Errol Spence dominates Mikey Garcia at AT&T Stadium
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: March 17, 2019
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – In 1986, a retired “Sugar” Ray Leonard sat in the audience to witness Marvelous Marvin Hagler making the 12th title defense of his Middleweight crown in stopping John Mugabi in 11 rounds. Leonard after the fight told his handlers that he wanted to face Hagler and felt that he could beat the reigning Middleweight champion.
In 2018, four-division world champion Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) watched Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs) defend his IBF Welterweight title twice against Lamont Peterson and Carlos Ocampo in two dominating performances. Garcia made it known that he was willing to make the jump from Lightweight to Welterweight to face the fighter that is seen as the proverbial boogeyman in his division.
Garcia like Leonard felt he saw a chink in the armor of Spence. Something that he could take advantage of even with is smaller stature. Unfortunately for Garcia, unlike Hagler, Spence is at the beginning of his title reign rather than the end.
In front of a crowd of 47, 525 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Spence showed the world why he has been called the most feared man in the Welterweight division. The Texas native was able to turn a lose-lose situation into a win by giving one of the best performances of his career.
Spence was able to use his right jab and slight lateral movement to keep Garcia out of range and continuously resetting. The only rounds in the bout that were close and could have been scored for Garcia are the second and fifth rounds.
Many fans and pundits were expecting Spence to be too big and strong for the WBC Lightweight champion; however, it wasn’t expected for Spence to outclass and outbox Garcia to a wide unanimous decision victory. Garcia at times attempted to backup Spence, but was unable to land anything of consequence on the IBF Welterweight champion.
Spence’s jab and southpaw stance neutralized nearly all of Garcia’s advances. There were portions of the match in the championship rounds that would have warranted the bout to be stopped by Garcia’s corner.
After 12 rounds, Spence was awarded the wide unanimous decision winning every round on all three judges scorecards. Two of the three judges scored the bout 120-108, and one judge scored the bout 120-107.
After the fight ended, WBA Welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao entered the ring to congratulate Spence on his victory. Spence proceeded to call Pacquiao out for a bout in the future.
Whether Pacquiao ends up in the ring with Spence remains to be seen. Bouts with Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman would see the Texas native as a clear favorite. The match that would determine the best in the weight class would arguably be against WBO Welterweight champion Terence Crawford who will be defending his title against Amir Khan next month.
Spence landed 345 out of 1082 total punches at a 32 percent connect rate. Garcia was able to land 75 out of 406 total punches at an 18 percent connect rate.
For Garcia, a return to the Lightweight division could be an option. A fight with WBA and WBO Lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko could still be made. After his performance against Spence, Lomachenko would likely be favored as his movement and ability to throw in combination could cause many issues for the four-division champion.
While in many respects, Spence did what he was supposed to do against Garcia and that is win, he dominated in such a fashion that he was able to make his stock rise. He has now shown that he is a draw in his home state of Texas and with three title defenses under his belt he may be the best Welterweight in the world.
The pay-per-view’s main co-feature bout showcased the return of the youngest Super Middleweight champion in boxing history David Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs) facing off against J’Leon Love (24-2-1, 13 KOs). Benavidez has been out of the ring for more than a year for complications outside of the ring that led to him losing his WBC Super Middleweight title.
Benavidez showed little ring rust making it clear from the start that there was a massive gap in hand speed. The Phoenix, Arizona native was able to use his hand speed to land combination after combination on Love. The end came in the second round when a left hand hurt Love and then Benavidez following up with a flurry of punches.
The bout was stopped at the 1:14 mark of the second round.
After the fight, Benavidez called out current WBC Super Middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell for a chance to win back the title he lost outside of the ring.
In Bantamweight action, former WBC Bantamweight champion Luis Nery (29-0, 23 KOs) made his United States debut against former IBF Super Flyweight champion McJoe Arroyo (18-3, 8 KOs). Nery is best known for his fights with Japanese star Shinsuke Yamanaka where he scored two stoppage victories.
The two victories also ended up with Nery being banned from fighting in Japan. He tested positive for a banned substance before his first bout with Yamanaka and in the rematch he came in five pounds above the Bantamweight limit of 118 pounds.
Nery wasted no time going after Arroyo and was able to put a beat down on the Puerto Rican Olympian. The Tijuana, Mexico native was able to score four knockdowns, and after four rounds Arroyo’s corner decided to put a halt to the bout.
Nery at just 24 years of age is one of the top Bantamweights in the world and hopefully fans will see him back in the ring against some of the champions in the division soon.
Starting off the pay-per-view telecast was former Heavyweight contender Chris Arreola (38-5-1, 32 KOs) fighting in just his second match in 28 months as he took on undefeated Jean Pierre Augustin (17-1-1, 12 KOs). Arreola made quick work of Augustin scoring a third-round technical knockout.
Arreola was able to close the distance little by little in each round until Augustin succumb to the pressure after getting knocked down in the third round. The bout was stopped at the 2:03 mark of the round.
(Featured Photo: Jose Miranda for Frontproof Media)