Saturday, March 16th from Arlington, Texas
Errol Spence Jr. /Mikey Garcia
Errol Spence Jr. retained his IBF welterweight title in dominating fashion with a unanimous decision win over undefeated Mikey Garcia on pay-per-view from AT&T Cowboys Stadium in front of about 47,000 fans.
This was a rare bout between two undefeated titleholders who are among the elite pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Garcia (39-1, 30 KO’s) moved up two weight classes to challenge Spence (25-0, 21 KO’s). Spence’s size and excellent boxing skills were too much for Garcia as Spence won every round in a shutout.
“He showed a lot of heart just to take this fight and stay in the fight,” Spence said of Garcia. “I’ve got nothing but respect for Mikey Garcia.”
After the fight, Spence asked for Manny Pacquiao who joined him in the ring. During his interview Spence spoke of fighting Pacquiao next, “He’s a legend in the sport. It would be my honor to fight him next.” Pacquiao responded to this by saying, “Why not? We will give the fans a good fight.”
David Benavidez/J’Leon Love
Former super middleweight champion David Benavidez demolished J’Leon Love in the second round of their bout on the undercard of the Errol Spence/Mickey Garcia pay-per-view fight.
Benavidez (21-0, 18 KO’s) took the fight to Love (24-3-1, 13 KO’s) from the opening bell. Love was wobbled with shot after shot in the first round. Benavidez kept the pressure on in the second round when he staggered Love against the ropes. Eventually the referee stopped the fight because Love was taking way too much punishment.
Benavidez was stripped of his world title last year and suspended for testing positive for cocaine. With his career looking to be pointed back in the right direction, Benavidez called out titleholder Anthony Dirrell who was ringside. “I saw Anthony Dirrell with the WBC belt. He can’t call himself champion until he fights me,” Benavidez said. “That’s my belt. I’m going to get it. It’s mine.”
Sunday, March 17th from New York, New York
Michael Conlan/Ruben Garcia Hernandez
Michael Conlan fighting on St. Patrick’s Day is starting to become a tradition. Conlan has fought on St. Patrick’s Day at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden three years in a row since turning pro. Conlan (11-0, 6 KO’s) walked to the ring with the Wolfe Tones’ song “Celtic Symphony”. The song is a controversial choice thanks to the presence of the lyric “Ooh Ahh Up The Ra” which is widely viewed as pro-IRA. Whatever your political views are, it certainly had the green clad fans excited.
Conlan out boxed Ruben Garcia Hernandez for ten rounds in route to a unanimous ten round victory. Conlan went the distance but should have put away Hernandez (24-4-2, 10 KO’s) far early. Conlan has a frustrating way of letting his opponents hang around too long. It’s been the lone criticism of Conlan that he doesn’t step on the gas when he has his opponent vulnerable.
Post-fight Conlan mentioned that he wanted to fight Vladimir Nikitin next. Conlan lost to Nikitin in a highly controversial decision in the 2016 Olympics from Rio.
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