Errol Spence Jr. Shines In Return, Defeats Danny Garcia
Unified welterweight world champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. defeated two-division champion Danny “Swift” Garcia by unanimous decision Saturday night in the main event of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“The moment is surreal,” said Spence. “Coming back from the accident, I feel like I looked pretty good tonight. All training camp I felt good. I told people I didn’t want a tune-up fight. I proved to everyone that I’m the best 147-pound fighter in the world.”
Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) retained his WBC and IBF titles with an impressive performance in his hometown that saw him own a 187 to 117 advantage in punches landed, according to CompuBox. Spence controlled much of the action with his jab, landing 84 of them to slowly damage the left eye of his opponent.
“His jab was rangy and threw my timing off a bit,” said Garcia. “That was the key to the fight. Everything else I feel like I adapted to. The jab was the only thing that was better than expected.”
Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs), known as a supreme counter puncher, picked his spots against the unrelenting attack from Spence, having occasional success with his counter right hook and body shots. However, Spence was the more accurate fighter, connecting on 26% of his shots to 17% for Garcia.
“Danny Garcia pushed me to the limit, especially in training camp,” said Spence. “I’ve watched him fight since he was an amateur. I knew he was a great champion and I had to be 100% ready.”
“I was trying to be more active,” said Garcia. “He did a good job taking away what I wanted to do. Everyone is looking for my left hook, so I thought my right hand could be the difference. I had some success going to the body with it. When two champions fight, one guy is going to be better on the night.”
The two welterweight elites continued to fight hard and throw big punches to the last bell, but it was Spence out landing Garcia in each of the last six rounds. After 12 rounds, the judges scored the fight 117-111 and 116-112 twice, all for Spence.
“I had a little bit of ring rust, but I was in such great shape and took everything seriously in training so that I would not be discouraged by that,” said Spence. “I worked my jab and used my angles because that was my best move.
“It’s been a long year and a half, so I’m going to wind down for a week or two, then get back on it. I proved that I’m back and I’m here to stay.”
In the co-main event, super welterweight sensation Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora (16-0-1, 11 KOs) delivered a dominating second round TKO of former title challenger Habib Ahmed (27-2-1, 18 KOs)in their WBA Super Welterweight Title Eliminator.
Fundora was in control from the outset, stunning Ahmed in the early moments of round one with a left uppercut from his intimidating six-foot six-inch frame. Ahmed was able to make it through a rocky first round, but encountered similar problems in round two.
“We saw him buckle in the first round,” said Fundora. “I heard my dad yell from the corner that he was shaken. I knew he couldn’t take the power, so I decided to walk right through him.”
“He’s tall and he’s a good boxer,” said Ahmed. “I didn’t start working fast enough and he started working immediately. That’s why he got me with the uppercut in round one. That messed up my rhythm. I was surprised he came out so fast.”
Early in the second round, Fundora pushed Ahmed to the ropes and began unloading with power punches, receiving no return fire from Ahmed. In the second round, Fundora managed to land 30 power punches in total before the fight was officially waived off by referee Laurence Cole 1:30 into the round.
“We just fought in an eliminator, so I’m pretty sure I’m high up in the rankings now,” said Fundora. “We’ll go back and talk about what’s next with my team. I may take a week off and enjoy the holidays, then come back strong with whatever is next. I want to fight anyone. The 154-pound division is stacked, so I’ll be ready for anyone.”
Pay-per-view action also saw welterweight contender Josesito “The Riverside Rocky” Lopez (38-8, 21 KOs) stop Francisco “Chia” Santana (25-9-1, 12 KOs) in the 10th and final round of their clash.
Lopez got off to a fast start in round one, connecting flush with a right hand and following up with hooks to the body to drop Santana midway through the round. Santana rose to his feet and was able to slow the ensuing follow-up attack from Lopez by landing multiple hooks in the round’s remaining moments.
“He got me with a flash knockdown in the first round,” said Santana. “He throws big wide shots and he caught me on the top of my head and messed with my equilibrium for a second. I was able to get up and go back to work.”
Santana remained planted in the center of the ring for most of the fight, while Lopez was happy to circle the ring and pick his moments to come forward and attack in spurts. Lopez built up a big advantage in body punches landed, landing 49 to Santana’s three.
“Santana is one of the toughest fighters out there not holding a belt,” said Lopez. “I’m never in an easy fight, but I’m always going to give it everything I have. He knew that if he made a small mistake, he was going to pay. I made sure he paid and I dictated the pace with my jab while utilizing good footwork against a tough fighter.”
In round nine, Lopez again dropped Santana, initially hurting him with a right hand late in the round to lead to the knockdown. Santana was able to make it through the round, but was quickly dropped two times early in the tenth round, with referee Neal Young halting the fight 1:22 into the frame.
“It was a tough fight like I expected,” said Lopez. “I had to be smart in there, dictate the pace and pick my shots. We managed to do what we set out to do. You can’t deny me anymore. If I’m not in with the best, I’m in with the toughest. I want one of the world champions or one of the top fighters.”
In the pay-per-view opener, featherweight contender Eduardo Ramirez (24-2-3, 11 KOs) scored a sensational one-punch knockout over Miguel Flores (24-4, 12 KOs) in the fifth-round in their WBA Featherweight Title Eliminator.
“I’m very happy about the win,” said Ramirez. “I worked very hard and I’m thrilled to get the victory tonight. This was all the result of the hard work I put into the gym. The Montiel brothers trained me well and it all paid off tonight. This was a last minute opponent. I didn’t get to train specifically for him. But I’m getting better every day in the gym, that’s my main focus. I feel like I can beat anyone in this division.”
Ramirez controlled much of the early action, tagging Flores with left and right hooks, slowly damaging the area under Flores’ right eye. Flores showed a formidable body attack but was unable to slow his opponent’s offense.
Ramirez owned a 62 to 37 advantage in punches landed throughout the fight. In the opening moments of the fifth-round, Ramirez delivered a picture-perfect counter right hook that immediately sent Flores to the canvas.
While Flores was able to get to his feet, referee Laurence Cole called an end to the bout 20 seconds into the round.
“I was having fun in there,” said Flores. “I thought I was doing better on the inside than the outside with him. We were putting on a good fight. He just caught me with one of those looping shots. It happens, it’s part of boxing. I’m a fighter and I’ll be back.”
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself,” said Ramirez. “Whatever my team wants to do, we’ll talk about it. I just want to become a world champion. I’ll be ready anywhere at any time.”
Prior to the pay-per-view, FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Prelims on FS2 featured Issac Avelar (17-2, 10 KOs) earning a unanimous decision victory over Sakaria Lukas (23-1, 16 KOs) by the score of 98-92 according to all three ringside judges in their featherweight bout.
Prelims also saw top welterweight prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. (7-0, 4 KOs) score two knockdowns on his way to a unanimous decision victory over Steven Pulluaim (5-3, 1 KO) with all three judges scoring the bout 60-52. In a six-round super middleweight matchup, Marco Delgado (7-1, 5 KOs) defeated Burley Brooks (6-1, 5 KOs) by split decision with one score of 57-55 for Brooks, overruled by two judges scoring the fight 59-53 for Delgado.