Sports

Errol Spence Jr.: ‘I Should Have Lost My Life That Night’

Errol Spence Jr. is the unified welterweight champion with a 26-0 record, and considered one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world. On one October night in Dallas six months ago, his boxing career and life almost ended in a horrific car accident where Spence was ejected from the vehicle. Realizing how perilously close he came to dying, Spence’s perspective on life has dramatically changed and he looks forward to getting back in the ring and defending his titles.

Errol Spence’s ascent to the top of boxing

After a successful amateur career, which included three consecutive United States national championships in the welterweight division, Errol Spence Jr. has ascended to the top of the professional boxing ranks in the last eight years. 

With an unblemished record of 26-0, Errol Spence has established himself as the top welterweight winning the IBF title in 2017 and the WBC title late in 2019. Spence’s path to both titles hasn’t been without its challenges, in particular, his two fights in 2019 that went the distance.

In March at Jerry Jones’ AT&T Stadium, Spence dominated challenger Mikey Garcia the entire fight but was unable to finish him off, eventually winning by a unanimous decision. In the fourth defense of Spence’s IBF title, Shawn Porter presented an even greater test in September. 

Spence absorbed 172 punches, the most in his career, from the 31-year-old Porter. Despite the battering, Spence managed to knock Porter down in the 11th and hung on to win by split decision and added the WBC title to his collection. 

Spence defies death in horrific car accident

Less than two weeks after his victory over Porter, Spence was driving his Ferrari at a high rate of speed in the early-morning hours of October 10 in Dallas when he lost control of the vehicle. The convertible Ferrari crossed the median and flipped multiple times, ejecting the 29-year-old Spence, who was not wearing a seat belt.

Errol Spence, who was later charged with DWI, said in an interview on the All the Smoke Podcast, he doesn’t remember the accident or the hospital stay, which included time in intensive care.

“I think angels were with me. I didn’t break any bones. Doctors couldn’t believe it. For someone to get ejected from the Ferrari, and land on the concrete. The only thing that was hurting was my neck, my hip, and both my shoulders. My shoulder was scraped up, and my leg was scraped up. I should have lost my life that night.”

Spence also lost multiple teeth, which he said resulted in oral surgery and the insertion of three posts into his mouth. He said he has been training in the gym, but under doctor’s orders, he cannot spar until the teeth have completely healed.  

Errol Spence has a new outlook on life

Now able to reflect on the events of that night almost seven months ago, Errol Spence said it has been a physically and mentally painful process to endure, but it has allowed him to view his life, both past and present, from a different perspective.

“Around that time, I was taking a lot of stuff for granted. I think I was headed down that path to destruction. It was showing even in the Shawn Porter fight. It showed I was slacking. That car accident was eye-opening for me. It was a blessing I got into that accident, and it put a lot of things in perspective that I didn’t put in perspective cause I was so on a high. It knocked me down.”

Spence said during quarantine he’s been running regularly and focused on his weight, watching everything he puts in his body. He said he doesn’t have any fight scheduled, but he hopes to take on WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford or Manny Pacquiao

Whoever the opponent is, Spence said it doesn’t matter. He just knows he wants to take advantage of his second chance and prove that he’s a different person who truly appreciates life and shows it both inside and outside the ring.