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Errol Spence Jr. is set to take on Danny Garcia in an important battle in boxing’s welterweight division.
Spence vs. Garcia takes place live on December 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The two stalwart 147-pounders will duke it out for Spence’s IBF and WBC world titles in the main event of a PBC on Fox pay-per-view boxing card.
But before Spence and Garcia trade leather in the center of the ring on fight night, Bleacher Report’s Lyle Fitzsimmons and I did the same thing, figuratively speaking, about who we thought would win the big fight.
Read through our takes on Spence vs Garcia, then leave your own in the comments below.
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Spence is returning to action for the first time since he wrecked his Ferrari last year in a single-car accident that left the southpaw in the ICU, so it’s completely understandable that some might be wondering whether the best days of Spence are behind him.
For my prediction, I’m going with the idea put forth by the public relations teams over at Fox Sports, a storyline that suggests Spence’s near-death experience helped the fighter realize what’s really important in life and that the best of Spence is still to come.
That’s an exciting thought for boxing and a scary one for the rest of the welterweight division.
Spence, 30, was already considered by most to be the best of a deep crop of PBC welterweights. He was also already considered the No. 1 fighter at 147 pounds by The Ring magazine and Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
Now, imagine a version of Spence that’s even more committed to being the best possible athlete he can be.
Still, Danny Garcia is a live dog this weekend. Garcia is a two-weight world champion, and he’s never been blown out by anyone.
In fact, both of the 32-year-old’s losses were close fights against world champs that could have gone either way on the scorecards. Garcia, from Philadelphia, is not a kind of Rocky Balboa-type underdog. He’s more like Joe Frazier was against Muhammad Ali: a legit threat to walk away with the title.
Regardless, I’m still picking Spence to beat Garcia via unanimous decision. The unified champ will box from a distance early in the fight and break Garcia down with pressure over the second half. Garcia will have his moments, but Spence will ultimately prove he’s in a league of his own.
Spence via unanimous decision
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My man Kelsey, as usual, is right on most things.
His facts are in perfect alignment. Spence is back from a serious accident and certainly fortunate to have the opportunity to continue his life, let alone his chosen profession.
And there are plenty of people who would suggest, thanks to the crash, that he’ll never be the same.
I don’t necessarily believe that last part. Spence is a young man and a world-class athlete, so there’s no indisputable evidence that says he can’t be at least what he was before, if not better.
Which means there’s no reason for we boxing heads to stop fantasizing over the idea of Spence one day meeting his belted counterpart at 147 pounds—Terence Crawford.
Well, let me take that back. There is one reason.
His name is Danny Garcia.
As Kelsey mentioned, Garcia’s no joke. He’s as Philadelphia tough as they come, has been among the top dogs in two divisions and has been so close in his two career losses—to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter—that the average deficit across six combined scorecards is a mere two points.
That’s a 7-5 verdict in a 12-round fight.
Certainly, if you speak hurricane-ese, within the cone of uncertainty.
Not to mention he’s beaten 10 fighters who either were or had been champions, including four by KO. So even on Spence’s best day, he’d provide as stiff a challenge as the Texan has encountered.
And even though I think Spence will fully recover his mojo at some point, it says here that looking for a piece of a guy as good as Garcia—after a 434-day layoff that included a hospital stay—is a bit much.
So while I agree with my colleague that the champ will shine early and ultimately try to walk his man down, it will be at that point that he becomes engulfed in a firefight for which he’s not yet prepared.
Garcia will land. Garcia will hurt him. And it will change the tenor of the fight.
Enough, in fact, that it will halt the calls for a Spence-Crawford showdown.
You heard it here first. Bring on Garcia-Crawford instead.
Garcia, TKO, Rd. 10