IT was a breakthrough of sorts. Errol Spence, the IBF welterweight champion, was headlining at a vast stadium in Texas, his home state, with a crowd reportedly of over 45,000 looking on. In Mikey Garcia he did have a talented opponent, who has impressed in different weight divisions. But he was much the smaller man and that told on fight night. Spence dominated, controlling every round and subjected Garcia to a sustained pummelling.
Spence has star potential. Ability, power and he is in an exciting division. The problem for him is he now needs to be in more compelling fights. He should be not be short of options. Fights with Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter would be tremendous world title unifications and should not be hard to make, given that they all box on Premier Boxing Champions shows.
Terence Crawford, the WBO’s brilliant welterweight champion, would be the ideal next opponent for Spence and frankly that would be one of the best fights that could be made in the sport. Crawford is one of ESPN’s star names, he’s launching their first pay-per-view against Amir Khan on April 20, so if Spence stays with Fox and Premier Boxing Champions, it would seem to be a difficult deal to put together.
Most appealing, and probably more realistic, for Spence would be Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino remains one of the biggest names in the sport and, despite his advancing years, Pacquiao recently delivered a good win over Adrien Broner. Spence-Garcia settled into a repetitive 12 rounder, with the smaller man gamely taking his licks. But it didn’t live up to the grandeur of its setting. Errol Spence vs Manny Pacquiao would surely be an exciting fight and it certainly would be the high profile contest Spence needs.
He is aware of that, calling out Pacquiao as politely as he could in the immediate aftermath of his victory over Garcia.
Pacquiao will listen, even if in his heart he craves a rematch with the allegedly retired Floyd Mayweather. There doesn’t however seem much appetite so far on Floyd Mayweather’s part to engage in anything other than the odd exhibition, like he did against a Japanese kickboxer at the end of December.
Pacquiao declared tellingly, “Floyd? You will have to ask him. He seems to be enjoying his retirement. He may not want to come back and fight younger fighters like me. I want to stay active and fight again this summer. Real fights against real fighters.”