Errol Spence Jr., photographed here in his former gym, the R&R Boxing Club in Northwest Dallas. (Photo by Elizabeth Lavin)

Sports

Is Errol Spence Jr. on His Way to Becoming a Global Phenomenon?

Ahead of his fight at AT&T Stadium, one sportswriter mentions the DeSoto boxer next to Serena, Tiger, and LeBron.

Nearly two years ago, in the May 2017 issue of D Magazine, sportswriter Joe DePaolo profiled a boxer out of DeSoto named Errol Spence Jr. None of the editors on staff had ever heard of him, but we took DePaolo’s word for it that this fighter was something special. Since then, the undefeated welterweight has earned a worldwide following. He’s also found a fan in Jerry Jones: on March 16, Spence will defend his IBF title belt against current WBC lightweight champ Mikey Garcia at AT&T Stadium. Yesterday, he showed up to the weigh-in like a young legend, in a turtleneck. We caught up with DePaolo to get his reaction.

“After watching Errol Spence up closegetting to know him, speaking with some of his closest confidants—I didn’t have a doubt that this day would come. He came across, to me, as a grounded, determined man with a true gift. I walked away from the story knowing he would eventually fight in AT&T Stadium, possibly in front of boxing’s biggest crowd in decades.

“I did not, however, realize it would happen less than two years after my story was published. It speaks to his unique abilities inside the ring, obviously. But it also speaks to his charisma. Fans in Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond are drawn to him. They are captivated by him. And they root for him.

“Mikey Garcia has never lost, and is one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world. But my expectation is that Errol Spence will dispatch him with ease in front of tens of thousands of his hometown fans. After that, anything is possible. And that’s what makes his ascent so fun to watch. The possibilities are limitless. If three years from now we are speaking Errol Spence’s name in the same breath as global sports icons like LeBron James or Serena Williams or Tiger Woods, I truly would not be shocked.”

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