For someone who has never lost and is generally regarded among the very best in the world pound-for-pound, Errol Spence Jr. has been forced to endure a long climb back to the top.
The fall from grace took place far from the ring, when a horrific single-car crash last October left the unbeaten Texan injured and hospitalized. It took several months for Spence (26-0, 21KOs) to feel like his old self again, though the rehabilitation process was humbling to say the least.
“Three months after the accident, I started running and my hips were still hurting,” Spence revealed to Fox Sports’ Brian Kenny in a joint interview with Danny Garcia to otherwise promote their November 21 Pay-Per-View event. “Then I got up in weight. I got up probably to 192. Getting back in shape and things like that, you know, was the toughest part.”
The accident occurred at an otherwise high point in Spence’s career. The now 30-year old southpaw from Desoto, Texas was less than two weeks removed from a thrilling 12-round split decision win over Shawn Porter to unify two major titles and firmly plant his flag as the best welterweight in the world.
It also left Spence in a place where he felt like he could do no wrong. The effects of the near-fatal accident had a profound impact on his view of the world moving forward.
“Being young, you get this false sense of security. You think you’re invincible,” admitted Spence. “I didn’t have life insurance. When you have a near-death experience, you finally realize—if I were to do, I’d have left a lot of people basically in the cold, things for my kids.
“It changed my perspective on things like that, in life and not taking boxing and life overall… I’m not taking it for granted.”
The upcoming showdown with Philadelphia’s Garcia (36-2, 21KOs) will mark Spence’s first fight back, also serving as the fifth defense of at least one welterweight title in a reign spanning more than three years.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox