After more than a year away from the ring, unified welterweight world titlist Errol Spence Jr. returns to defend his WBC and IBF belts against Danny Garcia on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) defeated Shawn Porter in September 2019 and as talks were heating up for his next fight, Spence was involved in a one-car accident that left him hospitalized with lacerations on his face and broken teeth. He was charged with driving while intoxicated. Spence was able to return to training in March, but there are a lot of questions about his ability to take punches after the accident.
Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs), is a former junior welterweight lineal champion and welterweight world titlist. He has lost his past two attempts to recapture a 147-pound belt in close decision loses to Porter and Keith Thurman, but had a dominant performance in a one-sided victory over Ivan Redkach in January.
In the co-main event, Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora takes on Habib Ahmed in a WBC junior middleweight eliminator. Fundora (15-0-1, 10 KOs) has two victories thus far in 2020, a unanimous decision over Daniel Lewis in February and a sixth-round KO against Nathaniel Gallimore in August. Ahmed (27-1-1, 18 KOs) replaced original opponent Jorge Cota this week after Cota tested positive for COVID-19.
Also on the PPV undercard, Josesito Lopez (37-9, 20 KOs) takes on Francisco Santana (25-8-1, 12 KOs) in a welterweight battle, and Eduardo Ramirez (23-2-3, 10 KOs) faces Miguel Flores (24-3, 12 KOs) in a WBA featherweight eliminator.
Ben Baby provides recaps and analysis from the action as it happens.
Fight in progress: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Danny Garcia, 12 rounds, for Spence’s WBC and IBF welterweight titles
Round 11: Maybe the most fun round of the fight as both boxers exchanging combinations, but Spence bounced back to taking control of the fight with his consistent jab and pressure. Garcia needs a knockout. Spence 10-9. Total: 106-103 Spence.
Round 10: Errol Spence takes his foot off the pedal a bit and Danny Garcia landed a few nice counters. Garcia 10-9. Total: 96-94 Spence.
Round 9: Errol Spence starting to gain more control of the fight showing little effects of the car accident, and he looks like the fighter in better shape. Spence is working on applying consistent pressure and closing Garcia’s left eye. Spence 10-9. Total: 87-84 Spence.
Round 8: Errol Spence had some success getting Danny Garcia against the ropes landing some body blows. Garcia swinging some solid strong blows, but this round belongs to the more aggressive and faster Spence. Spence 10-9. Total: 77-75 Spence.
Round 7: A fun first 30 seconds to the round as both boxers traded hooks to the body to test the other. It’s clear attacking the body is a focus, and Garcia landed tough one toward end of round that stole the round late. Garcia 10-9. Total: 67-66 Spence.
Round 6: Errol Spence is getting some real estate on Danny Garcia left eye and it’s getting swollen. This is a close fight but Spence activity, aggression and consistent jab stands out. Spence 10-9. Total: 58-56 Spence.
Round 5: Errol Spence continues to be more active but Garcia appeared to hurt Spence with a convincing hook. It continues to be close rounds with counter puncher vs. aggressor. Garcia gets a close one, 10-9. Total: 48-47 Spence.
Round 4: Another round with Errol Spence as the hunter and Danny Garcia waiting for the counter, but Garcia having more success finding hits on an aggressive Spence. Spence’s right jab is connecting with consistency. Close round — Spence 10-9. Total: 39-37 Spence.
Round 3: Errol Spence Jr. commands control of the fight once again showing his power and pressure with a bevy of hooks. A cut opened on Garcia’s nose from a punch. Maybe the most convincing round of the fight so far for Spence. Spence 10-9. Total: 29-28 Spence.
Round 2: Danny Garcia’s intelligence and counter-punching showed up in another competitive round. Errol Spence Jr. landed maybe his best punch of the round, too, but Garcia’s counters stood out more. Garcia 10-9. Total: 19-19
Round 1: Errol Spence Jr. the aggressor early hunting down Danny Garcia and establishing his jab. Garcia countered with a couple of nice hooks but at a slower pace. First round to the aggressor. Spence 10-9.
Fundora overpowers Ahmed for a second-round stoppage
Sebastian Fundora didn’t waste many rounds in picking up a win on Saturday night in a WBC junior middleweight eliminator. The 6-foot-6 fighter earned a second-round stoppage over Habib Ahmed on the Errol Spence Jr.-Danny Garcia undercard at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Fundora (16-0-1, 11 KOs) was initially scheduled to face Jorge Cota before Cota tested positive for COVID-19. Ahmed (27-2-1, 18 KOs) was a late replacement and didn’t have a chance of spoiling Fundora’s night.
