Unbeaten Spence wants Pacquiao next

After losing the bout on Saturday, Mikey Garcia (left) declared Errol Spence Jr as "the truth".
After losing the bout on Saturday, Mikey Garcia (left) declared Errol Spence Jr as "the truth".PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

DALLAS • Errol Spence Jr called out Manny Pacquiao after solidifying his status as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world with a 12-round masterclass performance over challenger Mikey Garcia on Saturday.

The 29-year-old easily beat his 31-year-old opponent by a unanimous decision to retain his International Boxing Federation title in a welterweight homecoming bout in front of 47,500 fans.

Spence dominated his fellow American throughout with a stinging jab and a barrage of combinations as he used his size and reach advantage to put on a boxing clinic.

His victory also appears to have set up a future showdown with Pacquiao, who was ringside at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, and who later told reporters he was "looking at the winner of this fight".

The 40-year-old added: "Spence wants to fight me. I am hoping to be back here soon. We will give the fans a good fight."

And Spence, who improved to 25-0, reiterated his desire to square off with the Filipino great as he was "a legend of the sport" and "it would be his honour to fight him next".

Revealing that "his motivation was fighting in front of my hometown crowd", he added: "This is where I started it from a pup. From the amateurs, all the way up.

"This is my core fan base. I felt good and I wanted to put on a great performance."

The fight was hyped as a clash between two unbeaten boxers, but it did not turn out that way with one judge scoring it 120-107 for Spence, while the other two judged it 120-108.

Garcia, who was trying to win a title in his fifth different weight class, never landed more than 10 punches in a single round, while his opponent landed a total of 375 punches to his 75.

Despite failing to get the knockout he wanted for only the fourth time in his career, Spence, who has been avoided by most of the top fighters in the division, felt he had silenced his critics, who claimed he "could not box".

He said: "You saw it today. I can box, I can move my head. I can do it if I want to."

After dropping to 39-1, Garcia, who was fighting for the first time as a welterweight after moving up two weight divisions, declared Spence was "the truth".

He added: "All the credit to Errol. He's a great champion. He's for real... I couldn't make adjustments."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2019, with the headline 'Unbeaten Spence wants Pacquiao next'. Print Edition | Subscribe