Boxing superstar Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. joined former NFL stars and “The Pivot Podcast” co-hosts Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor for an extensive conversation about his life and career ahead of his upcoming SHOWTIME PPV matchup against Yordenis Ugas this Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
In the new episode that debuts today at 12 p.m. ET on the show’s YouTube Channel, Spence goes in-depth about his October 2019 car accident that left him hospitalized and his burgeoning career in jeopardy. For Spence, who has since made a victorious return to the ring in December 2020, the accident served as a wakeup call that helped him get his career back on track.
“Everybody gets led astray a little bit,” explained Spence, a 2012 U.S. Olympian who owns the WBC and IBF Welterweight World titles. “It got to the point where I was kind of wandering. When you get to a certain age and you’re making money and you’re the man, you think you know everything…What a lot of people don’t realize is that you have to be disciplined, even when you’re not in training camp. I wasn’t in that type of shape. I was getting up to 180, 185, and I was fighting at 147 pounds.”
When Clark asks what led him “astray”, Crowder quickly jumps in stating that it’s always the money, amusingly relaying his story of depositing his first NFL paycheck. Taylor jumps in and asks Spence how the car accident eventually changed his trajectory.
“It was a wakeup call, and most importantly it gave me perspective,” said Spence. “I had to really sit down. I realized that all that outside stuff is just a distraction. What’s important are the people close to you. Because when it’s over, that’s all you’ve got. I realized that I was playing on borrowed time.
“If the concrete couldn’t break anything in my body, then how could a man hurt me?” continued Spence, explaining how he decided to return to fighting after the accident. “That’s why I came straight out of the gate and fought a strong ex-champion in Danny Garcia.”
Always on top of the latest and most interesting development in the lives of the show’s guests, Taylor asks Spence about his newfound love of animals and farm life. Spence has recently begun raising horses, including a white horse named Ferrari, after the car he was driving during his accident.
“I’m always going to be reminded of the crash and I wanted to be reminded of the crash,” said Spence. “It definitely was a lesson, for me and for my kids. It’s molded me into the man I am today. It made me be with my family more and realize that a lot of things that I thought were important, or just things that I was indulging in, were not as important as the strength of being with my family.”
As the conversation continued, the hosts asked Spence about his experience sparring with boxing Hall of Famer and recent Pivot Podcast guest Floyd Mayweather. Although Spence was only a couple of fights into his pro career, he tells a story of how he gained Mayweather’s respect by the end of their sparring session.
“I was just there watching him and I was like a sponge,” said Spence. “I was ready to take things from him and implement them into my game. He was training like he was dead broke. Like he needed a pair of drawers. He was training hard. That’s the biggest thing I got out of it. It didn’t matter what was going on, he was going to get his work in regardless.
“We went on sparring for like five to seven minutes in a row. And we got out of the ring, and he said to me, ‘you alright for a bitch.’ So I didn’t hear him at first, and then he said it again. So I was like okay, let’s put our shit back on. I said turn off the clock, we can go until somebody drops. We went in there and sparred for eight or nine more minutes in a row. I think I earned his respect at that time. He saw that I’m not a pushover.”
The crew talks to Spence with just days to go before his welterweight championship unification showdown against Yordenis Ugas, taking place this Saturday, April 16 on SHOWTIME PPV. The Cuban Ugas survived multiple defection attempts from his home country, and numerous setbacks once stateside, before eventually becoming world champion. Adding intrigue to this Saturday’s matchup, Ugas stepped in for an injured Spence to defeat boxing legend Manny Pacquiao last year, setting up this fight. For Spence, his recent list of life obstacles gives him the motivational edge heading into the highly awaited bout.
“What happened to Ugas was a long time ago,” said Spence. “Now he’s out there showing off his watches and living his ‘American Dream.’ Is he still as hungry as he used to be? I’m fresh off of my injuries. There’s a lot more grit and hunger coming from me. I got the Pacquiao fight taken away from me. For me, it’s about catching back up. I’m in a rush. I’m totally focused and hungry.”
Adding to Spence’s motivation is the fact that Spence will be fighting Saturday night at AT&T Stadium, the home of Spence’s beloved Dallas Cowboys. Although he acknowledges the difficulties with fighting in front of your hometown, it’s a challenge that he embraces.