The tall 154-pounder made the disparity between the two fighters apparent with some heavy punches early in the first round. In the second, Fundora trapped Ahmed in the corner and landed a steady stream of hooks that forced the early stoppage.
The 22-year-old also maintained a consistent pattern for the entire pay-per-view portion of the undercard, as all three fights leading up to the main event ended via technical knockout.
Lopez outpunches Santana, stops him in Round 10
Josesito Lopez got the stoppage he deserved over Francisco Santana, albeit a little later than it should’ve happened. Lopez dropped Santana three times and eventually forced referee Neal Young to stop the fight in the 10th and final round.
Aside from one bright moment in the first round, Lopez was dominant all night. Lopez dropped Santana in the first round with a right hook that capped a three-punch combination, then knocked Santana down again in the ninth and 10th. While Santana (25-9-1, 12 KOs) countered with a hook that appeared to hurt Lopez later in the first round, that success was fleeting. Lopez (38-8, 20 KOs) landed thudding shots to the body with ease and mixed in some clean head shots.
Even at 36, Lopez showed he’s still not too old to put on an entertaining performance. That should be enough for him to land a couple of solid paydays before the end of his career.
Ramirez stops Flores in featherweight eliminator
Eduardo Ramirez had the most stunning finish of the night. Just seconds into the fifth round, Ramirez threw a right hook that Miguel Flores never saw coming. The punch was so devastating it split Flores’ upper lip open and sent blood spewing as Flores staggered to his feet.
Despite Flores (24-4, 12 KOs) slowly rising to his feet, referee Laurence Cole stopped him from continuing, in what was likely a prudent decision despite the momentum Flores built after a slow start. By winning the WBA featherweight title eliminator, Ramirez (24-2-3, 10 KOs) put himself in good position to fight for that sanctioning body’s belt in the near future.
Avelar dominates Lukas
Isaac Avelar won a lopsided unanimous decision over late replacement Sakaria Lukas, with scorecards of 98-92 (three times). The big difference in this fight was the power disparity between Avelar and Lukas. Avelar landed some big punches early and found success often with his straight left hand out of a southpaw stance.
Early on, Avelar was able to move Lukas with ease. However, as the fight entered the middle rounds, Lukas found his rhythm and was accurate with his right hand down the middle. If Lukas (23-1, 16 KOs) had slightly more power, and was perhaps a little younger, he might have had a chance to pick up a decision or even a stoppage against Avelar (17-2, 10 KOs). But “Canelito” was able to do more than enough to avoid any serious threat of defeat.
Mielnicki dominates Pulluaim, stays unbeaten
Vito Mielnicki Jr. tried to push for an early knockout over Steven Pulluaim, but despite a couple of early knockdowns and a hurt opponent, Mielnicki (7-0, 4 KOs) settled for a unanimous decision. The bout was scored 60-52 on all three cards, giving Mielnicki a victory in his first fight under famed trainer Joe Goossen.
The 18-year-old from New Jersey landed a right hook that dropped Pulluaim — a punch Pulluaim felt landed behind the head. The next round, Pulluaim went to the canvas after a punch to the beltline that he felt was a bit low. Pulluaim (5-3, 1 KO) was able to stay on his feet the rest of the fight, but was no match for the young prospect.
Delgado upsets Brooks in split decision win
The Spence camp is hoping the start to Saturday night’s TV undercard isn’t an omen for the team for the rest of the evening. Burley Brooks, who is under the tutelage of Spence trainer Derrick James, suffered a rather surprising upset loss against Marco Delgado.
Delgado won in a split decision, 59-53, 55-57, 59-53, in a fight that was nowhere near as close as the scorecards indicated. Despite a severe height and reach disadvantage, Delgado was able to get inside easily and landed big hooks and power shots in nearly every round, including in the second when Brooks was hobbled by a left hook to the top of the head. Brooks was docked two points for low blows, which made judge Javier Alvarez’s scorecard in his favor even more puzzling. It’s a great moment for Delgado (7-1, 5 KOs) and one that should be a major learning experience for Brooks (6-1, 5 KOs) as he continues his career.