DALLAS – Reasonable people wouldn’t have complained had Errol Spence Jr. faced a lesser opponent in his first fight after coming back from injuries sustained in a scary car accident last year.
Once Spence realized what he was physically capable of accomplishing upon returning to the gym, though, he wanted to truly test himself in his comeback bout. That’s why the unbeaten IBF and WBC welterweight champion revisited a fight against Danny Garcia, whom Spence initially was supposed to fight late in January.
“I didn’t want a tune-up,” Spence told BoxingScene.com. “First, I feel like a tune-up wasn’t gonna get me anywhere. Secondly, I feel like a tune-up wasn’t gonna answer questions from people that need to be answered. And thirdly, I feel like Danny Garcia would look great on my resume, beating him.”
The 30-year-old Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) edged Shawn Porter by split decision in his last fight, a 12-rounder that took place in September 2019 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Porter beat Garcia by unanimous decision a year earlier to win the then-vacant WBC belt, but a victory over Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, would be one of the most impressive wins of Spence’s eight-year pro career.
Garcia has lost only to elite welterweights – Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs) and then-unbeaten Keith Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC), who defeated Garcia by split decision in their 12-round, 147-pound championship unification fight in March 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The 32-year-old Garcia is dangerous with his left hook and his right hand, but no one within Spence’s inner circle tried to convince the 2012 U.S. Olympian to come back against a less imposing opponent than Garcia.
“Nobody came to me and said, ‘I think you need to take a tune-up,’ or anything like that,” Spence said. “You know, I basically told them I didn’t want a tune-up, that I wanted to get back in there with a top guy, and they all agreed with it.”
Spence suffered lacerations to his face and body during a one-car accident in October 2019 in downtown Dallas. He also sustained damage to his teeth in that accident, which resulted in Dallas Police charging Spence with a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated.
Odds-makers still have implemented Spence as more than a 4-1 favorite to beat Garcia in their FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event ($74.99; 9 p.m. EST; 6 p.m. PST).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.