Errol Spence not only reestablished himself as the leader of the welterweight division but also box-office gold.
The unbeaten Desoto, Texas native was brilliant in a tenth-round stoppage of Yordenis Ugas to win the WBA welterweight title and defend his WBC/IBF belts atop an April 16 Showtime Pay-Per-View event from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The show marked Spence’s third appearance at the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, minutes from his hometown. It generated a live gate of $5,000,260 from 37,022 tickets sold according to the final Promoter Tax Report filed with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com.
Another 3,806 complimentary tickets were issued for a total fan attendance of 40,828, strangely exceeding the 39,946 total attendance figure issued on fight night.
Final pay-per-view figures were never released for the event, though the most optimistic projections indicate just north of 250,000 units sold.
Spence fought for the first time since recovering from surgery to repair a retinal detachment discovered ahead of his scheduled fight with legendary former eight-division titlist Manny Pacquiao last August. The injury was discovered during a pre-fight medical review, forcing Spence out of the dream fight and with the opportunity instead going to Ugas (27-5, 12KOs) who outpointed Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39KOs) over twelve rounds to defend his WBA title.
The setback left Spence out of the ring for a total of 16 months since his December 2020 win over Danny Garcia, which came following a 15-month absence due to his recovering from injuries sustained in a single-car crash in October 2019. His win over Garcia also took place at AT&T Stadium, with that event pulling a live gate of $2,615,075 from 14,508 tickets sold at a time when social distancing was still in effect due to Covid protocol.
Spence debuted at the state-of-the-art AT&T Stadium in March 2019, when he outpointed then-unbeaten former four-division titlist Mikey Garcia in front of an announced crowd of 47,525 for their Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event.
The win over Ugas marked the sixth overall title defense for Spence since first winning the IBF welterweight title in an eleventh-round stoppage of Kell Brook in May 2017 on the road in Sheffield, England. All but two title defenses have taken place in the greater Dallas area, beginning with his first-round knockout of IBF mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo atop a June 2018 Showtime telecast in front of an announced crowd of 12,604 from the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
Spence added the WBC title with a 12-round, split decision win over Shawn Porter in their memorable September 2019 Fox Sports PPV headliner from Staples Center in Los Angeles. The event produced a live gate of $2,257,155 from 12,671 tickets sold and another 1,390 complimentary tickets issued.
Whom Spence next faces will ultimately determine where he next fights. Looming ahead is an industry-wide desired four-belt, undisputed championship showdown with WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford (38-0, 29KOs). Such a bout—if it gets made—would likely take place in Las Vegas. Spence will have dealer’s choice against any other opponent in or around the welterweight division, as shown in the receipts from his last several events.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox