By Dan Ambrose: Errol Spence Jr. wants to take a stay busy fight against the highly ranked Danny Garcia while he waits for a much bigger unification match against Keith Thurman for later this year. Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) will be back inside the ring in September or October in making his first defense of his IBF welterweight title that he won on May 27 in stopping Kell Brook in the 11th round.
Spence figures that Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) should want to fight him now because he’s got one of the 147 lb. world titles in his possession. Garcia, 28, was never interested in fighting Spence in the past, because he didn’t have anything to offer him. Spence hadn’t fought anybody, according to Garcia. Now that Spence has beaten Brook and captured his IBF welterweight title, he now how has the sufficient bait to potentially lure Garcia into fighting him.
“He’s talking right now, but he’s injured,” said Spence to Fighthype about a fight against Keith Thurman. “No, I’d rather fight Danny Garcia,” said Spence when asked if he’d be interested in fighting the winner of the Robert Guerrero vs. Omar Figueroa fight. “Danny Garcia doesn’t have a fight, so me and Danny can fight. I got a title, if he wants to fight for a title.”
Garcia would be a great stay busy fight for Spence to sharpen up his tools while he waits on Thurman. Garcia has won in the past when he fought Lucas Matthysse and he was expected to lose that fight. Garcia came up with a great game plan of jabbing, holding and landing low blows to get the better of Matthysse.
You got to feel sorry for Spence. He’s still in the same situation in being ignored by the top guys than he was before he won the IBF crown. Garcia got an earlier start to his professional career than Spence due to him not sticking around the amateur game as long. Spence fought in the 2012 Olympics for the U.S, and he spent a lot of valuable time honing his craft in the amateur ranks.
Danny Garcia lost his last fight to Thurman in March in losing a 12 round split decision. Garcia wants a rematch with Thurman because he feels he can beat him in the next fight. Garcia would need to wait another 6 months if he intends on waiting for the Thurman fight. The problem with that is Garcia has already been out of the ring for the last 3 months. It’s bad news for a fighter in his prime to be out of the ring simply because he’s waiting for a rematch against an injured fighter. Garcia would be able to make his rematch against Thurman a much bigger fight if he could win the International Boxing Federation welterweight title off of Spence in September or October. But if Garcia doubts whether he can beat Spence, then it makes sense for him to not take the fight and instead wait on the rematch with Thurman.
Spence would be a bad opponent for Garcia due to his punching power and boxing skills. Danny Garcia is not the same fighter he once was at 140 now that he’s fighting in the 147 pound division. Garcia’s struggle to beat Robert Guerrero in January 2016 showed that he’s not going to be able to dominate at welterweight like he was doing at light welterweight. Garcia won the fight against Guerrero, but it was very competitive. Thurman did a much better job of beating Guerrero than Garcia did. Garcia has fought only one good welterweight since he moved up to 147, and that was Thurman. Garcia’s other fights at welterweight have been against Rod Salka, Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi and Samuel Vargas.
I got to talk to Al [Haymon] and see what’s going on,” said Spence.”I want to fight the best. I’m willing to fight anybody. That’s why I call out the fighters I all out,” said Spence.
Spence, 27, might not be popular enough yet to get guys like Garcia to fight him. Just because Spence has a world title in his possession, it doesn’t mean that he’s going to be able to get the top guys to fight him. Look at Jessie Vargas. When he briefly held the WBO welterweight title, he wasn’t in demand by the talented fighters in the welterweight division. Vargas lacked the name to get the big guys.
Luckily for Vargas, his promoters at Top Rank matched him against Manny Pacquiao, and he unfortunately lost his belt against him. Spence will likely need to keep winning and become more popular over time before he can get the other guys like Garcia to fight him. Things could change rapidly though if Garcia loses to Thurman again. If that happens, Garcia’s career won’t be looking so great. He won’t be able to pick and choose like he’s doing now. If Garcia is going to stay at welterweight, then he’ll need to be able to take the fights offered to him by guys like Spence.
