Errol Spence continues to prove to be the hottest ticket in town.
The unified welterweight titlist from Desoto, Texas extended his run as a box office draw in addition to his in-ring dominance in his 12-round unanimous decision win over former two-division champ Danny Garcia (36-3, 21KOs). The Dec. 5th event headlines a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event live from the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and which generated a live gate of $2,615,075 from 14,508 tickets sold according to the final tax report with the Texas Department License and Regulation.
Another 704 complimentary tickets were issued for a total fan attendance count of 15,212. Fight night attendance was announced at 16,102, with such figures provided by the on-site fire marshal to account for everyone in the venue.
The bout was the first for Spence (27-0, 21KOs) since his 12-round split decision win over Shawn Porter in their memorable Sept. 2019 welterweight title unification clash. The fight also headlined a Fox Sports PPV show, airing live from Staples Center in Los Angeles, which produced a live gate of $2,257,155 from 12,671 tickets sold and another 1,390 issued comps.
Spence basked in the glow of his blockbuster win, though the victory lap didn’t last long. The undefeated southpaw suffered extensive injuries sustained in a single car crash less than two week later, having since fully recovered. Spence did not show any lingering effects in his aforementioned victory over Garcia, with the bout serving as the best attended event in the United States since the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has limited fan attendance in venues around the country.
The majority of stateside boxing events since last June have taken place behind closed doors.
Top Rank has staged all of its post-pandemic shows in Las Vegas, with all but two disallowing fans in attendance—and even the two exceptions coming in front of intimate, invitation-only crowds.
Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) has split its shows between Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut for its Showtime-televised cards, and various venues in Los Angeles for its content on Fox Sports platforms. Two of its three PPV shows in that span served as the exceptions—Spence’s win over Garcia in Arlington, Texas; and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis’ 6th round knockout of Leo Santa Cruz atop their Oct. 31st Showtime PPV headliner from The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Davis-Santa Cruz was the first major U.S. televised card to take place with fans in attendance since the pandemic. The event produced a live gate of $1,466,475 from 7,891 tickets sold along with another 747 issued comps. The onsite total for the evening was 9,024.
Spence-Garcia outpaced another Texas-sized boxing blockbuster event, which marked the ring return of pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (54-1-2, 36KOs).
A 13-month ring break ended with Alvarez’s 12-round virtual shutout of Callum Smith to claim two super middleweight titles in becoming a legitimate four-division titlist. The Dec. 19th DAZN event aired live from The Alamodome, producing a live gate of $2,303,100 from 11,213 tickets sold, along with another 670 issued comps. Interestingly, the combined attendance figure (11,883) surpasses the 11,426 total announced on fight night.
As for Spence, the win marked his third major attendance pull in his home state in a span of less than three years. The long-reigning welterweight titlist drew an announced crowd of 47,525 for his 12-round shutout of unbeaten Mikey Garcia atop their March 2019 Fox Sports PPV, which also took place at AT&T Center. Nine months prior came a 1st round knockout of Carlos Ocampo, which headlined a Showtime card in front of a sold-out crowd of 12,604 at Ford Center at The Star, the Cowboys’ training center in Frisco, Texas.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox