Horseplay: Errol Spence Jr. Outworks Danny Garcia, Wins UD12

Errol Spence loves horses. Apparently, that’s his thing now. That’s fine. I suppose it’s a natural progression to make once you can no longer be trusted around automobiles. It’s not weird to like horses, I suppose. I mean, depending on what it is you’re doing with, or to, them. Horses are cool, don’t get me wrong. If you walk away from here thinking “Hey, that guy hates horses” then I have grossly misrepresented my position on our majestic equine brethren.

But here IS a weird thing to do, as it pertains to horses: incessantly talk about them when someone asks who you want to fight next. 

We’ll get to Spence’s fight with Danny Garcia last Saturday night on Fox Pay Per View in a moment — spoiler alert, it went exactly as you think it would — but the most telling part of the entire evening came in the post-fight interview when Spence was asked by Premier Boxing Champions’ Jordan Plant who he wants next. This, I swear to god, was his answer:

“I’m just gonna, I’m gonna chill on my ranch. I just bought a new ranch. I got a couple horses, I’m gonna get some more horses. Get some chickens, some more cows.”

Not since the “I like turtles” kid has a simple, straightforward question received such a completely incoherent, out-of-left-field response. Especially since the correct answer was sitting about five rows away. 

Boxing fans are accustomed to non-answers like this. Professional fighters speak more elliptically than Republican senators in an election year.  But with Terrence Crawford mere horse-lengths from the ring, Spence failing to even mention his name is borderline unforgivable. I mean, at least act like you give a shit about the fans of this stupid sport. This was teed up perfectly from every angle for Spence to publicly call out Crawford and at least appear to get that ball rolling. Instead, he talked about horses. 

And look, I get it. There are stumbling blocks in every negotiation. Purse splits, promotional issues, ego, and whatever the hell else these guys can find to piss and moan about, all factor in. But the Spence/Crawford staring contest is entering its fourth year and is far past the point of being obnoxious. Every “We’ll see” or “I don’t need him” or “I just wanna pet my horses” response, just gets us closer to the single biggest fight boxing can make waving bye-bye to its expiration date. 

It’s easy to forget that both of these guys are on the wrong side of 30. Even if the fight gets made next fall, Crawford will be 34, practically a senior citizen by welterweight standards. So far there’s been nothing to suggest that the wheels are anything close to falling off for either guy, but it isn’t hard to imagine this shit stretching into 2022, and by then, who knows? While it’s fun to watch elite fighters of Spence and Crawford’s caliber beat up on the Kell Brooks and Danny Garcias of the world, there’s really only one path for either man, and it leads to the other’s door.

Oh yeah, Danny Garcia!

There are few fighters in the sport who work harder than Garcia. Always in shape, ready to rip, never stops trying. That’s Garcia in a nutshell. One of the brutal truths of boxing though is that there’s simply no substitute for skill. While Garcia isn’t the gatekeeper some are now making him out to be, he’s simply a level below the elite tier of the sport. And that’s fine. Solid fundamentals, a rock-hard chin, and a workmanlike approach to the sport have made him rich and famous. There’s absolutely nothing for him to be ashamed of.

Against Spence, however, the gulf in talent was simply too much to bridge. Outworked, out-jabbed, and well, out-everythinged, Garcia found himself on the wrong end of a unanimous decision, as was expected. He had his moments here and there, but official scores of 117-111 and 116-112 twice, told the story. Pretty good, but just not quite enough. There will be more big fights for Garcia as his name still has value, but the Big One may simply never come. 

For Errol Spence, however, the Big One is sitting right there in front of him. Oh, how rare it is in boxing for two men of Crawford and Spence’s caliber to be both in their physical primes, in the same weight class, at the same time. What isn’t rare, unfortunately, is the years-long dance they’ve done to avoid fighting one another. There’s no other sport where two of its finest participants talking themselves out of competing against each other is simply par for the course.

There’s still time left to make this fight and have it mean something, but the clock is ticking louder by the day. I’d love to tell you I have confidence that all parties involved will get their collective shit together and get it done, but the fact that I’m sitting here clacking away about professional boxing should already show you that my judgment is suspect.

Beating Danny Garcia is nice. A win is a win. But really, who cares? By virtue of their immense talent, fate has inexplicably tied Spence and Crawford’s names together. The window to answer that call is closing, and once it does, it stays shut forever. 

There will be plenty of time to pet the horses once the work is done.


(Photo by Ryan Hafey/Fox Sports)