You know you’ve made it if the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Evander Holyfield, Roberto Duran, Deontay Wilder, Shawn Porter, [breath], Adrien Broner, Dak Prescott, Jalyon Smith, Mike Evans, Aqib Talib and many other famous beings take time out of their busy schedules to attend your fight.
Such was the case for Desoto’s Errol Spence Jr. on Saturday in front of 47,525 at AT&T Stadium.
Boxing’s brightest young star made it worth their time in what was billed as the year’s marquee fight to date against IBF and WBC World Lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs).
He utterly dominated Garcia with a unanimous decision victory, 120-107, 120-108, 120-108.
“The motivation fighting in front of my hometown crowd made me feel great,” he said. “These people have supported me since day one and I wanted to put on a good performance for all of them.”
Spence then called out Pacquiao, who was in the ring post-fight, saying it would be an honor to fight him.
“He’s broken records here before, he’s a legend in the sport and it’d be my honor to fight him next,” Spence said.
Pacquiao grinned and said, “Yes, why not? We’ll give the fans a good fight. I’m so happy to be here in Dallas and I hope I will be back here soon.”
That’s the money fight Spence, and much of the boxing world, wants next, which could very well end up at AT&T Stadium.
Spence (25-0, 21 KOs), who was defending his IBF World Welterweight Championship, was not only the bigger fighter, which was known coming in, but he was the quicker man as well, using both factors to his advantage.
He turned a fight many thought could be close into a decidedly one-way bout primarily because of his left hook and, like Mayweather, his ability to not get touched up for much damage.
Garcia, already a four-division champion after starting his career as a featherweight, stepped up two weight classes from 130 to 147 pounds in hopes of making history by becoming the sixth man with titles in five different divisions. Those names are a who’s who of the sport, including Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar Dela Hoya, Mayweather, and Pacquiao, who not so coincidentally, will be in attendance at AT&T Stadium Saturday night.
But Spence was just a different animal.
“I give Mikey Garcia all the credit for taking this fight,” Spence said. “Mikey and I put on a great show in front of all these lovely fans. I respect him so much and I appreciate him for stepping up.”
FORMER WORLD CHAMP RETURNS AND DOMINATES
Saturday also featured the long awaited return of David Benavidez, the former super middleweight world champion who was stripped of his belt after testing positive for cocaine last year.
He wasted little time proving why he so quickly ascended to the top of his weight class by demolishing J’Leon Love 1:14 into the second round with a TKO.
Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs) worked his left jab to perfection, overpowering Love (24-3-1, 13 KOs) against the ropes on numerous occasions, including when the referee stepped in to stop the fight in Round 2.
“It’s a dream come true to fight on this stage in front of these fans,” he said. “These fans give me the motivation to get up every day and go the extra mile.
“I expected to knock him out, but when I hit him with the first god shot, I knew he wasn’t going to last. I tried to pace myself, but it wasn’t necessary tonight.”
Benavidez was quick to call out Anthony Dirrell, who won the WBC belt that he was stripped of.
“I saw Anthony Dirrell with the WBC belt,” Benavidez said. “He can’t call himself champion until he fights me. That’s my belt. I’m going to go get it. It’s mine.”
OTHER LOCAL FIGHTERS ON THE CARD
Dallas’ Gregory Corbin went below the belt one too many times against Charles Martin, and it cost him the fight.
Corbin (15-1, 9 KOs) hit Martin, the former heavyweight world champion, where it really hurts four times to force an eighth round stoppage 53 seconds in for “repeated low blows.”
“It is what it is, I thought I was hitting him on the belt,” Corbin said. “We wanted to go to the body, I thought he was tired. I hurt him once, but the low blows did it for me.
“It’s two steps back any time you lose, so it’s back to the drawing board. I’ll be back though.”
Martin (26-2-1, 23 KOs) thought the exact opposite.
“I don’t think he really wanted to fight, he wanted to hit me low and see how much he could get away with,” he said. “I could sense that he didn’t want to engage any more.”
Other local fighters included super middleweight Brooks Burley (Dallas), who made his pro debut by knocking out Randy Mast 1:16 into the first round.
Mesquite cruiserweight Adrian Taylor improved to 9-1 with a unanimous decision over William Quintana (7-13), 40-36, 39-37, 39-37.
Dallas welterweight Amon Rashidi (6-0, 4 KOs) scored a sixth round stoppage over El Paso’s Gabriel Gutierrez (5-8, 3 KOs).