ARLINGTON, Texas — Errol Spence Jr. has been compared to some of boxing’s legendary champions since his earliest days. After his brilliant performance Saturday in taking apart Mikey Garcia before 47,525 at AT&T Stadium to successfully defend his IBF welterweight championship, they may soon start comparing other outstanding boxers to Spence.
Spence improved to 25-0 with a dominant unanimous decision victory over the most accomplished opponent he’s faced. Judges had it 120-108 twice and 120-107 in a performance that brought to mind superstars like Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather and Roberto Duran. Yahoo Sports had it 120-108 for Spence.
Garcia said he saw something in Spence that caused him to want to move up two divisions to challenge for the welterweight title. What he got, though, was a brutal beating in which he absorbed serious punishment in nearly every round.
Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather were at ringside watching, and both had to be impressed. Pacquiao climbed into the ring after the bout, but the prospect of fighting a blazing fast and powerful fighter like Spence can’t be too appealing for a 40-year-old.
It was Mayweather-esque at times for Spence, who was outlanding Garcia by a 5-1 margin. Garcia’s corner even came close to stopping it as Garcia was taking a pummeling and was never in the fight.
“All kudos to Errol Spence,” Garcia said. “He’s the truth. He’s for real. He’s a great champion.”
Garcia entered with a 39-0 record and world championships in four divisions, but he looked vastly overmatched. Spence had a four-inch advantage in height and reach, but he was also the faster fighter.
Given that, Garcia had no shot. Spence was criticized for his lack of opposition coming in, but that argument no longer holds water.
Yahoo Sports had Spence ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound entering the bout, and he did nothing but impress in this one.
It was a star-making performance and the kind of win that could vault Spence into elite status.
After the fight, Pacquiao was interviewed in the ring about the possibility of facing Spence next.
“I want to stay active and fight again this summer,” Pacquiao said. “Real fights against real fighters.”
There is no question that Spence is about the realest there is these days.
It was a magnificent performance that can only improve.