Danny Garcia landed a late punch to Errol Spence’s chin after the bell in the second round Saturday night. As Spence walked to his corner, he lifted his glove to his chin and wiped off the punch.
That was Spence’s answer to the question of whether his chin would be the same after his car accident and more than 14-month layoff.
His confidence grew through the fight, and Spence defeated Philadelphia’s Garcia via unanimous decision at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to defend his WBC and IBF welterweight championships. The fight, which had a social-distanced attendance of 16,102, was scored 116-112, 116-112, and 117-111 .
Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) looked like himself. He constantly applied pressure by attacking Garcia with his quick jab and body shots. According to Compubox, Spence outlanded Garcia, 187-117, in total punches.
“He had a pretty good jab,” Garcia said after the fight in his post-match interview. “I think that was the key to the fight. He was a little bit more busier than me.”
Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) looked strong early as he countered Spence’s best shots. That strategy just didn’t last long. Spence stayed on the attack and started landing more shots in the middle rounds, constantly throwing the jab. Garcia’s left eye started to close in the seventh round.
Through the first four rounds, Spence outlanded Garcia, 45-38. That margin was 142-79 the rest of the fight.
Garcia has fought only five southpaws in his career. His last was a match in January against Ivan Redkach, but Spence was on a different level. Garcia’s trainer and father, Angel Garcia, reminded his son throughout the fight to stay off the ropes because that often isn’t effective against southpaws.
Spence proved on a national stage in his hometown that he still is one of boxing’s best fighters pound for pound. He said that he plans to take some time off and return in the summer.
Garcia lost his third welterweight championship fight and said he plans to rebuild. His losses are to Spence, the current champion; and two fighters, Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman, who are in the conversation for a welterweight title shot.
“All three fights were close fights,” Garcia said. “I fought hard, and I’m proud.”
After the losses to Porter and Thurman, Garcia said at the time that he should have won. This time, Garcia didn’t have the same tone. He said Spence “was the better man” in the ring. It seemed to be the first time he knew the decision wouldn’t go in his favor.