Initially, Errol Spence ignored a drop in the vision of his left eye in August 2021. His welterweight bout against Manny Pacquiao overcame a surprising new challenge.
And when the pre-stroke test revealed a torn retina – an injury that could end the boxing career – Spence said he offered to sign to prove his acceptance of the danger and was ready to compete.
“At that point, you want to fight,” he said.
Pacquiao’s success could have pleased Spence, who was born on Long Island and grew up in Dallas, ranging from boxing to celebrity. That’s a big difference in a game where the pay of the runners depends on the size of the audience they pull.
Apparently, Nevada committee officials did not nominate Spence to run, and he was replaced by Yordenis Ugas, who defeated Pacquiao to win the election. Spence went on to undergo surgery and a second term dismissal for a long time. Ugas won the World Boxing Association title, as well as the history that accompanies legends like Pacquiao.
The plot change creates a Saturday night show between Spence (27-0, 21 knockouts), who holds World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation titles, and Ugas (27-4, 12 knockouts). Boxing fans are not the only ones to be envious; that could be a match between Spence and Terence Crawford, another undefeated welterweight. But the winner Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will come out with four major titles and a valid claim to be the best fighter in the most competitive team.
“Spence and Crawford are one and two,” said Ugas, who said he considered himself third in the world. “The person who wins the fight is the best welterweight.”
Although the rivals are competitive, Spence enters as an A-side. The race is taking place outside Dallas, with Mayor Eric Johnson announcing Saturday “Errol Spence Day.” The developers expect more than 40,000 viewers, many of whom are members of the Spence team who are eager to see him remove the last barrier between him and the megafight and Crawford. Possible connections remain very interesting at this stage.
“The welterweight division has always been a fantastic segment, from Sugar Ray Leonard to Oscar De La Hoya to Floyd Mayweather,” said Stephen Espinoza, president of Showtime Sports, who pays per-view on Saturday’s fights. “This is a secret, and it isn’t really a secret. You look like an elite fighter, and you often find firearms. “
But last year’s eye surgery stopped Spence, and he has not competed since he defeated Danny Garcia in December 2020. And Garcia’s fight was back, Spence’s first fight since a car crash in October 2019 that left him in hospital. sabbath.
For him, Spence confirms that the damage, surgery and dismissal he started did not diminish his skills.
“It helped me to teach more,” says Spence. “It doesn’t matter if I had another job or 9 to 5 years. I usually spent time with my family and my children.”
However, a long absence has changed the course of the war which, after defeating Shawn Porter in September 2019, seemed to have reached a certain level of popularity. Now, questions are about to come that Spence, 32, could return to the second major medical crisis. Instead of fighting a rival, Spence opted to meet Ugas, whose reputation and confidence have grown since he ousted Pacquiao last year.
Similarities abound. Both boxers are skilled and aggressive, punishing boxers is equally free from smart play or casual noise. And they all have work delays. After a series of losses in 2014, Ugas dropped boxing for more than two years before moving to New Jersey for Las Vegas and reunited with his current coach, Ismael Salas, a Cuban teammate émigré.
Ugas, 35, travels two generations of Cuban players.
The senior team includes Olympic gold medalists such as Yuriorkis Gamboa and Guillermo Rigondeaux, former world champions who are now in their 40s who are still active but no longer high. Rigondeaux has lost two times in a row, and is recovering from a home accident that nearly paralyzed him. Gamboa, who also lost twice straight, will face Isaac Cruz on the undercard on Saturday.
The small group includes the recently disabled like Robeisy Ramirez, and the Olympians like Andy CruzTokyo gold medalist, who belongs to the group that the Cuban government banned the pro in 1961, has allowed it to compete as professionals.
The defeat of Pacquiao made Ugas the first Cuban-born welterweight champion since Jose Napoles, who held two titles between 1969 and 1975. Victory against Spence, Ugas said, will be felt among Cubans around the world.
Ugas said: “It’s a night of Cuban boxing history. It’s a big stage. A lot of people are proud of me.”
The winner of Saturday will have the top picks in his next fight.
In particular, there is Crawford, whose advertising contract with Top Rank expired last November and he sued a former promoter in January. If disagreements between advertisers and their allies have prevented major conflicts in the past, Espinoza said Crawford’s free agency would remove the barrier.
“We have a better chance of Crawford fighting after this war than we have had for a long time,” Espinoza said.