Now Spence has proven it to everyone else. Spence displayed Saturday night against Danny Garcia that he truly regained his form following a scary car accident in October 2019 that left doubters wondering whether the unbeaten IBF and WBC welterweight champion could remain the same fearless, ferocious fighter as before that crash.
Spence boxed and banged at times with the hard-hitting Garcia and beat him thoroughly on all three scorecards before a pandemic-restricted, pro-Spence crowd of 16,102 at AT&T Stadium. Judges Tim Cheatham (117-111), Barry Lindenman (116-112) and Steve Weisfeld (116-112) each scored Spence a wide winner in their FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event.
The 30-year-old Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) retained his IBF and WBC welterweight titles by defeating Philadelphia’s Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs), an opponent much tougher and accomplished than he needed to face in his first fight following that accident.
“The moment’s surreal, man” Spence told FOX Sports’ Jordan Plant. “It’s been a dream of mine just to come back from the accident. [After] a year-and-a-half layoff, you know, I thought I looked pretty good. There was a little ring rust in there. I got a little tired, but I think I shook off the cobwebs. You know, I’ll be ready to fight again in the summertime.”
The nearby DeSoto, Texas, native dealt Garcia the most decisive defeat of his 13-year pro career. Before Saturday night, Garcia had lost only a split decision to Keith Thurman in March 2017 and a closer unanimous decision to Shawn Porter in September 2018.
Garcia was competitive in the first half of his fight versus Spence, but the two-division champion all too often failed to let his hands go as Spence stockpiled points.
“He was just the better man tonight,” Garcia said. “No excuses. You know, I fought a hard, tough fight. He had a pretty good jab. … You know, I fought hard and I’m proud.”
CompuBox counted 187-of-707 punches overall for Spence, 70 more than it unofficially credited Garcia for landing (117-of-700). According to CompuBox, Spence connected on 70 more jabs (84-of-419 to 14-of-362), but they landed the same number of power punches (103-of-288 for Spence and 103-of-338 for Garcia).
Meanwhile, Spence’s win re-established momentum for him to finally fight unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, who was ringside to watch him beat Garcia.
Spence fought for the first time since he topped Porter by split decision in September 2019 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Less than two weeks later, Spence suffered cuts and bruises to his face and body and damaged teeth in a one-car accident nearly 14 months ago in downtown Dallas.
Spence spent nearly a week at Methodist Dallas Medical Center recovering from his injuries. He was charged with a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated as a result of that scary accident, in which he was ejected from a Ferrari that flipped over several times.
The 2012 U.S. Olympian was supposed to defend his titles against Garcia on January 25, but Spence’s recovery and later the COVID-19 pandemic delayed their fight for 10 months.
By the 12th round Saturday night, Garcia seemed content to go the distance in a fight he clearly was losing. They traded hard shots as their contest came to a conclusion and hugged as soon as the bell sounded to end their fight.
Garcia punctuated a relatively uneventful 11th round when he hit Spence with a right hand that made Spence look down to the canvas, seemingly for his mouthpiece. Garcia tried to capitalize just before the bell sounded, but Spence avoided his right hand.
The crowd booed loudly before the 10th round started, when Crawford was shown on the huge AT&T Stadium screen above the ring. The most meaningful moment within the round itself occurred when Garcia connected with a right hand that shifted Spence backward in its final minute.
Spence spent much of the ninth round boxing Garcia, perhaps avoiding unnecessary risks against Garcia.
Spence landed a thudding left to Garcia’s body that made him move away before the halfway point of the eighth round. The crowd erupted when Spence muscled Garcia into the ropes with about 45 seconds to go in the eighth round, yet Garcia fired back enough punches to keep Spence honest.
By the start of the seventh round, there was a mark and some swelling underneath Garcia’s left eye. An accidental clash of heads with about a minute to go in the seventh made referee Thomas Taylor call for a break to check for cuts on the faces of both boxers.
Garcia snuck in a right hand that knocked Spence off balance a few seconds before the end of the seventh round.
Garcia and Spence stood and traded with just over two minutes to go in the sixth round. Spence landed a right to Garcia’s body that made the challenger pivot off the ropes and move away from him.
Garcia landed a short right inside with about 1:15 to go in the sixth round that got Spence’s attention.
Spence drilled Garcia with a left hand a little less than a minute into the fifth round. Garcia just missed with a right hand that grazed Spence’ face after the midway mark of the fifth, but Garcia fired back with two hard body shots.
Spence pressured Garcia for the first minute of the fourth round, but Garcia eventually brought their battle back to the center of the ring. Garcia landed a right to Spence’s body with just over 20 seconds to go in the fourth and added a straight right up top about 10 seconds later.
Garcia caught Spence with a right hand about 25 seconds into the third round. Spence moved Garcia backward with a left hand later in the third.
Garcia went after Spence’s body at times in the third round as well. Garcia awkwardly turned his back on Spence toward the end of the third round, but Spence didn’t hit Garcia as he turned around and re-established his footing.
Spence landed a straight left hand about 1:10 into the second round. A left hand by Garcia landed clean and backed up Spence just after the halfway point of the second round.
Garcia missed wildly with a right hand a little less than a minute later. Taylor warned Garcia for hitting Spence with a right and a left after the bell sounded to end the second round.
Garcia blocked multiple left hands by Spence in the first round by keeping right hand held to his face. Garcia landed a right hand as Spence came forward with just over 40 seconds to go in the opening round.
Garcia landed another right toward the end of the first round, again as Spence moved forward.
Spence’s best sequence of the first round was when he landed a left-right combination to Garcia’s body.
SOURCE: Boxingscene.com/Ebenezer PK Brinful (Noble)