Errol Spence Jr. the real deal, puts a hurtin on Mikey Garcia
By John J. Raspanti
In the end, size and reach were too much for Mikey Garcia to overcome. Talent as well.
Errol Spence retained his IBF welterweight title by winning a wide 12-unanimous decision Saturday night at A T @ T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
The scores were 120-107, and 120-108 twice.
Maxboxing had Spence winning by a 119-109 tally.
The fight started slowly. Spence, a southpaw, fired his strong right jab. Garcia watched Spence intently. He looked to counter. Garcia blocked a body shot and jabbed back. Spence connected with one more jab to win the round. The mutual respect was obvious.
In round two, it was Garcia who got off the first punch. Spence kept pumping his jab. He was touching Garcia. Spence missed a blow and Garcia clipped him. Garcia went to the body and caught Spence with a left hook.
The cat and mouse game continued in rounds three and four. Spence (25-0, 21 KOs) was committed to his jab. The blow was landing and keeping Garcia off balance. Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) landed a couple of short right hands that did no damage. Spence caught Garcia with a solid left to the chin. Seconds later, he landed a combination.
Garcia connected with two solid right hands in round five. Spence was moved backwards for the first time in the fight. Spence absorbed the blows and was back in control with sweeping lefts. He was mixing up his shots and using angles successfully. Garcia connected with a right at the bell. Spence pushed Garcia back in round six. His right jab continued to tag Garcia. Spence opened up and fired two wicked hooks to the body. A solid left also landed. Garcia came back, but ate another shot to the chin. Spence was in complete control.
In rounds seven and eight, Spence kept working. He jabbed, jabbed and jabbed some more. A left to the belly landed. Garcia punched back, but hitting Spence solidly was a problem. Spence fired combinations at will. Garcia kept trying, but Spence would make him pay for his audacity. A big left clocked Garcia at the bell.
Spence was in full stalk mode in round nine. He worked the body and head. Was he trying to end things? His pressure was intense. He connected with an uppercut and two left hands. Garcia was being beat like a drum. The gutsy champion from Oxnard, CA., fought back in the final seconds of the round.
Through nine rounds it was all Spence. Garcia was hanging in, but was taking a beating. There was no quit in the four-division champion. He was told by his brother, trainer Robert Garcia, that if he got cracked with more solid shots, he’d stop the fight. Garcia threw more punches in round 10, but Spence continued to land the harder punches. .
Spence looked fresh entering round 11. He also looked deadly-landing cracking shots off the noggin of Garcia. The iron chinned Garcia had been turned into a punching bag. Spence, like a machine, kept grinding. Somehow Garcia made it to the bell.
Obviously, Garcia would need a miracle in the 12th and final round. He might have a chance If he had another fighter in the ring with him. Spence connected with two solid uppercuts. He still wanted the knockout. Garcia landed a right that surprised the focused Spence. As if annoyed, Spence tagged Garcia some more, but Garcia would go the distance.
“This is my core fan base,” said Spence.” I felt good and wanted to put on a good performance. The game is the sweet science. I wanted to be smart. I respect Mikey Garcia.”
“All the credit to Errol Spence,” said Garcia sporting a bruised cheek. “He is the truth.”