Saturday May 27th, 2017-Sheffield, England~ The much anticipated bout, as undefeated #1 contender Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. 22-0 (18KO’s) traveled across the pond, to challenge the IBF Welterweight Champion Kell “Special K” Brook 36-2 (25 KO’s) for his strap. A TRU test for both fighters, as it was a match up of a tough, skilled world champion, taking on a former Olympian and highly rated contender who had already amassed a following within the boxing circle.
Both fighters came out with a high level of energy, seemingly ecstatic to establish the pace and timing of his opponent. Brook sought to set up a jab which he employed as well as the straight right, while Spence focused on measuring his distance and following his jab with a left hook to the body. The battle of the jabs seemed to go Brook’s way in the early rounds, as he seemed to take control of it in the 2nd. Spence struggled to find a way in the early rounds, as he tried to push Brook backward. A counter left hook in the 3rd round, seemed to finally allow Spence to begin chopping at a Brook that slowed his pace considerably.
As Brook stood his ground, he managed to return a couple good counter shots on Spence, who again retreated his step towards the end of the round. Brook’s superior hand speed seemed to make a big difference in the way Spence approached the first 4 rounds. Every exchange seemed to emphasize Brook’s hand speed as superior, as Spence remained focused but unable to match Brook shot for shot through 4. Through the mid point, Spence seemed to be able to find the rhythm that characterizes his style as aggressive, and every time they met in the middle for the clinch, the exchanges served more his purpose of wearing down his opponent.
Spence was up to that point, unable or unwilling to invest in Brook’s body, as his usual body shots were the big absence of the night, but that seemed to sway the other way as the fight progressed. Opening the 6th round, Brook landed a shot during an exchange which got Spence out of balance due to their feet getting tangled, and as he recovered managed to engage in an exchange with Brook that evened things out and reminded Brook that he was there to fight.
Spence remained focused, and was able to establish his usual aggressive style in the 7th round. As Brook used his combinations assertively, Spence answered with heavy artillery of his own. Spence’s jab began to come more often, and also followed by more increasingly effective power shots, shots that began to show heavily on Brook’s left eye. Spence seemed to be taking an edge and figuring out Brook, as the latter tried to respond . The even exchanges in the 8th, allowed Spence to once more land combinations that got Brook to consider how aggressively to approach. The fight became a closer contest to open the late rounds, Brook’s left eye began to show the signs of Spence’s late rounds push to land something significant.
The 9th round was Spence’s coming out party, as he finally managed to gain ground and begin cutting the ring off on Brook who showed a slower backing pace. Spence’s confidence boosted enough to come in the 10th round with a mission, and landed powerful shots that dropped Brook who was battered, but managed to beat the count and engage heavily with Spence to survive the round.
By the 11th round Spence’s focus and increasing punch volume managed to pay dividends, as Brook’s left eye succumbed to the heavy punishment and suffered what appeared to be a broken orbital bone. As Brook felt the pressure, he took a knee and pulled out of the fight, giving Spence Jr. the victory via 11th round TKO, to become the new IBF Welterweight Champion of the world.
It is undeniable that after a 9 month lay off, Spence (admittedly so) had a lackluster first half of the fight. Proving that he is as gritty as they come, he also managed to show that his skill and determination are second to none. Giving himself a B+ grade for his performance, it is also important to stress that he has arrived. Errol Spence Jr. “The Truth”, has lived up to his moniker, and in the process even at about 70%, defeated a true champion and one of the best Welterweights in boxing.
The focus now shifts to what’s next, with the Welterweight division being one of the most competitive in boxing. Names like Porter, Khan, Garcia, Pacquiao, Crawford possibly moving up, Broner and the most likely next opponent for Spence, Keith “One Time” Thurman for the titles unification. The only thing that is certain, is that today in Boxing “The Truth” has been revealed!
Keep it TRU!