“A lot of boxers lose at home because it’s too much pressure,” said Spence. “For me, it’s about motivation. When I make that ring entrance and see everybody there just to watch me fight, wearing their Saturday best, that’s motivating to me. I can’t let these people down and I have to give them their money’s worth.”
Quotes / Photos: Dallas mayor declares April 16th Errol Spence jr day
Undefeated WBC and IBF world champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. received a special proclamation from Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on Monday, as Mayor Johnson declared Saturday, April 16 “Errol Spence Jr. Day” ahead of Spence’s fight at AT&T Stadium on Saturday night.
During the ceremony at Spence trainer Derrick James’ World Class Boxing Gym, Mayor Johnson presented Spence with a proclamation and pledged as a member of Team Spence.
Spence will take on WBA world champion Yordenis Ugas in a welterweight title unification clash that headlines a SHOWTIME PPV Saturday, April 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Spence vs. Ugas will be just the 12th unification fight in the rich history of the welterweight division and will see Spence fighting in front of his hometown crowd looking to add a third welterweight title and boost his standing as the world’s top welterweight.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Man Down Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.
Here is what the event participants had to say Monday:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get my own day from the great city of Dallas and to have everyone come out to support me. On April 16, I’m going to put on a great show. This day truly means a lot to me. I can do many great things, but only a few people are chosen to have their own day in their city. It’s amazing and I really appreciate that.
“This is something that every April 16, my kids, my family, we can go out and have fun and just celebrate the day. It’s like a holiday. I appreciate everyone. I’m going to go out and put on an amazing performance. I thank Dallas for supporting me and I ask everyone to come out and support me. I will show you my gratitude on April 16.
“I feel it’s a dream come true to unify in my backyard and get a third world title. Most fighters don’t get that chance and I get that opportunity on Saturday night in front of my family and childhood friends I grew up with. It’s going to be a great, sentimental moment for me when I win that belt.
“I embrace training at home. I enjoy it. I know it’s a privilege to be fighting at home, especially to be fighting at home in a football stadium. I feel that’s huge. It’s a lot of pressure, sleeping on your own bed and in your own house. It’s definitely a challenge. I’ve been working hard, training hard and I know it’s a privilege, so I have to stay focused.
“I want to tell the kids of Dallas that they can do anything they want, but the main thing is to stay focused. Growing up, you go through a lot of things like peer pressure and people trying to get you to do different things and try different things. You just got to stay focused on your goals. Figure out what you want out of life and believe in yourself, even if you have no one else to believe in, believe in yourself and your abilities.”
DALLAS MAYOR ERIC JOHNSON
“I don’t think I’ve made it a secret that I’m a big sports fan. I, of course, love cheering on our hometown teams and the athletes who represent our great city. And I love the camaraderie and fun that we can have together as sports fans. But more than that, I know that sports can serve to teach us about life. It shows us what it takes to be successful, and what it means to be great.
“And that’s part of why I love boxing. I love that being successful at the sport requires agility, power, speed, hustle, resilience, commitment and grace. And I absolutely love watching the champion, Errol Spence Jr.
“You can tell that Errol Spence Jr. grew up around here because of his indomitable spirit and fierce competitiveness. If you’ve followed his career, you know that Errol has never taken the easy way out. He’s been through a number of challenges, setbacks and injuries, but he doesn’t back down. He doesn’t avoid a tough fight or make excuses.
“He’s a fighter’s fighter. A champion’s champion. A master of his craft. And his commitment to excellence in the boxing ring is unmatched and certainly deserving of our appreciation.
“Errol, I can’t wait to see you go toe to toe this weekend with Yordenis Ugas not too far from here at AT&T Stadium. It’s going to be an incredible fight. And I want you to know that you’ll be fighting not just for yourself, and not just to unify titles, but for something that’s very important to me. You’ll be fighting for the 1.4 million people who call the city of Dallas home.
“That’s because I’m proclaiming Saturday, April 16, 2022, as Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. Day in the city of Dallas.
“I want to present you with this official proclamation. Just know this week and on Saturday that your mayor is in your corner, and the entire city of Dallas – the greatest city in the world – is in your corner. So go out there and be the best again on Saturday. We’re looking forward to it. We’re so proud of you. And thank you so much for representing this great city. Errol trains right here, in the heart of the city of Dallas, he’s always represented the city. He loves Dallas, we love him back and I hope he feels that on Saturday night.”