No-one knows quite what to expect when Errol Spence returns to the ring this weekend.
In October 2019, just days after unifying the welterweight titles against WBC champ Shawn Porter, Spence was involved in a high-speed car crash that saw him escape with a fractured jaw, concussion and relatively minor injuries.
After a 14-month lay-off, Spence receives a second chance at a boxing career when he meets two-division champ Danny Garcia at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday, seeking to prove that he has suffered no lasting effects from the accident and still possesses the speed and intensity that took him to the top of the division.
The Texan southpaw maintains he has lost none of his lustre and has refocused as a fighter after his near brush with death.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work and showed the discipline I had to in order to get back to this position. Seeing my kids every day, it motivated me to give back to them and train hard in the gym. I made sure there were no outside distractions stopping me,” said Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) at the final press conference before his return.
“We’ve been in the gym since February grinding hard and now we’re back. I’m ready. My coach has watched me closely and he’s seen that everything is on point and back to where it was. Everyone is going to see the same Errol Spence Jr. on Saturday night.
“I have a renewed focus. I’m back focused on the things that got me to the top of the mountain. That’s really about being back in the gym every day no matter what. I’m not just going to be in the gym when it’s fight time. We’re grinding hard every day. That’s what got me to being unified champion in the first place.
“Nobody forced me to fight Danny Garcia. But I wanted to face someone dangerous who would keep me focused and in the gym training hard. Fighting someone who’s a great fighter like Danny pushes me to another level. That’s the level I’m supposed to be at.
“I’m sharper than I’ve ever been and making weight easier than I ever did before. The focus is there just like it was in the start of my career. It’s a renewed focus and everything is clicking.
“I’m going to prove that I’m still the same Errol Spence Jr. I know that people have a lot of questions. Those questions need to be answered. I don’t think I would have answered them against lighter competition. People who haven’t been in the gym are going to see those answers on Saturday.
“This fight is ending with me winning. Life has taught me that this world isn’t perfect. It might not be perfect, but I’m going to get the victory.”
Main image and all photos: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions.