Don't Call It A Comeback: Spence Outpoints Garcia in Ring Return

The WBC & IBF World Welterweight Champion proves he's still the top dog with an impressive victory against an elite opponent Saturday night on FOX Sports PPV.

The King is back—and he still rules with an iron fist.

Fourteen months after suffering a serious single-car accident that left many wondering if he’d ever fight again, Errol Spence Jr. proved he hadn’t lost a step. The undefeated WBC and IBF World Welterweight Champion retained his titles with an impressive 12-round unanimous decision over two-division world champion Danny Garcia in front of a sellout crowd of 16,102 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

Headlining his third consecutive PBC on FOX Sports pay-per-view, Spence put on a show, outboxing the game Garcia from the outside and outworking him in close quarters in a statement performance.

Only a year before, there were concerns about whether Spence would be the same person, let alone the same fighter, again. In October 2019, he was ejected from a car that flipped several times before crashing into a utility pole. Spence was hospitalized for over a week and couldn’t remember what happened. 

Yet, the Desoto, Texas native didn’t lose belief in himself. Rather than take a tune-up in his return bout, he opted for Garcia, arguably the hardest-hitting fighter in the division and one of its most experienced. 

"It was a lifelong dream of mine to be a household name in Dallas and I've done that. I'm thankful to have that support,” said Spence. “I was smiling walking to the ring because it was a long road back. It took a lot of trials and tribulations to get to this point tonight, and it all paid off. 

“I'm here for a reason.”

Indeed. Spence, 30, 27-0 (21 KOs) landed 187 of 707 punches according to CompuBox, compared to 117-700 for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Garcia.  Spence controlled the action with his jab, racking up points in the early rounds with that weapon and a high workrate.

Garcia, 32, 36-3 (21 KOs), is a proud champion whose prior losses were razor thin decisions to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. He had his moments throughout, landing right hands – and his vaunted left hook – several times during the fight.

"I had a great training camp where I was sparring and taking punches,” Spence explained afterward. “I wasn't surprised when I had to take a punch in the fight. I had already been taking punches and I've always had a great chin anyway.”

The more effective punches came from Spence, who dug to the head and body with both hands and was far busier.

By the end of the seventh, Garcia’s face was beginning to show signs of wear. Spence dominated much of the eighth, using the jab to push Garcia back and then unloading when he got the challenger in close quarters. 

Spence continued to control the action in the ninth but Garcia responded with heavy rights in the 10th and the 11th. Spence took them well. Even though he slowed a bit in the championship rounds, he threw more in the 12th to seal the deal and win by two scores of 116-112 and a third tally of 117-111. 

"He was the better man tonight. No excuses,” said Garcia. “I fought a hard and tough fight. He had a good jab and that was the key to the fight. He was also a bit busier than me.

"I just have to rebuild and see what we do next. I fought hard and I’m proud. All my losses were hard fights that I fought till the end, so I'm proud of my effort.”

Spence believes he has room for improvement. "I give my performance a B. I think I had a little bit of ring rust. But I was in such great shape and took everything seriously in training so that I would not be discouraged by that. I worked my jab and used my angles because that was my best move.

"I'm just thinking about seeing my kids tomorrow and hanging out on my ranch. I'm going to eat some good food and we'll see what the future holds. It's been a long year and a half, so I'm going to wind down for a week or two, then get back on it. 

"I proved that I'm back and here to stay. I'm the unified champion of the world for a reason.”

Sebastian Fundora blasts out Habib Ahmed in two

Sebastian Fundora continues his ascent toward the top of the 154-pound division.

In a WBA super welterweight title elimination bout, the undefeated Fundora improved to 16-0-1 (11 KOs) with a two-round shellacking of Ghana’s Habib Ahmed

Named the “Towering Inferno” for his spindly, 6-foot-6 frame, Fundora’s frame and pressure-cooker style are difficult for opponents to handle—and make him one of the most fan-friendly fighters in the sport.

Ahmed, 27-2-1 (18 KOs), had been on standby for tonight’s card in case one of the 154-pound contestants withdrew. He received the call days before fight night as Fundora’s original opponent, Jorge Cota pulled out after contracting COVID-19.

