Sports

Beating Errol Spence would be Danny Garcia’s career-defining moment

Illustration: Photos: AP, Getty (Getty Images)

Ray Flores went on to the next question.

He summoned Danny Garcia, who was on the left side of the well-lit stage, wearing all pink with white sneakers.

“Danny, you’ve been calling out Errol Spence for over two years now. Now that we are just three days away until you have that opportunity to go ahead and become the first blemish on Errol Spence’s dossier, what’s going through your mind?” Flores asked, in his extremely professional broadcasting tone, conducting the press conference.

Garcia brought his microphone up to his face, opened his mouth, but his voice wasn’t the one heard in the vicinity.

“Aye, we gotta stop with the cap,” another voice said.

The voice was the same Errol Spence that Flores had been referring to, who was seated just a few feet to Garcia’s right on the A-side of the stage. As Spence went on, Garcia simply looked forward, continuing to hold the microphone, and merely waited for him to finish.

“Ain’t nobody in boxing been calling me out for two years,” Spence continued confidently. “He (Garcia) did call me out, that was a year ago. But nobody has been calling me out for two years.”

Garcia acted as if he hadn’t heard Spence’s interjection and continued seamlessly.

Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) and Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) are fighting one another this Saturday on FOX PPV, with the main card beginning at 9 p.m. EST. The two are doing battle over Spence’s WBC and IBF World Welterweight Championships in his home state of Texas; Dallas’ AT&T Stadium to be exact. It will be Spence’s first bout since September 2019, and since a career-threatening car accident nearly ended his life last October. But it’s also possibly Garcia’s final opportunity at showcasing himself among the elites in the sport while still in his athletic prime.

However, at the final press conference before their Fight of the Year candidate worthy clash, Garcia treated it as a normal day at work, calmly answering questions without saying anything truly noteworthy, focused on dispatching Spence in a fight he’s wanted since before he dismissed Ivan Redkach in January. The Philadelphia native normally leaves the talking to his father Angel Garcia, who also started reserved, insisting “everything is done” and questioning, “What am I supposed to say?”

Then he couldn’t help himself.

“Danny just don’t know how to win, he knows how to kick your ass,” the elder Garcia assured. He later added, “Life is crazy like this. That’s why we’re living through this epidemic right now. Because you know what people fear the most in America? It’s death. And that’s guaranteed.”

And then he laughed and called himself The Birdman while talking over Flores, who eagerly tried to keep the press conference moving. (God bless Angel Garcia, for real.)

But coming into the bout, Spence stands as a -400 favorite, despite the uncertainty of his once elite in-ring ability in the aftermath of his accident. Garcia didn’t care, continually citing his resume, which is among the most accomplished in the sport regardless of his two high-profile defeats, and despite him being labeled as a cherry picker at different points of his career. What’s currently being held against him is that against the two very best fighters he’s shared the ring with – Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter – he’s walked away in defeat, albeit in decisions where judges had him losing as close as 115-113, and only as much as 116-112. Some question whether he earned his narrow decision victories over Lamont Peterson and, most notably, Mauricio Herrera in his family’s home country of Puerto Rico.

Garcia, 32, has a chance to undo that this Saturday by facing arguably the best man he could stand toe-to-toe with in his division, depending on how you feel about Terence Crawford. (Either that or they’ll just cite Spence’s possible post-accident appearance, although, he insists he’s as good as ever.)

But for Garcia, the modern fight pride of Philadelphia whose family shares Puerto Rican roots with warriors like Felix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto, and Wilfredo Gomez, a win over Spence would mark a re-ascension for a two-weight world champion 13 years into his professional career. It would certify his status as a future Hall of Famer. And it would cement himself among the best in the world one more time.

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