Errol Spence retained his IBF world welterweight title with a shutout victory over Mikey Garcia at AT&T Stadium on Saturday night, before reiterating his calls for a showdown with Manny Pacquiao.
Spence claimed every round on the cards of all three judges, winning 120-108 (twice) and 120-107 against four-weight world champion Garcia, who was moving up two divisions.
At no point was Garcia able to assert any influence, with the size difference too much for him to overcome, as Spence dominated with a nagging jab and powerful straight lefts.
Already near the top on most pound-for-pound lists, Spence now deserves to be considered among the very best in the sport, but he is still awaiting the win that would push him into the mainstream.
That may come against Pacquiao, who was on hand in Dallas and has voiced his willingness to meet Spence, possibly later this year. “Why not?,” Pacquiao said, when asked in the ring about whether he would face a younger and highly-motivated foe.
Spence was more effusive. “(Pacquiao) is a legend of the sport and it would be a great fight,” Spence said. “Let’s make it happen.”
USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers broke down the bout as it happened with live round-by-round analysis of the action.
Mikey Garcia makes his way to the ring first, amid a tremendous atmosphere at Jerryworld. Big support for the Californian, despite this being Spence’s hometown. Hugely significant night in the career of both fighters. Garcia looks cheery and relaxed, Spence comes with more pomp and circumstance, including a huge marching band leading him out.
A slow and cagey first round, with the smaller Garcia not wanting to take any chances with Spence’s power. Garcia spends most of the round on the back foot, feeling out his opponent. Spence is the more aggressive of the two, but he is cautious too, and there’s not a whole lot of action. Spence edges it on my card, and leads 10-9 after one.
More action and energy from Garcia in the second, as he tries to find his range and get into the fight. But the controlling factor is Spence’s jab – it is accurate and precise – and it is keeping his man at bay. Things are starting to build up but Spence will be the happier of the two right now, he edged the second 10-9 and leads 20-18 on my card.
If it stays like this there are going to be a lot of rounds that are very close to call. This one was tight, with neither fighter able to establish a real edge. Spence is getting some benefit from his straight left and the best punch of the fight was one of those that hit the mark . Garcia couldn’t make a lot of headway there, but is active and energetic and that may sway the judges. Spence took the third on my card, and leads 30-27.
Garcia raised his fist at the end of the round, but I have no idea what he is celebrating. That was the most one-sided round of the fight, in favor of Spence, who time and again led with the right and followed up with a powerful left. Spence is positioned to take control here, if he maintains his work rate. Garcia is moving up in weight, but the bigger factor is Spence’s reach. He takes the round and leads 40-36 on my card.
Garcia has his best round, coming forward with intensity and intent in the opening minute and throwing combinations for the first time. Spence weathered the storm comfortably and came back during the midpoint of the round, but Garcia against came on strong in the final minute and took the round. Spence still leads 49-46 on my card.
Fully dominant round from Spence, who is now in total control of the fight and looks poised to add to his string of wins unless Garcia produces something special. Garcia simply has no answer. Spence looks very strong and growing in confidence, counter-punching with effectiveness at times, and punishing Garcia with jabs and body shots at others. Spence takes the round easily and leads 59-55 on my card.
Garcia is a courageous fighter and a four-weight world champion, but he won’t be adding a fifth divisional belt tonight. Spence took part of the round off, but still managed to take the round and is connecting with the stronger, heavier and more accurate shots. Spence takes the round again and leads 69-64 on my card.
At this point, Garcia can barely land a meaningful glove on Spence, who is further asserting his authority. All night, Garcia has been simply unable to see past the gnawing jab that is constantly poking him in the face. Spence is producing a defining performance that will do much to enhance his claims as the best pound-for-pounder in the world. He takes round eight and leads 79-73 on my card.
Spence is delivering a heavy beating now. Garcia has no answer for his flurried combinations, with one unanswered burst following another. Spence connects with a big right hook and countless straight lefts. How much more of this can Garcia take? Spence seems hungry to finish this one before it goes to the scorecards. Spence clinches another round to lead 89-82 on my card.
Spence continues to fire away and Garcia’s corner is discussing whether to stop this one. Garcia can’t get close enough and Spence is pretty much able to do whatever he wants. The distance is simply too much to overcome, combined with Spence’s elite level skills and hand speed. Spence lands some big shots in the middle of the round and leads 99-91 on my card. Is it just as one-sided as it sounds.
Spence spends the entire round in control, teeing off to the head and the body with barely any response from Garcia. Garcia is drained and spent and totally out of ideas. Spence is a machine, constantly moving forward and with a nuclear mix of speed and power. Another easy round goes into the books for Spence and leads 109-100 on my card.
Garcia makes it through 12 rounds but that is all he can take out of this night. Spence has simply been too good and too strong and waltzes away to what will surely be a convincing unanimous points victory. Spence always had all the answers and never backed off all the way to the finish. He ended like he began, and took the final frame to win 119-109 on my card. The decision awaits….
As expected, Spence takes it by a wide margin. None of the three judges gave Garcia a single round, scoring it 120-107 and 120-108 twice. Outstanding performance from Spence, who wants Manny Pacquiao next and has big things in his future. Spence v. Pacquiao later this year would be well worth watching – and would almost certainly be closer than this one.
Contributing: Associated Press