Overwhelming feeling! - Spence Jr elated after big win on Saturday
Errol Spence Jr, one of the long line of world boxing champions with Jamaican ties, successfully defended his International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight titles last Saturday night, when he scored a unanimous decision over number one contender Danny Garcia, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Spence, whose father Errol Sr is a Jamaican who still has deep roots in the town of Axe and Adze in Hanover, was the clear winner on the scorecards of the three judges, Tim Cheetham 117-111, Barry Linderman and Steve Weisfeld 116-112 each.
It was the 30 year-old’s first fight in 14-months, after a near fatal accident on October 10, 2019 when, after a night of celebrations, he crashed his Ferrari 488 Spider, and was in hospital for three weeks. He miraculously did not suffer any serious injury, despite having to be in an intensive care unit for over two weeks, and to this day not recalling anything about the accident.
Saturday was the night to show whether he had retained all his boxing skills, and he did. He fought smart, used his superb jabs to good advantage and not only outsmarted, but also outjabbed his rival for 12 scintillating rounds.
In an interview with The Gleaner, he said that his trainer Derrick James and his dad had urged him not to brawl with Garcia, adding that in his title unification fight with Shawn Porter in September last year, he did not follow their instructions and it could have cost him the fight.
“They told me to use my jabs and my boxing skills against Shawn, but I made the hype get to me, and went toe-to-toe with him most of the way. I ended up with a split decision and on reflection, I see where I could have thrown that fight away. Saturday I listened to them, and won comfortably,” said Spence Jr.
Spence put the game plan drawn up for him in play from the opening bell, and from his southpaw stance, he peppered Garcia with jabs. On numerous occasions it was his right jabs to the head and left hooks to the body combinations that did the damage. His jabs opened a cut over Garcia’s left eye in the third round, and although the cut did not open up appreciably, it bothered Garcia.
As the fight progressed, both of Garcia’s eyes became puffy and Spence Jr put pressure on him relentlessly. This took its toll, but Garcia never faltered and kept trying to turn the tables on Spence Jr, but did not succeed. It was not until the final round, when Garcia went for broke, that Spence Jr decided to get into a few exchanges with him. This did not last for long, however, as Spence Jr, knowing that victory was in the bag, took no chances and toyed with his opponent to the bell.
The CompuBox figures told the tale. Spence Jr landed 84 of the jabs that he threw and also hit the mark with 103 power punches. Garcia, however, scored with only 14 jabs but also landed 103 power punches. Spence Jr therefore landed 70 more clean punches than Garcia.
A very happy Spence told The Gleaner that he was pleased with his performance, describing his win as an extremely rewarding experience.
“When I heard the ring announcer say, ‘the winner and still champion’, the feeling of joy that I felt was even more satisfying than when I was declared champion for the first time back in May 2017,” Spence Jr said. “I am back and 2021 will be a busy year.”
His father Errol Sr confirmed that they are expecting an active year, and noted that they are also planning to take a trip to Jamaica at the beginning of the year.
“We would like to have about three fights next year. We are also planning to come to Jamaica to visit my 96-year-old mother early in the new year,” said Spence Sr.
Spence Jr now has a record of 27-0 with 21 knockouts.