As Boxing continues to attempt moving forward in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 global epidemic, the month of December 2020 will offer some of the biggest bouts that the sport has seen throughout the frustrating year. One of those attractions is the clash between undefeated unified IBF/WBC Welterweight world champion Errol Spence and former two-division world champion Danny Garcia, which will take place on December 5th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. The fight, which will headline a four bout pay-per-view card promoted by the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) group of promoters and will be broadcast in the United States on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View brings together two of the top fighters not just in the 147lb. Welterweight division, but in the entire sport.
It is a fight however, that has one question that surrounds it. What will Errol Spence look like inside the ring after surviving a near fatal car accident in October of last year, mere weeks following his split decision win over WBC world champion Shawn Porter to successfully unify the IBF and WBC Welterweight world championships. Quite frankly, Spence is lucky to be alive after what was a horrific accident that some believed would at minimum be career ending even though he survived. The obvious question is what effect will that accident have on one of the top stars in the sport as he now looks to resume his career.
Normally when previewing a fight such as this, this observer would go into a thorough break down of each fighter’s previous outings and how those performances might effect both boxer’s approach as the fight nears. In this case, I feel it is unnecessary due to both the question surrounding Errol Spence in what will be his return to the ring as well as the similarities in terms of styles between Spence and Garcia.
If there are any adverse effects suffered by Spence due to the accident one year ago, we will likely find out early on in the fight as at his best, Danny Garcia is a solid boxer/puncher who has proven throughout his career that he can catch and hurt opponents in the middle of exchanges by using his compact offensive approach to take advantage of openings his opponent might leave him. While one could expect Spence who has scored knockouts in twenty-one of his twenty-six career wins registering a career knockout percentage of nearly 81% to come out aggressively, this could prove to be a dangerous strategy against a fighter with the counter punching ability of Garcia.
The danger for Garcia in this fight in my eyes could be the potential of him being outworked over the course of the fight as was the case in his two career defeats to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. Although there is a question regarding how Errol Spence will look coming back from the car accident, Garcia should prepare for the fighter Spence was before the accident, a fighter who has a mix of punching power and hand speed that frequently has his opponents on the defensive. If Spence is the same fighter as he was before the accident, Garcia must find a way to stay busy consistently throughout the fight as well as find a way to nullify Spence’s power and aggression if he wants to be successful in this bout in an attempt to become a three-time Welterweight world champion after previously being a unified world champion in the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division.
While much of the story of the story leading up to this fight centers on Errol Spence and his comeback from a near fatal car crash and what effects that accident might have had on him physically and in terms of his Boxing ability, there is also what may be ahead for the winner of this bout as undefeated WBO world champion Terence Crawford and current WBA world champion Manny Pacquiao could well be waiting in the wings for the winner for potential fights to further unify the 147lb. Welterweight division.
Clearly both men have a lot at stake in this encounter and while this fight would surely produce a high rating on the national Fox network here in the United States through its various affiliates across the country, the PBC has chosen once more to put one of their most competitive bouts on pay-per-view following two moderately successful, but under performing pay-per-view cards during the month of September and most recently the Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz bout on Halloween night in October. Much like those events, this card will carry a similar price point of $74.99. It remains to be seen as to how many consumers will buy this event given both the worsening COVID-19 epidemic as well as the alternative options that are available on digital subscription streaming networks such as ESPN+ and DAZN for the remainder of 2020. Both networks each have monthly subscription options that are at a considerably less expensive price point than the recent price point of pay-per-view cards promoted by the PBC group of promoters on a per card basis. While each network also offers a more expensive yearly subscription option, the possibility certainly exists that more consumers both due to the epidemic as well as this fight being scheduled close to the Christmas holidays might opt out of paying their money to see this fight as it happens.
While this observer tends to point this out whenever a card is to be broadcast via pay-per-view at an inflated price point, I want the reader as well as the promoters and networks involved to understand, I have no agenda beyond being honest with readers and in all honesty, I want to see every promoter and network big or small that is involved in the sport of Boxing to do well. The simple reason is if everyone involved in the sport succeeds it helps grow Boxing, increases exposure by putting the sport in front of as many viewers as possible, which will ultimately also benefit the fighters as well as those on the business end of the sport.
Although I realize that my position in being vocal in pointing out the benefits digital subscription-based streaming offers the consumer, may not make me popular amongst those still relying on the increasingly outdated model of pay-per-view, the reality is technology including, but not limited to television distribution is all moving in one direction. Subscription-based streaming. There is also another reality that comes with everything moving in the direction of low-cost streaming Until those promoters and networks adapt to the changing landscape, which has only accelerated due to the ongoing epidemic, the networks and promoters that continue to insist on pay-per-view will continue to see their potential audience dwindle regardless of who is on the card and who is squaring off in the main event.
As has been the case for the previous pay-per-view events that have taken place in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, it would be a shame if the potential great fight that Errol Spence vs, Danny Garcia figures to be on paper ends up producing underwhelming returns when all is said and done. Much like the events that have taken place before it however, if that is indeed what happens and the pay-per-view event does not produce the type of numbers to make it successful for the promoter, for Fox Sports, and for the fighters themselves, it will likely have little to do with the fighters, but rather a “Bad Business” decision that could ultimately be of little or no benefit to anyone in the end. That would truly be a shame.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
PBC: Spence vs. Garcia takes place on Saturday, December 5th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. The fight as well as a three bout televised undercard can be seen in the United States on a pay-per-view basis on cable/satellite providers as well as the Fox Sports app on connected streaming devices/platforms/Smart TVs on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View for $74.99. Contact your local cable/satellite provider to order or visit: https://www.foxsports.com/boxing/pbc/pay-per-view-spence-jr-vs-garcia-192 to order on the Fox Sports app. Check your local listings internationally.
For more information about Premier Boxing Champions please visit: www.PremierBoxingChampions.com
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