Errol Spence Jr.: Boxing’s top spot up for grabs, I’m coming for it
Errol Spence Jr. just might be the most talented fighter in boxing, and he’ll have a chance to prove it.
That’s because Spence resides in boxing’s most talent laden weight class, and since he’s with Al Haymon, he can easily be matched up with the best fighters in the welterweight division outside of one man about to debut there, Terence Crawford.
Spence will begin to make his case as the world’s best 147-pounder on January 20 in Brooklyn, New York, when he takes on former champion Lamont Peterson, a veteran who can fight in different styles and who’s faced some of the best fighters in boxing.
The fight will be Spence’s first defense of the IBF title he wrested from Kell Brook in May, and although Spence is expected to turn back Peterson’s challenge, it’s another worthy test for the 27-year-old Texan.
“The top spot in the sport is really up for grabs now and I’m coming for it,” Spence (22-0, 19 knockouts) said at Tuesday’s media workout in Dallas. “I don’t care who I have to face or where, I’m going to be the last man standing. That’s why we all get into this sport. I’m extremely confident in myself.”
That confidence was on full display in Spence’s last outing, an overseas trek to England to take on then-champion Brook. Spence started slow, but his superior boxing skills took over, and he broke Brook down for the 10th-round stoppage after he shattered the Brit’s orbital bone.
Against Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs), Spence will be taking on another top fighter, one who should make the champ even better after the experience. Peterson dropped a disputed decision to Danny Garcia in 2015 in his last marquee bout, and also owns a victory over Amir Khan, along with losses to Timothy Bradley (wide decision) and Lucas Matthysse (KO 3).
Spence will need to fight opponents like Keith Thurman, and hopefully at some point, Crawford, if he wants to truly grab the mantle as boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter. Until then, turning back a tough, experienced veteran like Peterson (THE RING’s No. 6 welterweight) will help guide Spence to where he wants to be.
“I’m excited to be fighting a guy like Lamont Peterson,” said Spence, THE RING’s No. 8 pound-for-pound fighter.. “I’m not fighting a regular no-name fighter. He’s going to bring the best out of me because he’s a true fighter. It makes the whole experience even better.”
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger