DALLAS – Errol Spence Jr. understands the skepticism.
Besides short clips available on television or the Internet, no one outside of his team has really seen Spence box since his horrific car accident in October 2019. Doubting Spence’s ability to return to his phenomenal form is a natural instinct, yet he cannot wait to prove cynics wrong when he encounters Danny Garcia on Saturday night.
Spence assures anyone who’ll listen that he remains every bit the pound-for-pound fighter he was before his Ferrari flipped multiple times and he was ejected from it nearly 14 months ago in downtown Dallas.
“Me and my coach [Derrick James] been in the gym since probably February and just been grinding hard and, you know, we to this point,” Spence said Wednesday during a press conference. “And now we’re back. I’m a hundred percent, I’m ready. He’s seen my reaction time, he’s seen my sparring and, you know, how I do on the mitts and on the bag, and everything’s back on point and back to, you know, where it was. So, I feel great and everybody’s gonna see, you know, the same Errol Spence Jr., post-car accident.”
Cuts to his face and body and damage to his teeth left Spence in a Dallas hospital for almost a week following his one-car accident in October 2019. He was charged with a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated as a result of that scary crash.
The potentially fatal mistake he made that horrifying night altered Spence’s perspective on his life and his boxing career. The 30-year-old Spence spends more time with his family – which includes 5-year-old and 3-year-old daughters and a newborn son – and intensified his focus on training.
The unbeaten IBF and WBC welterweight champion has been training in some capacity in James’ gym for nine-plus months to square off against Garcia, a two-division champion from Philadelphia.
“I wouldn’t say [the accident] renewed any love, because, you know, I never fell out of love with boxing,” Spence said. “But I think it did renew my focus and got me back focused on the things that got me to the top of the mountain, and that’s just being in the gym every day and things like that. Because at some point I was, you know, after a fight, you know, started taking a week off, then two weeks off, to a month off, to, you know, basically being in the gym when it was fight time. So, you know, now we’ve been in the gym, like I said, since February, just grinding hard, you know, staying focused and staying on the grind. And that’s what got me to the point to be unified champion, and to get to the mountain top, just being in the gym every day and just grinding. So, you know, I think it really did help me, especially, you know, just, you know, you realize that, you know, having this time on Earth, it’s a luxury. You know, and you don’t really realize that being this young. You know, you think you’re invincible and you think nothing can happen to you.
“But when something do happen to you, you just realize, you know, the time is important, especially spending it with your family and your loved ones and the people that really care about you, and that you really care about. So, for that standpoint, that’s why, you know, I actually moved out of downtown, got a ranch and, you know, got horses and, you know, different cattle and things like that. And, you know, got a pool and I’m outside with my kids, enjoying the time with my kids and my family. I just had a newborn son, and a girlfriend, and you know, just enjoying life more and the people that care about me more than just, you know, all the outside influences … what you’ll call distractions.”
Spence (26-0, 21 KOs), a southpaw from DeSoto, Texas, and Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) will headline a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View show Saturday night from the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The four-bout broadcast will begin at 9 p.m. EST and costs $74.99 to view in HD.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.