The great ones walk into the ring through piles of questions. By the time they walk out, they’ve dispelled them all.

Only one of those questions remained for Errol Spence late Saturday night.

Which horse will he pick out for his first ride on Sunday, at his ranch in DeSoto, Tex.? The one he named Ferrari, after the car that he demolished on Oct. 10 of last year?

“I don’t know, it’s been a long camp,” Spence said after his unanimous decision over Danny Garcia at AT&T Stadium. “It’s been 10 to 12 weeks and I’ve been spending it 24/7 in the gym. So that’s all I’m going to think about.”

Well, there’s this other question.

When will Spence settle all welterweight accounts and fight Terence Crawford, the WBO champion from the other side of the promotional divide?

Spence, who kept his IBF and WBC titles, represents Premier Boxing Champions and Al Haymon. Crawford is the pride of Top Rank and Bob Arum. Spence’s win sets up that titanic tussle, provided the virus recedes and people can once again sit elbow to elbow. Crawford, in fact, showed up in Arlington and got booed by most of the 16,000 fans when his face adorned the video board.

“Terence has to live up to his word,” Spence said. “He says he’s not worried about me. I don’t know why he was here, then. I don’t go to his fights.”

Again, it’s an unnatural question to ask a guy who has just toiled for 12 rounds and who isn’t in charge of the star-maker machinery anyway. But there wasn’t much else to analyze in Spence’s victory, in which he took eight of the 12 rounds on two of the judges’ cards and nine of 12 on the other.

The biggest issue was how much of the real Spence had survived that terrifying crash in downtown Dallas. He had not been in the ring since he had edged Shawn Porter in September of 2019. That all floated away in the first round, when Spence found a home for his right jab and established the size and reach advantages that he brought with him.

He wound up landing 84 jabs.

“I’ve always thought it was the easiest punch to learn and the hardest punch to block,” said Derrick James, Spence’s trainer. “It was beautiful tonight, because it was so consistent.”

It was the third career loss for Garcia. The other two were 147-pound title opportunities against Porter and Keith Thurman. All three, to an extent, were caused because Garcia, a savvy counter-puncher, couldn’t or didn’t pressure those opponents. HIs dad and trainer Angel wasn’t the only person perplexed by the final 15 seconds of the fight, when Danny finally began throwing hard rights at Spence. The horse had long left the barn.

“If he had done that the whole fight he might have won,” Angel said, “He had to let his hands go. Spence was stealing rounds, doing a lot in the last minute of the rounds. Danny was slipping and dipping and not countering. These judges, they don’t give you points for slipping and dipping. They give you points when the punches land.”

Garcia said Spence was tougher than either Thurman or Porter “because he’s stronger than the other two, and he has a better jab. He has great timing with it. He knows when to use it. I couldn’t get around it. He was the better man tonight.”

The Spence-Garcia pay-per-view numbers probably won’t approach the 1.5 million that watched Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. go for the AARP belt at Staples Center last Saturday. But Spence’s relative sharpness, which earned him a “B” on the self-grading system, is excellent news for boxing fans.

Now that he has restored himself, a bout with Crawford is there, and so are Thurman and Manny Pacquiao and maybe even the Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez winner, moving up from super-lightweight.

Spence has been a hermit since the accident, returning to his Dallas gym in March and staying there. It was like the old days, he said, when you kept in shape just in case a fight came along.

“I could train for strategy instead of training to lose 30-40 pounds,” Spence said, and, indeed, he was the far fresher man going into the late rounds. Had he not gone into the prevent offense, he would have made the scores look as decisive as the fight was.

When it came time for the ringwalk, he smiled broadly. “I was just super-excited to have a chance to be a household name in Dallas again,” he said.

It’s a long way from a statistic.


By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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