This Saturday night on PPV, Errol Spence Jr returns to defend the WBC and IBF welterweight titles against former two-division titlist Danny Garcia in the final really big PBC card of 2020.
Spence (26-0, 21 KO) is coming off of a long layoff and a horrific car crash late last year, so there is some question as to what shape he’ll be in to face Garcia (36-2, 21 KO), who last fought in January in a win over Ivan Redkach.
Is Spence going to be himself? Is Garcia an even more dangerous underdog than he would have been if this fight went off in January as originally intended?
Our staffers make their picks.
If Errol Spence Jr is the same fighter he was when he fought Shawn Porter, he’ll win. If Errol Spence Jr isn’t the same fighter he was when he fought Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia can win this fight.
We don’t know if there is a difference in Spence after a 14-month layoff that unfortunately included a terrifying automobile accident that put him on the shelf and postponed this fight from its original January date. It’s not like Spence is going to be out there putting sparring footage online for the sake of our staff picks or your bets with the sportsbook. We’re going into this with an open question, and a serious one, and that’s part of the intrigue in the matchup.
And it will depend, too, on how dramatically Spence has been changed, if he has been. Does Garcia beat Spence if the Texan is 90% of what he was? 80%? Where is the line? Garcia’s a damn good fighter and was never going to be easy for Errol. If this had gone down in January, I think I would have picked Spence to win comfortably on the cards but having to earn it; you can win 117-111 or 118-110 and have it be competitive. Tim Bradley vs Lamont Peterson is one of my go-to examples for that. Bradley won wide because he kept winning the rounds, but Peterson was fighting his ass off the whole way. (By the way, I have no memory of Bradley’s 2011 fight with Joel Casamayor, which I only remembered existed because I went to double-check the scores for Bradley-Peterson, which were 118-110, 119-108, and 120-107.)
As it is now, I have more serious questions about this fight, but nothing approaching a real answer. This isn’t about style matchup, really, or a layoff in and of itself. These are unusual questions, not the sort we deal with all the time. I am making the guess that Spence will be the version we know, or close enough, to win here without controversy. But that guess could be flat-out wrong. If we had a clearer answer going in, I really might have been rolling with a Garcia upset pick here. Spence UD-12
Danny Garcia’s a really good all-around fighter. It’s often pointed out that no one thing about his game truly stands out, but that he’s just really competent in pretty much all areas. The problem here is I just don’t really see anything that Garcia does that’s better than Errol Spence in any department. So the question becomes, “Is Spence still the same fighter after that car crash?”
I don’t know that anybody truly knows the answer to that question, but from what I’ve seen of Spence as of late I’m just going to operate under the assumption that he’s okay. If Spence is himself he’s going to be more than a handful for Garcia, and that’s mostly because of his versatility. Spence can certainly bang on the inside, but he’s really a good mid-range and outside fighter too. If it comes down to it I can see Spence handily banking some rounds with his boxing ability, but there’s no way these two don’t end up exchanging at some point. Garcia has good timing with his counters but Spence isn’t sloppy with his offense, so should negate most of those opportunities by avoiding a fight-changing blow. Ultimately I see this being an 8-4 kind of fight in Spence’s favor. Spence UD-12
How to Watch Spence vs Garcia
Date: Saturday, Dec. 5 | Start Time: 9:00 pm ET
Location: AT&T Stadium - Arlington, TX
Stream: FOX Sports PPV | TV: PPV (US) / Premier Sports (UK)
Online Coverage: BadLeftHook.com
Patrick L. Stumberg
The Errol Spence Jr that slugged his way past Shawn Porter should win this at least 8-4. Though “Showtime” had considerably more success against “The Truth” than I expected, Garcia is in a weird position where being more technically sound than Porter might actually work against him, as a more conventional fight favors the faster, taller, longer Spence.
The million-dollar question, of course, is whether that Spence still exists after a horrific car accident and extended layoff. He could potentially outgun Garcia in a close-quarters donnybrook at his best, but if his timing’s off, Garcia’s left hook can end things in an instant. In the end, however, I can only work with the information I’ve got, and that information says Spence is the better fighter. He survives a rough patch or two to take a competitive but clear decision, potshotting Garcia at range and doing enough damage inside to offset Garcia’s moments of success. Spence UD-12
How Spence’s body will hold up in this fight is fascinating. He’s lucky to be walking, let alone fighting again at the highest level and Garcia will be dead set on asking as many questions of Spence’s injuries as possible. Garcia is tough and game but still hasn’t really set the world alight at 147. He’s arguably a natural, better 140-pounder, whereas Spence would look comfortable up at 154. Garcia’s left hooks will have to be pinpoint to trouble Spence who’s superior skillset will be relied on heavily to stamp his authority on this fight. In a straight-up contest, you have to see this comfortably for Spence, but there are enough question marks hanging over his health to make this interesting. Still, Spence on the cards is the call, as I can’t see Garcia getting stopped any time soon. Spence UD-12