Last Saturday night, IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. made his first public comments since his car accident two months ago on October 10, and he says he’s healthy and ready to resume his career in the first half of 2020. More importantly, Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) isn’t interested in taking any warm-up fights against soft opposition for his ring return. He wants nothing but the best, and his aim is to fight one of these three high level fighters:
- Manny Pacquiao
- Danny Garcia
- Terence Crawford
Spence wants NO tune-ups
You have to assume that the 41-year-old Pacquiao is at the top of Spence’s wish list for his return, as Crawford’s reported poor ticket sales for his last fight against Egidijus Kavaliauskas on December 14 suggests that he lacks the popularity to move the needle in a fight with Spence.
Last Saturday night, Spence, 29, had this to say to Fox about his career situation:
“I really was just sore. My whole body was just sore. It was, I guess, a miracle from God. He protected me during the accident because anyone else would probably have been killed. I’m able to return back to boxing next year [with] no restrictions. I’ve been cleared. They’ve done all kinds of scans on me. They think it’s a miracle.
“I don’t remember too much, but I can’t really talk about the case too much I’ve been advised by my lawyers. It’s still a pending case going on. I’ll definitely get through it. I’m fighting in May or June. I’ll be back real soon,” said Spence.
Until now, boxing fans, fighters and the media have all wondered whether Spence would ever return from his terrible car cash from last October, but it now looks like he will. However, Spence will need to do more than just talk to prove it to the fans. He’s still got to make it through a training camp to get to his next fight, and who knows how that’ll go.
If Spence starts getting knocked out, and beaten up in his next camp, it’s likely that he’ll pull out of the fight, especially if he’s a tough opponent like Danny Garcia. It’s unlikely that Spence’s next fight will be against WBA Super World welterweight champion Pacquiao. But if it’s him, then it’s difficult to imagine Spence would pull out of that fight even if he is getting batted around in sparring going into it. There would be too much money on the line for Spence to pull out.
“I’m rejuvenated and ready to get back in the gym and train hard and hopefully fight one of the top fighters,” said Spence. “I don’t want a tune-up fight. I want to fight Pacquiao or Danny Garcia.
“I am the top dog in the division. I am the king of the welterweight division. None of those guys wish I was back so fast, but I am back and I want to fight the top names in the division. Whether it’s Manny Pacquiao or Terence Crawford or Danny Garcia, I want the top names. I do want to be undisputed champion of the world.”
Crawford would be easy fight to make for Spence
The Crawford fight would be an easy one, as his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing has been chomping at the bit in 2019 to make that fight. With Spence coming off of a bad car accident, this would be the best time for Crawford to fight him. Crawford is a good fighter, but as we saw in his last fight against Egidijus Kavaliauskas, he’s vulnerable against power punchers, and not designed to slug with them. Spence at 100% likely would destroy Crawford, as would Shawn Porter. But if Spence is functioning at 50% capacity now, then Crawford has a chance of beating him.
Pacquiao is the bigger fight obviously for Spence than Crawford, and he wouldn’t have to chase the Filipino star around the ring. Crawford would likely do a lot of running, and he would obviously be trying to trick Spence by changing stances. That probably won’t be effective against the southpaw Spence. Turning southpaw works against orthodox fighters, but not against Spence. If Crawford wants to Spence, he’ll need to get in the trenches with him, because he won’t beat him with trickery or running. But again, I don’t see the Spence-Crawford fight taking place next. Spence will opt for Garcia or Pacquiao. If he can’t get either of those guys, he’ll likely make a regular defense of his IBF/WBC welterweight titles against the best available contender.