It seems as though undefeated IBF welterweight champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs) showcased his undeniable boxing skills very early in his career, he officially turned heads in the boxing community after defeating British welterweight Kell “Special K” Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) in his own backyard.
Though the majority of the fans initially believed Brook would overwhelm his younger opponent, Spence made a statement by knocking Brook out in the 11th round after what played to be a very close and competitive fight. After acquiring the IBF Welterweight Title, Spence began to appear in many fan’s top P4P lists and gained credibility in the welterweight division.
Spence will be making his first title defense against Lamont “Havoc” Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) who has a toe-to-toe style that intrigues boxing fans into tuning in.
Peterson’s best win came by unanimous decision against Amir “King” Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) in 2011, but has since then suffered losses against Argentinian welterweight Lucas “La Maquina” Mathysse (38-4, 35 KOs) as well as Philly’s Danny “Swift” Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs).
Though Peterson hasn’t been extremely active these past couple of years, he won his previous two fights convincingly enough to make the fans believe he will put up a decent fight against Spence.
Some fans, however, have expressed disappointment in Spence choosing to fight Peterson. After his performance against Brook, boxing fans demand much more competitive fights against top welterweights such as Shawn “Showtime” Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) and Keith “One Time” Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs).
When Stephen A. of ESPN’s First Take questioned Spence on his opponent of choice, Spence explained that no other welterweights were available to take the fight, as well as accusing Thurman of not answering the call.
Stephen A. went further into instigating, by asking Spence if he was claiming on national television, that Thurman was in fact avoiding him in the ring.
“I’m saying I’ve been calling at Keith Thurman since I was 15 and O, it’s time to fight,” Spence replied.
Thurman and his two belts seem to be Spence’s main interest; but since super lightweight unified champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) announced he would be moving up to the welterweight division, the boxing fans have expressed interest in seeing him and Spence face each other.
When Max Kellerman asked Spence about the possibility of a fight with Crawford, Spence seemed slightly reluctant. Though he assured him the fight would happen, Spence also claimed Crawford had to beat Jeff “The Hornet” Horn (18-0, 12 KOs) and acquire the belt before he thinks of getting in the ring with him.
Spence went on to say that in order for Crawford to be a desirable opponent, he must first work his way up in the welterweight division and prove himself. Ironically enough, this is the same reasoning behind Keith Thurman as to why he had no interest in fighting Spence.
Using the same logic, boxing fans may begin to suspect that Spence is avoiding Crawford just as he claims Thurman is avoiding him.
Most fans believe Crawford would have no trouble beating Horn for the belt, which would eventually lead to Spence, Crawford, and Thurman stepping in the ring against each other in order to unify.
“A true champion can’t fight everybody who calls them out, it’s still a business. But a true champion fights other champions, especially when they’re available,” Spence said at the fight press conference.
Spence has also assured that he will be more active in 2018, and hopes so will Keith Thurman by agreeing him to fight later on in the year. For now, however, Spence assures fans he must first beat Peterson, which will be a challenge in itself because he knows Peterson will show up to fight.
Amidst of all the possible opponents being thrown at Spence, perhaps the strangest suggestion has to the Mexican middleweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs). On several occasions, Spence has made claims that he would have no issue facing the redheaded middleweight at 160lbs.
As we can see from Canelo’s resume, he sure doesn’t hesitate on fighting smaller opposition. However, Spence has also clarified that he’s comfortable in the welterweight division and would rather unify before thinking of moving up in weight class such as Brook did against Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs).
There is no doubt in boxing fan’s minds that whether Spence faces Thurman or Crawford first, the fights would be an amazing display of skill and competitiveness this sport desperately needs. Whether Spence occupies a spot in your top P4P list, it is evident he possesses the skills and special talent, as well as the hunger for victory and passion required to be at the top of the welterweight division.
All boxing fans look forward to a showcase of skill between Spence and the top competitors at 147, but before we get to see those explosive bouts, Spence must first dominate Peterson in the ring come Saturday night.
Though Spence seems to be the obvious favorite amongst boxing fans, they still expect Peterson to look good and consistent in his attack. Since Peterson has fallen short against other top welterweights and even been knocked out before, one can only expect a similar result as he faces the explosive southpaw that is Errol Spence.
Prediction: Errol Spence, TKO Round 7.
Spence and Peterson will meet inside the ring on Saturday, January 20 on Showtime Championship Boxing at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Picture Credit: Stacey Verbeek, IG: @StaceyVerbeek