years older and two years out of the ring. That’s not a recipe for improvement.

The last few years have been fun at welterweight. 2021 can be a banner year if the right business gets done and politics can but don’t have to delay a showdown. Boxing is a business. Sure. It’s also a sport and four year waits aren’t sporting. They’re manipulative.

The Future for Garcia: Garcia fell short in his third top level outing at welterweight and isn’t likely to get better going forward. Given the depth in the class, the margin of error is narrow and Saturday may have been his last, best chance to really break through. If the downside is arrived, it’s been a notable career. Garcia had an excellent run at Jr. welterweight between his wins over Nate Campbell and Lucas Matthysse and has been expertly managed, and a little lucky along the way (Mauricio Herrera), to capitalize on that run in the near decade since without ever attaining that sort of success again. It speaks to Garcia’s consistency that he will be recalled as a high quality win for everyone who officially handed him defeats but he’s never been able to find that extra gear, that extra adaptation, at welterweight against better opposition. Sometimes other guys are just better. There’s nothing wrong with that.  

Rold Picks 2020: 27-10

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at