LOS ANGELES – For the past few years, Errol Spence Jr. just figured Danny Garcia wouldn’t fight him.
After what we witnessed Saturday night, Garcia obviously has changed his mind about boxing the strong southpaw. The two-division champion from Philadelphia challenged Spence in the ring following the IBF/WBC welterweight champion’s split-decision victory over Shawn Porter at Staples Center.
Garcia suddenly seems like the front-runner to oppose Spence next if Manny Pacquiao turns down a welterweight title unification fight with Spence.
The 29-year-old Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) appears open to boxing Garcia next. He would prefer, however, to face the Philippines’ Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) because it’s a higher-profile fight against legendary opponent who would help him make more money than if he fights Garcia.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Spence said during the post-fight press conference. “Like I said, tables turn. You know, I’ve been calling out Danny and all them for a long time. And, you know, now they step in the ring, trying to fight me. So, we’ll see. I mean, we’re gonna go and look, and see who’s the next great, good, available opponent.
“If I can’t get Pacquiao, you know, or nothing happens with Terence [Crawford] or anybody else, then we’ll fight Danny Garcia. So, I mean, it doesn’t matter. I think me and Shawn had a great fight, so you know, we might can do that again. We’ll see what happens.”
The 31-year-old Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs), who doesn’t have a fight scheduled, lost a close unanimous decision to Porter (30-3-1, 17 KOs) a year ago in their 12-round fight for the then-vacant WBC title. He hasn’t fought since he knocked out Adrian Granados (20-7-2, 14 KOs) in the seventh round April 20 in Carson, California.
Whomever he faces next, Spence feels he “definitely” can call his own shots because he is the only welterweight who owns two world titles.
“I’m the big fish,” Spence said. “I’m the shot-caller now. And even if I can a fight at – I can move up to [154 pounds] and fight, you know, Julian Williams and somebody like that. So, I mean, it really don’t matter. I’ll go up or down.”
Though he mentioned Crawford while assessing whether he’d fight Garcia next, Spence stated later in the press conference that he isn’t interested in boxing Crawford next.
“It don’t matter,” Spence said. “The last time Crawford fought on pay-per-view [against Amir Khan], he did a hundred thousand buys. So, I’m not worried about Crawford right now. They don’t really promote him like they should be, so it is what it is. We’ll worry about Crawford when we get there. But like I said, Crawford need me more than I need him.”
Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) is expected to make a mandatory defense of his WBO welterweight title in his next fight. The Omaha, Nebraska, native will battle Lithuania’s Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs) on December 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.