Errol Spence Jr. on intense sparring with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Welterweight Errol Spence Jr. was preparing for Brandon Hoskins in May 2013 when he got the opportunity to step into the ring for a sparring session with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in advance his WBC welterweight title defense against Robert Guerrero.
“When I fought Floyd, the sparring was intense. It was tit for tat. It was very competitive,” said Spence – a southpaw like Guerrero – who was 4-0 with three stoppage victories at the time he worked with Mayweather.
“Before I came into camp, a lot of guys had told me that Floyd had been destroying people and beating them up in sparring and that he needed good work and couldn’t find any good work. So I came with my A-game and I came focused and it was just great sparring overall.”
Spence parlayed that experience, which transpired at Mayweather’s Las Vegas-based boxing facility, into a first-round stoppage of Hoskins in the Chelsea Ballroom of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on May 3 of that year. Spence-Hoskins happened the night before Mayweather’s unanimous decision over Guerrero at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“It was a few days before we were both going to fight, so to get that chance to spar with Floyd Mayweather, that was a great opportunity,” said Spence. “I just saw the experience as sparring and getting better. That was big confidence booster and it was just great sparring for a young fighter who had just turned professional. I just gained a lot of experience out of it.”
On Thursday in The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Spence (13-0, 10 knockouts) will fight Noe Bolanos (24-10-1, 16 KOs) in support of a main event between heavyweights Luis Ortiz and Lateef Kayode.
Two night later, Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs) will face Marcos Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) on Showtime Pay-Per-View at the MGM Grand, site of THE RING number one-rated fighter’s majority decision over Maidana in May.
“It’s just another day at the office but I am hyped up at the opportunity to be fighting a few days before Floyd’s big fight since there will be a lot of publicity and all of that,” said Spence, 24, a 20012 U.S. Olympian from Desoto, Texas.
“When I fought a while back, he congratulated me for the win, so we still keep in contact once in a while. I definitely want to be in the same spot as Floyd Mayweather. You know, Floyd has set that bar, so I want to go above and beyond what Floyd is doing.”
Spence is coming off a unanimous decision over Ronald Cruz in June while Bolanos lost his fifth straight bout to Erickson Lubin in July.
“I’ve seen a couple of his fights. He’s kind of an aggressive fighter and sometimes, he can be passive. He likes to come forward and he throws a lot of punches,” said Spence, who does not expect Bolanos to last the scheduled eight rounds.
“I don’t expect that it will go the distance. Not at all. If it comes to that, then I’m ready for it but I don’t expect that this will go the distance. I just want to keep on doing what I’ve been doing, which just staying focused on my fights and focused on my situation.”
Trained by Derrick James, Spence only expects to get better.
“I’m working on keeping my hands up and working off of my jab, letting my hands go,” said Spence. “I just want to continue to look impressive in each fight and on Thursday, I don’t expect nothing less than to continue to look good.”