There’s nothing for Spence to gain in fighting the winner of the July 15 fight between Guerrero and Figueroa. The 34-year-old Guerrero has lost 4 out of his last 6 fights since 2013. His career has gone downhill since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2013. Guerrero has suffered losses to Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and David Emanuel Peralta in the last 2 years. Guerrero looks to be pretty much done as a top tier entity. He still keeps getting chances though because of his name. Guerrero would be better off moving back down to featherweight where he be able to win a title based on his size. Figueroa hasn’t fought in 2 years since 2015. He’s dropped off the map due to inactivity. It would be too easy for Spence to beat Guerrero or Figueroa. It wouldn’t be surprising if that’s the fight that Spence’s adviser Al Haymon winds up offering to him for his next fight.
In addition to wanting Danny Garcia, Spence says he’s interested in fighting Saul Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford in the near future.
“It could happen. Nothing’s impossible,” said Spence about a fight against Canelo. “Me and Canelo stood side by side, you could see that I’m the taller fighter. He might be a little wider than me but I’m the taller fighter. I think Canelo beats Triple G. I think Canelo is a better fighter with the weight. With him moving up, the weight helps him a lot. I think Canelo beats him. I think he’s a better skilled fighter than him,” said Spence.
It’s impossible to say who will win between Canelo and Golovkin. It would be nice to see Canelo fight Spence though. Spence said that he’d move up to 154 if Canelo will come back down from middleweight to fight him. Spence doesn’t want to move up 2 divisions to fight Canelo, because it would be too big of a jump up in weight for him.
“I’d take that,” said Spence when asked if he’d fight the winner of the July 1st fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn.
Pacquiao is expected to beat Horn without any problems. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum will likely keep him in house fighting his Top Rank guys unless someone really popular like Floyd Mayweather Jr. shows a sudden interest in fighting him again. that’s not to happen though, so we’re likely going to see Pacquiao only fighting Top Rank guys for the remainder of his career. Spence likely won’t be considered as an opponent for Pacquiao unless he were to sign with Top Rank.
“Only Keith Thurman can tell you that,” said Spence in an responding to a question of when he’ll be fighting Thurman. “He’s coming off of surgery right now. He might want a tune-up, and hopefully after that, we can get it on. There’s still a lot of big names out there. I want to be No.1 in everybody’s eyes. I have to beat the top guys in the division. That’s something I’m willing to do,” said Spence.
Thurman will likely be looking to get a tune-up when he does come back from his surgery later this year. Hopefully, Thurman doesn’t get hurt in the tune-up. Thurman is really letting himself go between fights in terms of putting on a lot of weight. It’s not going to be easy for Thurman to burn off all the fat that he’s put on.
“Probably,” said Spence when asked if he thinks he’ll fight Terence Crawford in the future. “Terence is doing his thing at 140. I see Terence becoming the undisputed welterweight champion and moving up to 147. It’ll probably happen sooner. I think it would be a great fight. Terence Crawford is a guy, if he gets hit, he’s going to bite down and try and hit you back. He’s a good fighter and he’s a good boxer, but he’ll fight if he has to. That’s what I respect about him. I think that would be a great fight. I don’t know. Skills will play a factor, but it’ll happen.”
Crawford is likely going to spend the remainder of 2017 at 140. It’s likely he’ll be moving up to the welterweight division in 2018. His promoter Bob Arum will probably try and match Crawford against Pacquiao. If the Filipino star turns down the fight, then Arum will have no other choice but to try and match him against Spence or Thurman. It’ll be tough for Crawford, because he’s not as naturally big as Spence.
“If I get a big name and the big name don’t want to come to Dallas, then I’ll go to New York, or Vegas or California or anywhere else. I want to have 2 big fights by the end of the year,” said Spence.
Spence looked good in beating Kell Brook last May. Spence fought Brook in the UK in front of a large crowd of 27,000 fans at Bramall Lane in Sheffield. Spence trailed the fight in the first half of the contest. However, in the 7th round, Spence turned things around when he injured Brook’s left eye with one of his big power shots Brook wound up taking a knee in the 10th and 11th rounds. Brook decided it would be better for him to stay down after taking a knee in the 11th. Brook had suffered a fractured left orbital bone in the fight, and he didn’t want to take any risks with his vision. Spence was too strong at the time, and he was wearing him down with his big shots.