Headlining in an impressively packed AT&T Stadium, Errol Spence Jr made easy work of the smaller man when pummelling Mikey Garcia for 12 rounds. It’s hard to know whether Garcia did better than expected. That would depend on how well you expected him to do in the first place. Lasting the course was an achievement, but daring to be great on a pay-per-view attraction generally calls for more than merely enduring the course.
Tubby Garcia offered sparse cameos but went into a form of survival from the eighth round. At no point was the Californian doing enough to win. Instead, he was doing enough to stay competitive. The “I’m still here” combinations were shoeshine in essence. Mikey’s raised gloves at the end of each session were a celebration of having made it through another three minutes.
Boxing closer to middleweight than welterweight Spence’s long arms and reach, as much as his bigger frame, were causing the bulk of issues. It meant Garcia couldn’t get inside long enough to attack the body which is what he needed to do. Mikey resorted mostly to head hunting.
The challenger looked weary in the closing 20 seconds of the eighth. Nose bleeding, bloated midriff heaving under the weight of Spence’s upstairs-downstairs attacks, Garcia continued swiping his gloves out as if swatting away an awkward fly, buzzing in and out of range. Spence ramped up the body assaults in the ninth. Once he had his opponent accustomed to the rib-ticklers over the first half of the round he used the second half to re-focus on the head. A smart fighter is Errol.
There was a case to be made for someone stopping Garcia in the 11th. Whether a cornerman, doctor or the referee. Spence was relentless again in the 12th, leaving no doubt that he was heading home with his IBF crown. If he is to be beaten, how can it be done? If someone can get inside that long reach and hammer the body, employing a constant work rate, then he could conceivably be got. It’ll take an exceptional fighter to do it though. Perhaps Terence Crawford is the man for the job.
On the undercard, we found out that former WBC king David Benavidez is a massive puncher. We also found out that when the going gets tough, opponent J’Leon Love can’t cut it at the top level. We probably knew both of those things already. To think that the Americans pay the guts of $80 for these cards.
Luis Nery is excellent. What’s not to love about his power and aggression? Just don’t mention the PED exploits and weight-making shenanigans. The FOX commentators certainly didn’t mention either during the broadcast. Nery could actually give Naoya Inoue a decent argument.
Someone needs to spark heavyweight lump Chris Arreola quickly and end this ill-fated comeback. Opponent Jean Pierre Augustin’s technique was poor. He looked stiff and novice-like; grabbing on for dear life whenever he was in danger of getting hit flush. Entirely how the Haitian made it to 17-0 boggles the mind. Some lifeless bodies must’ve been exhumed to pad that record out. “Good fight,” exclaimed Lennox Lewis at the conclusion of a truly horrific spectacle. Compared to the level Lennox competed at for much of his esteemed career, this was unlicensed tough man standard.
Charles Martin grabbed a win over Gregory Corbin when Corbin tested the patience of the referee for the final time and was ejected in the eighth for excessive low blows. Perhaps they would have been better served to put Martin against Arreola so we could eliminate one of these whales from public view? The commentary team can parade Martin around as a former world champion all they want, but the guy is not at that level (Ok so he did win a version of the titles but…seriously?!). Suffering a bad cut, “Prince” Charles, like Arreola, is being built up as future fodder for a champion or challenger.
On the Friday evening over in Philadelphia, Jono Carroll’s IBF super-featherweight title challenge to Tevin Farmer may have ultimately failed, but the southpaw slugger could not be accused of leaving anything on the table after a spirited 12-round effort. Farmer fought on the inside, for the most part, treating Carroll as the non-puncher he is. Carroll did enjoy moderate success -throwing over a thousand punches- and the champ got touched up a bit during an engaging battle, televised on DAZN and Sky Sports.
Carroll’s customary cut arrived as early as the second round, and despite throwing plenty of accurate leather himself, Farmer was unable to put his opponent away. That’s the thing about Farmer: he is extremely good at selecting the right punch at the right time but lacks a concussive dig. Carroll looked ready to be taken out, during and after a torrid 11th round. The bearded Dubliner brought guts and courage in abundance. Farmer will need all of his skills if he is to repel the threat of Gervonta Davis, were the pair to unify. Davis brings a different collection of abilities to the party.
Talking of the ‘Fighting Irish,’ there were mixed fortunes for two of Belfast’s finest, late on Sunday evening. Paddy Barnes suffered a badly damaged nose after running into opponent Oscar Mojica’s shoulder. Struggling all night with the height and reach of his bantamweight foe, Barnes toiled hard but fell to a split loss over six rounds. Barnes said he will consider retirement now after his second loss in a row.
Michael Conlan’s career is moving in a different direction. Conlan outpointed Ruben Garcia Hernandez in New York. On the same card, Luis Collazo prevailed via split decision over Samuel Vargas in a battle of veterans.