After surviving a horrific car crash last October, undefeated welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. is ready to climb between the ropes again.
Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) will put his WBC and IBF world titles on the line Saturday night when he takes on Danny Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. He's hoping 14 months of ring rust doesn't get in the way of him furthering what has already been an excellent career.
One could have forgiven the 30-year-old if he opted for a tune-up fight in his first foray back into the ring after that single-car crash in Dallas, a collision that he escaped without serious injury and also resulted in a driving while intoxicated charge. He was ultimately sentenced to probation.
Instead, "The Truth" is getting right back into the mix by fighting Garcia, a former welterweight and junior welterweight world champion.
When: Saturday, Dec. 5 at 9 p.m. ET (main card)
Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
TV: Fox PPV, Premier Sports (UK)
Odds: Spence -500, Garcia +325 (via Draftkings Sportsbook)
Garcia is a heavy underdog against Spence, but he's no slouch. He has beaten the likes of Robert Guerrero, Zab Judah and Amir Khan, and his most recent bout saw him score a dominant seventh-round stoppage win over Adrian Granados in April.
The 32-year-old is a sharp counterpuncher with a great chin, but he's hasn't been able to rise to the top in a crowded welterweight division, having narrowly lost big fights to Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman in recent years.
Spence will be perhaps the toughest challenge of Garcia's career, but the Philadelphia native believes he can carve out a path to victory.
"After the Mikey [Garcia] fight and the [Shawn] Porter fight, you know I saw some holes in his game and I felt, you know, it's a good opportunity for me to become champion again", he told PBC on Fox (comment at 3:15 mark in video below):
Whatever part of Spence's game Garcia plans on exploiting, he'll do so knowing he has little margin for error. Spence didn't get a knockout in his last two wins—over Mikey Garcia and Porter—but he showed he can bully smaller fighters (Garcia) and survive a relentless firefight (Porter).
Assuming he's at his best, Spence should be able to handle whatever Garcia throws at him. But doubts will linger right up until the fight gets underway considering all that Spence has been through in the last year.
The 30-year-old southpaw paced his recovery from the crash and only started sparring again in September, per Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole. He admitted to worrying about his ability to fight at some points.
"Of course it runs through your mind, 'Am I really going to be able to fight again?'" Spence said. "I didn't tell anybody that was running through my mind, but it was."
While he wasn't seriously hurt in the crash, there's no way to know for sure if he will be the same pound-for-pound superstar moving forward. Fans can only hope that is the case, because if Spence wins on Saturday night, it sets up the possibility for some interesting superfights.
He could jump onto the global stage and line up a fight with Manny Pacquiao, who holds the WBA "super" world welterweight title. But the Filipino is 41 years old, and we've seen him humbled before.
A fighter who hasn't yet been humbled in the ring, and the one boxing purists would most like Spence to face, is Terence "Bud" Crawford.
The undefeated 33-year-old is coming off a stunning knockout win over Kell Brook and has expressed interest in taking on Spence. Crawford, the WBO titleholder at 147 pounds, is three years older than the New Yorker, so the sooner that fight can get made, the better for all involved.
Of course, that assumes Spence is able to beat Garcia on Saturday night. If he falls short, Garcia wouldn't be a bad opponent for Crawford, either.