Keith Thurman called it. Moments after Danny “One-Time” Garcia dropped a dental floss thin UD to “Swift” Shawn Porter, it didn't long for Errol Spence Jr to tell “The Truth” about the distinct aroma of what he believed to be regular ass “Bud” inside the Barclays Center. Unlike Madison Square Garden or T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, things get lit in Brooklyn. Literally.
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“Swift do you feel like you were in there with a Cleveland Brown tonight?” I ask DSG at the post fight presser, after watching the bruised and dejected pride of Philadelphia complain about head lacerations and yellow flags that should've been thrown on the canvas. “Yeah definitely,” says DSG, cracking a slight smile. “It is what it is. That's the way he fights. He has an ugly style… I don't know how to feel right now.”
I felt “DSG” V “Showtime” was a Draw. A terse, tightly contested bout more smoke than fire. Most Danny Garcia fights are this way until he does something explosive – or doesn't. It was a very good fight, just one that didn't cross the crescendo of great because of Danny “Stiff” Garcia. With so many memorable and actual “One-Time” moments (it is Keith Thurman who is actually more akin to an alias of “Showtime” as he's never shown elite one-punch power) I expected DSG to do exactly what he did until eventually landing a game changing punch to stop the overachieving Shawn Porter. That he didn't, was owed to the differences in their corners and fundamental approach. The addition of Barry Hunter to the brainy father and son Porter duo produced the type of advanced scouting that needed to be “countered” by Team Garcia. Bringing in a Robert Garcia (who for example, squeezed every ounce of remaining talent from Brandon Rios before Swift flattened him) may not have been a bad idea.
On Tuesday, Garcia, upon reviewing the fight declared he'd won. There's a case for that. But it stands to reason that he lost the fight more than Porter won it, because (and to his credit) Danny doesn't really fight to win rounds. His mentality is truly “One-Time” oriented, in that he believes THE punch is coming. When it doesn't happen, we're presented with an elite plodder the opposing corner knows is plotting a counter trap. This is why fights with Robert Guerrero, Paul Malignaggi or the aforementioned Rios were more difficult than they should've been. There were maybe two or three rounds last weekend where had Danny simply thrown just a few more jabs with authority he'd have won clearly. Instead, Porter used a generic aisle brand of a bullish Manny Pacquiao to outhustle DSG and rent the WBC welterweight title, with no other option but to buy a beating from Spence Jr for the right price.
Meanwhile, DSG was forced to lament the blues about bruises and contusions to his psyche; which, like his elite welterweight status, can perhaps be repaired in a crossroads bout with Adrien Broner. AB raised at least these eyebrows during a memorable press conference that starred an apparently “drunk” Errol Spence, after Bud set up a trap.
“I am the best fighter in the world, hands down. ESPN is the biggest brand in sports and Top Rank is the biggest promotional company in boxing. This was a no-brainer for me and my team. All of the super fights that the world wants to see will happen. Mark my words. Like I've said before, I want all of the champions in the welterweight division.”
–Terence Crawford, shots fired at Errol Spence Jr, after signing an exclusive deal with Top Rank and ESPN on Sept. 6
Around two years ago, I made my debut with NY Fights covering Spence's Coney Island drowning of Leonard Bundu on NBC. I met him for the first time at the weigh-in, where his father relayed (without minding if I quoted him) just how dominant his then 23 year-old son was over a Spring 2013 version of Floyd Mayweather. Listening in on things and soon standing for a picture opp that will always be frozen in time, Errol simply looked at me and said in his Dallas country way: “Yup.” It was a really rain soaked day on the boardwalk that added to the event more than it dampened it, and because there was no official post fight press conference, I was sure to chase him down after the fight.
“Errol what kind of statement do you want to make to the champions at 147?!”, I'm screaming over a throng of media, as Spence is being hurried inside by the promotional team. “You already seen the statement– and so did they,” fired Spence with flair, looking dead at the camera as the throng went wild.
“What'd he say?” volleyed a frantic Woodsy, who just missed him. I showed him the video and we laughed. Every time I look at the pictures of that event and see him now, it occurs to me that Spence is exactly who he is, at all times, without equivocation. Nothing is contrived. Every combat performance or media appearance involves a decisive purpose. So he wasn't fucking around when he turned into the villain in an eventual superfight promotion with Crawford.
“I want to control it as a business, to keep it respectable. I don't want it near schools! I don't want it sold to children! That's an infamnia. In my city, we would keep the traffic in the dark people, the coloreds. They're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls.”
–Don Giuseppe “Joe” Zaluchi, from The Godfather
There are those who would say that a certain aspect of Don Giuseppe's character exists within the upper echelon boardrooms of boxing and certain upper echelon “colored” fighters have had enough. Let a white executive from a rival promoter approach the flammable Jermall or Jermell Charlo with what either perceives as a disrespect offer and fire alarms will ring. From this perspective, Spence represents the black man seizing the opportunity to truly be his own man – while influencing others to do the same, as opposed to being owned by old, opportunistic white men of “smoke and mirrors.” His desire to fight a similarly recalcitrant Mikey Garcia (who openly despises Bob Arum) has as more to do with a fraternal autonomy among two fighters doing their own business, than it has to do with any pleasure of fighting him. That would be reserved for Crawford. Spence has seen the fairly recent images of a Top Rank loving Crawford in the offices of billionaire investment tycoon Warren Buffett, the same man who financed Floyd's era of “Money.” In short, Errol Spence Jr thinks Terence Crawford is a sellout.
As such, the post fight press conference last week set up Shawn Porter as an unlucky victor at the wrong place and the wrong time. He was basically The Riddler to Spence's diabolical Joker; who put him in a WBC championship winning basement before crashing the coronation party with “media” minions Adrien Broner, Gervonta Davis and Robert Easter Jr., holding a flabbergasted mainstream media hostage while asking all of the questions. It was strangely appropriate. In so many ways its the fighters, often seen as “The Problem,” who now know that they are the solution.
“Certain fake ass media that don't want blacks to make it made a big deal out of Eddie Hearn and his app deal, but ain't say shit about my nigga, Al Haymon, and his deal with FOX,” bottom-lined AB, chastising the mainstream media for bias in its non-converage of Al Haymon's mammoth deal with FOX, in comparison to international coverage of Hearn's new groundbreaking platform DAZN.
The reality is, these fighters are entertainers, reliant as much on an unrestrained urban charisma to make the registers ring in as much as they are reliant on skills. They're tired of being exploited by who they now see as old used car salesmen and posers. Manny Pacquiao, with an entire Asian peninsula reliant upon him, recently fired blanks at Top Rank and Bob Arum for alleged slight of hand from his July 15 bout with Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia. Though resolved, its not likely to be forgotten. Ultimately, the feeling here is that all of the greedy factions will have to give way to a unilateral platform of sharing if we're to see the ‘superfights' Crawford believes will get made. All parties should know that the true greatness of someone is how they treat people who cannot do them a favor. Fans deserve more than being constantly asked to kiss someone's ass – white or black – for a fee with a middle finger.
“What goes around comes around like a hoola-hoop/karma is a bitch so just make sure that bitch is beautiful”
–Lil Wayne, She Will