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Spence Jr. retain welterweight titles in first fight since accident

Errol Spence Jr. retained his IBF and WBC Welterweight titles after defeating Danny Garcia by unanimous decision at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Saturday, Dec. 5.

It was the fifth defense of the IBF title for Spence but his first time defending the WBC belt.

Two of the judges had the fight 116-112 while the last card tallied a 117-111 win for the 30-year old Spence.

It had been 434 days since his last fight, where he beat Shawn Porter by split decision to retain the IBF championship and capture the WBO title.

Twelve days later, Spence flipped his Ferrari several times and was later convicted with driving while intoxicated.

Garcia was the next challenger for Spence prior to his accident and has since defeated Ivan Redkach by unanimous decision in January.

Nearly 11 months after that fight and 14-plus months removed from Spence’s injury, the fight took place.

Spence’s defense was as top-tier as ever as Garcia only landed four percent of his 362 thrown jabs, which is a little more than a jab a round.

In addition, the champion held the challenger to 17 percent of his total punches thrown which was 700 exactly.

From the outset, Spence was on the attack, depositing blows to the body of Garcia well into the first half of the fight.

Just as Garcia’s hands began to drop in the seventh round, Spence worked his jab to perfection doubling up on his combos.

There was an incidental head butt that caused some swelling on the forehead of Spence during the seventh round.

What were two-punch combos in the earlier rounds were turning into three and four-hit combinations in the latter rounds for the champion.

If there were any moment where Spence began to slow, it was the 10th round where Garcia was able to go more on the offense, looking to land shots through his opponent’s guard.

Post fight, Spence asked for patience from viewers as citing some ring rust.

However, the Dallas, Texas native went back to controlling the center of the ring in the last two rounds before Garcia went for broke during the last 10 seconds of the 36-minute championship fight.

Both fighters shared a hug in the ring in the immediate moments after the bell sounded signifying the end of the bout.

Spence also shared a moment with Garcia’s corner before returning to his side of the ring for the decision.

Seventy-six of Spence’s 187 total strikes landed to the body of Garcia.

Furthermore, Spence was 20 percent on his jab and 36 percent on power punches while holding Garcia to 30 percent on power punches.

When asked what he wants next, Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) admitted he’s looking forward to spending time on his newly purchased ranch after getting “away from the city.”

Most want a unification bout with WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford, who was in attendance for this fight.

Crawford beat contender Kell Brook by fourth round TKO in November in his fourth title defense to improve to 37-0 with 28 knockouts.

The former two-division champion Garcia suffered his third loss in 40 professional fights but is now 3-3 in his last six after starting his career 33-0.

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