Fundora, 22, made him pay for his decision almost as soon as the opening bell rang, landing a left uppercut that sent Ahmed stumbling backward. From then on, Fundora poured it on, only stopping when the bell rang to end the frame. He was back at it again in the second, pounding away until referee Laurence Cole rescued Ahmed at 1:30 of the second. 

"We just fought in an eliminator, so I’m pretty sure I’m high up in the rankings now. We’ll go back and talk about what’s next with my team,” said Fundora. “I may take a week off and enjoy the holidays, then come back strong with whatever is next. I want to fight anyone. The 154-pound division is stacked, so I’ll be ready for anyone. 

"I don't think I'm peaking yet. I turn 23 this month. I feel like I have a lot of room to grow. I'm going to be in this sport for a long time and I'm going to be champion, but we're not there yet.”

Josesito Lopez impresses, stops Francisco Santana in 10

Josesito Lopez is still improving, even at 36. Lopez put on a show against Francisco Santana, dropping Santana in the first, the ninth and then closed the show with a third and final knockdown in the tenth.

"I feel like I've gotten stronger, smarter and faster. I've improved in every part of my game thanks to Robert Garcia,” said a beaming Lopez.

Known as the “Riverside Rocky,” Lopez (38-8, 21 KOs, 1 NC), of Riverside, California, says he wants one more crack at a world title. Given this latest performance, he may get his wish sooner rather than later. 

Lopez got off to a hot start, dropping Santana in the first with a right upstairs followed by a left hook to the ribs. It appeared the fight might end then but Santana got up and bravely stepped back into the fray, landing a series of hooks that forced Lopez to hold.

It was all downhill from there for Santana.

Lopez never stopped coming forward, pounding him to the head and body until the latter succumbed. With 30 seconds remaining in the ninth, a big right followed followed by a left downstairs sent Santana to the mat a second time. He could barely walk straight when he got up and was saved by a bell that rang moments later.

Another left hook early in the 10th dropped Santana yet again. He stood on wobbling legs when he rose; the ensuing volley was enough for referee Neal Young to wave it off at 1:22 of the 10th. 

"I deserve to be fighting the best now. I've proved it,” said Lopez. “I'd fight the winner or loser of tonight's main event. Not only am I as good as any of them, but I'm one of the most entertaining fighters in the division.

"You can't deny me anymore. If I'm not in with the best, I'm in with the toughest. I want one of the world champions or one of the top fighters."

Eduardo Ramirez knocks out Miguel Flores in five

Mexico’s Eduardo Ramirez shined yet again, stopping veteran Miguel Flores with a picture-perfect counter right in the fifth. 

That’s consecutive knockout victories for Ramirez, who smoked Leduan Barthelemy in four rounds in November 2019. 

"I worked very hard and I'm thrilled to get the victory tonight,” said Ramirez, who improves to 24-2-3 (11 KOs). "This was all the result of the hard work I put into the gym. The Montiel brothers trained me well and it all paid off tonight.”

Flores (24-4, 12 KOs) was a late substitute, taking the fight on short notice when original opponent Julio Ceja contracted COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw. 

He had no answers for Ramirez, who dominated from the opening bell and hurt Flores several times before the vicious finale. 

The end came swiftly in the fifth, when Ramirez uncorked the deciding right hook. Flores crumpled to the floor, before rising on unsteady legs. He continued to stumble as the count was administered, forcing referee Laurence Cole to wave it off. Official time was 0:20 of the fifth. 

"I don't want to get too far ahead of myself,” Ramirez said afterward. “Whatever my team wants to do, we'll talk about it. I just want to become a world champion. I'll be ready anywhere at any time.”

Vito Mielnicki easily outpoints Steven Pulluaim over six rounds

Fighting with trainer Joe Goossen in his corner for the first time, undefeated welterweight prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. dropped Steven Pulluaim twice on his way to a six-round unanimous decision win. 

Mielnicki, 18, 7-0 (4 KOs), floored Pulluaim – who had never tasted canvas before – with an overhand right near the halfway point of the first. Bodyshots early in the second sank Pulluiam to the mat again.

Mielnicki sought the KO but the game Pullaim (5-3, 1 KO) stayed on his feet for the rest of the bout. All three cards read 60-52. 

For a closer look at Spence vs Garcia, check out our fight night page. 

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