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When he thought back to the last time he was in a boxing ring 14 months ago, Errol told Spence Jr. . do not crush words when asked to describe where his life was at the time.
The undefeated welterweight champion felt he was « at the top of the world » and had just defied his own trainer’s schedule to box Shawn Porter – split matchup show. What immediately followed for the 30-year-old star was constant partying and an immediate trip to Miami with his closest friends.
Spence (26-0, 21 KOs), who had cemented himself among the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing, even had a PPV blockbuster planned to continue the big win when it was revealed against former two. Division champion Danny Garcia in January.
However, just two weeks after Porter’s victory, Spence experienced a life-changing fear that he claims changed his life forever as he drove drunk and his own at high speed on the way home from a party at a club Ferrari flipped the 488 Spider several times in Dallas before being ejected from the vehicle.
When he said months later, he felt like angels were meeting him on the night of Oct. to protect. 10, 2019, Spence survived the crash with a few scratches and bruises, no broken bones and, from a surgical point of view, simply reliant on new dentures.
« I should have lost my life that night, » Spence, a father of three, said several times subsequently while using terms like « miracle » to describe why he mentally feels as if he has a second time chance in life.
The fight with Garcia did not go as planned after the accident and the ensuing coronavirus pandemic left Spence, who was later convicted on DWI charges, more time to take stock of his life and to ensure both physically and mentally that He is really ready for a return to boxing.
Without a tuning bout of any kind, Spence will test all of his surrounding concerns on Saturday if his IBF and WBC titles are at stake against Garcia (Fox PPV, 9 pp. ). m. ET) at the Premier Boxing Champions PPV Card Main Event from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Unsurprisingly, most of the questions Spence asked before this fight – aside from the never-ending questions of when he will finally compete with WBO Champion Terence Crawford – is whether he can still be the same fighter post – accident that he was before.
When actions often answer a question better than words, Spence appears to have done everything right to give himself the best possible chance. That included not only curtailing his self-described “reckless” party life for a more traditional family approach by moving his home from Dallas to the country, but also putting his health first by staying out of shape Struggles.
« The biggest change comes from when I started and focused solely on boxing, » Spence told Morning Kombat last week.. « I’ve just moved back to a ranch house and have cattle and horses with more land. I can go outside without living in the skyscrapers at 7 a.m. and hearing noises. m. in the morning with cranes and construction. Basically, it goes back to the first place where it’s nothing but fitness work and staying ready instead of just getting ready when it’s time to fight. «
When it comes to his accident, Spence remembers none of it, including everything that has happened in the past few hours. In fact, in addition, Spence has no memory of the next three weeks he spent in the hospital to recover.
Whether it turns out to be a blessing in disguise or not to help him emotionally overcome the life-threatening moment, Spence’s first memory is when he woke up at home almost a month after the crash. To make sure everything was fine with his brain, he took numerous tests at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Brain Health Center and was released to start exercising again.
In order to be cured from the multiple surgeries on his teeth, Spence was not allowed to start sparring for the first time until late spring, which brought with it a court day scenario involving those near Spence’s camp who including trainer Derrick James and his father Errol Spence Sr. . had the opportunity to see firsthand if the fighter was ready.
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« I had no concerns at all. The only concern was the questions my coach or my father had, « said Spence. « Basically, it was about answering these questions. They never said so, but all I knew was that I could take one more punch and my reflexes were still good. If it weren’t for that, they’d never let me step back in the ring. Everything went well and they were basically telling me what I was doing right instead of things to work on. It didn’t feel uncomfortable. «
James repeated these thoughts during an appearance last month on the Last Stand podcast with Brian Custer when he talked about focusing specifically on Spence’s timing and how fast he could strike.
« There was never any doubt because I know what kind of guy he is, » said James. « He’s a competitor and if there are any shortcomings there won’t be any at the time of the fight. I haven’t seen any before because I know he’s a competitor and pushed himself to be great.
« I think [the Garcia fight] is going to show that Errol was who he was before, and the accident was just a minor hiccup, and now he’s back. The point proves he’s the guy who wants to be here in the long run. «
The fact that Spence insisted on being hit hard for his return without a comeback fight also spoke to his competitiveness. The 32-year-old Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) is still at the peak of his prime and has only lost controversial decisions in fun fights against Porter and Keith Thurman.
But Garcia seems to be the only person not at all interested in what version of Spence might show up this weekend and has chosen to focus solely on what he brings to the table.
« Right now I’m just focusing on Danny Garcia and making sure I’m ready, » Garcia told Morning Kombat last week. « I can’t worry if he’s ready. I have to make sure that I am ready and I am doing everything I can to be ready for this fight.
« I have a tough time with him and I think the truth will be told once he gets my hit. «
Given Garcia’s résumé and the danger it poses, Spence believes this fight is one of the most important of his career and imagines that victory in anything he endured would taste especially sweet.
« With everything that has happened and I come back to work to get back to this place, it’s definitely going to be special, » said Spence. « It will probably be my second most important win after the Kell Brook fight and someone else’s hometown fight.
« After my accident and the fight at home, this is my rematch and the fight against a great fighter like Danny Garcia that no one blew him out of the water. If it’s not the first, then it’s definitely the second [most important fight]. It’s huge. «
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Errol Spence Jr. . , Danny García, World Boxing Council, Shawn Porter
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