Mac Engel

Boxing champ Errol Spence of DeSoto just learned the hardest lesson of his life

Errol Spence is a sweet, nice man from DeSoto, and a brilliant fighter who just learned the hardest lesson anyone ever will: That nothing ever good happens after midnight, and none of us lives forever no matter how much of a bad ass we think we are.

Spence was driving his Ferrari when it flipped several times at a “high rate of speed,” and crashed in the 500 block of South Riverfront Boulevard in Dallas on Thursday. That is not too far from the gym where he trains.

The crash happened at approximately 3 a.m.

Spence is expected to survive, according to police. He was airlifted to a hospital and is listed in serious condition.

Looking at the photographs of the wreck, it is a miracle he is only in serious condition.

This is a 29-year-old man who is one of the best people in a sport that is loaded with characters who frequently lack character. The only possible knock on Spence is that he’s almost too nice, and just too kind to to market and needle audiences like Floyd Mayweather.

Spence is 26-0 and owns the IBF welterweight title. He has the ability and talent to become the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. God willing, he will recover and continue his career on the path he worked so hard to create.

Driving a Ferrari at a “high rate of speed” is fun, but there is a time and a place. It is one thing to know it, and quite another to live that lesson.

One of the elements that makes Spence so good in the ring is that he is never afraid. That is a common trait among successful pro athletes. They are not afraid to fail. They are not afraid to win.

There was never a fighter or a ring that scared Errol Spence.

Now he has had life scare him to death. These sorts of confrontations can change people.

When you know for a fact that you will not live forever, and are aware that the corner bell will, in fact, ring for you, behaviors change. As they should.

Once you re-learn fear, it can be a debilitating experience. Not just for a big, muscular pro jock but for anyone.

Jumping off the high dive, once so fun as a kid, becomes less appealing. Staying out after midnight, once so appetizing, is no longer considered, becoming just another dumb thing to do.

Driving a Ferrari on a city street at 3 a.m. is fun, until you nearly lose everything.

Then it’s not worth it, because few activities are, ultimately, worth that trade.

It sounds like Errol Spence will make it, and hopefully his body and mind will heal and return to their previous state and he can enjoy the life he worked so hard to build.

Boxing is brutal, and he earned his position. It would be a shame if he lost it this way.

But October 10, 2019, will change Errol Spence, because now he knows while he may be indestructible inside the ring, there is a bell that will one day ring for him.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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