After an eventful first few months of 2019 that saw the boxing world get shook to its core from both inside the ring and outside of it, the sport now shifts its focus to one of the most intriguing matchups in recent memory.
Errol Spence Jr., one of the newest stars of the welterweight division and the current IBF champion, will take on four-division champion Mikey Garcia.
In the span of less than two years, Spence has turned himself into one of the sport's premier welterweights and is becoming a rising superstar headlining his first pay-per-view bout. Although younger and not involved in as many world title fights as Garcia, Spence has been in big stages before, having traveled to the United Kingdom and defeated Sheffield favorite Kell Brook in impressive fashion to win the IBF title.
Since then, he has traveled to Brooklyn to easily dispatch former champion Lamont Peterson and went to Frisco, Texas and knocked out Carlos Ocampo in the first round of their title. Possessing an incredible physique and devastating power when attacking the body, Spence's skillset has many believing that he is the best welterweight in the world today.
Garcia, who has been on many people's pound-for-pound list, has been moving up and down in weight in recent years, capturing many different and joining an exclusive club of boxers to have won titles in at least four different weight classes. But Garcia is going to be making the biggest weight jump of his career as he goes from 135 pounds from his last fight to 147 pounds for the fight against Spence. Garcia had long been trying to carve out a legacy as one of the sport's premier boxers, but a win over Spence not only puts Garcia atop of many pundits' list as the boxer today, but also puts him a step closer to all-time greatness.
The fight will be shown on Fox pay-per-view in the United States, headlining a four-fight card that will also feature a number of former champions and title challengers looking to work their way back up to a title opportunity.
Opening things up is a heavyweight fight featuring Chris Arreola and Jean Pierre Augustin. Arreola has challenged for the WBC heavyweight title three times, falling short on every occasion. After his latest title challenge in 2016, Arreola spent nearly two-and-a-half years away from the sport before returning to action last December. Now at 38 years old, Arreola understands that this current run is his last opportunity to win his first world title. A slip up against Augustin in front of a global audience could spell the end for Arreola.
Also on the card is former bantamweight champion Luis Nery going up against former super flyweight champion McJoe Arroyo. After Nery failed a drug test in 2017 and then came in massively overweight before a title defense last year, Nery's credibility took a massive hit. After serving a suspension handed to him by the WBC, Nery has won two straight fights and looking to return to title contention and perhaps win back the WBC title.
The co-main event of the card is a super middleweight bout between former WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez and J'Leon Love. Benavidez lost his world title after failing a drug test last year, testing positive for the central compound found in cocaine. After a fall from grace so soon after winning the title in late 2017, Benavidez is now more mature, humbled by the experience and ready to reclaim his title. In a recent chat with Fightful during a conference call, Benavidez outlined his plan to get back the WBC title, currently being held by Anthony Dirrell, and that involves a dazzling performance against Love.
Love, on the other hand, was once a potential contender for a 168-pound world title, but after a one-sided decision loss to Peter Quillin, he falls all the way to the back of the line in super middleweight division. A win against Benavidez would not only be one of the more surprising upsets of the year thus far, but it would put Love right back into contendership putting him one closer to a world title fight than ever before.
Below is the full main card for the event taking place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, starting at 9 p.m. ET:
- Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia: IBF Welterweight title bout
- David Benavidez vs. J'Leon Love: Super Middleweight bout
- Luis Nery vs. McJoe Arroyo: Bantamweight bout
- Chris Arreola vs. Jean Pierre Augustin: Heavyweight bout:
There will also be a prelim card that will air on Fox Sports 1, starting at 8 p.m. ET. Below is the current prelim card:
- Charles Martin vs. Gregory Corbin: Heavyweight bout
Tale of the Tape:
Errol Spence Jr.:
Record: 24-0 (21 KO)
Notable Fights: Kell Brook, Lamont Peterson
Titles Won: IBF Welterweight title
Record: 39-0 (30 KO)
Notable Fights: Robert Easter Jr., Sergey Lipinets, Adrien Broner, Roman Martinez, Orlando Salido, Jonathan Victor Barros
Titles Won: WBO Featherweight, WBO Super Featherweight, WBC Lightweight, IBF Lightweight, IBF Junior Welterweight
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