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    At this time, Pacquiao will be better off passing on Spence

    Mar 18, 2019
    PHOTO: AP
    spin zone

    CHICAGO - Viewed mostly as a powerful knockout artist, Errol Spence Jr showed the boxing world that he also understands, and can adequately express, the other brutal elements of the sweet science - timing, tempo and volume.

    Using a stiff jab, one that was aided by a four-inch reach advantage, Spence easily retained his IBF welterweight title, shutting out four-division champion and challenger Mikey Garcia via unanimous decision (120-107, 120-108 twice) at the AT&T Stadium.

    Garcia, known for his defense and counter-punching, couldn't do much as Spence rained 1,082 punches on him, landing 345. Spence also connected on 236 of 436 power blows, a staggering 51 percent accuracy.

    Only the prom queen gets hit on this many times on a Saturday night.

    Ultimately, though, it was the jab that got the job done.

    Spence threw 618 jabs, and while only 108 landed, the hostile, relentless pressure created the distance that separated him from peril while setting up telling blows to Garcia's head and body. Spence, who is three-and-a-half inches taller than the 5-foot-6 Garcia, was like a sniper on a ridge, picking apart an exposed target.

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    If it was any consolation, Garcia, according to Forbes, pocketed an $8 million purse, which meant he got paid $23,188 in each of the 345 punches he absorbed.

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    Garcia, however, wasn't just there for a massive payday, he was in it to win. He just didn't have it, not at welterweight anyway.

    A ferocious champ at 135 pounds, Garcia looked tame at 147. The extra pounds gave him heavy feet. His timing was off. His trigger was slow. And his reflexes, which he vehemently insisted was superior to Spence's, proved vastly inferior.

    Garcia landed only 75 of 406 punches (18 percent), 21 of 188 jabs (11 percent) and 54 of 213 power punches (25 percent).

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    As the rounds peeled, it became evident that Garcia's only path to victory was to come dangerously close and let his hands go. But against a heavy-handed champion who had exquisite timing and blazing speed, doing so would have meant that Garcia would sign his own death warrant. So Mikey wisely stayed away, took his licks like a man.

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    After failing to capture a historic win, the pride of Moreno Valley, California settled for a moral victory.

    "We just went 12 rounds with a great welterweight champion. That's a feat no one has done recently. I was proud of what I was able to do," Garcia said.

    After perhaps learning a lesson on why there are weight classes in boxing, Garcia told ESPN "I'll probably go back to lighter divisions.".

    As for Spence, the future is as bright as the lights in Las Vegas.

    We won't know until the next few days if his skill and charisma translated into big dollars in his pay-per-view debut, but with this magnificent performance Spence has certainly lined himself up for a huge money fight, possibly against major box-office draw Manny Pacquiao.

    "It would be an honor," Spence said on the chance of facing the Filipino senator.

    "Why not? Pacquiao, who was at ringside for the festivities, punched back.

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    If I were Manny, whose legacy is intact and whose legend has nothing more left to prove, I'd pass on Spence. To paraphrase my friend Stephen A. Smith, "that dude is bad, bad man."

    But that's a column for another day.

    Meanwhile, the one-sided clinic that Spence conducted in front of 47,525 fans at the home of the Dallas Cowboys taught us a neat lesson women already know.

    Size matters.

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    PHOTO: AP
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