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Spence states case for being best welterweight with Peterson TKO, wants Thurman showdown to prove it

Errol Spence was relentless and technically brilliant during his systematic breakdown of Lamont Peterson. Photo / @ShowtimeBoxing




20
Jan

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – There came a moment late in the fourth round of Errol Spence Jr.’s IBF welterweight title defense against Lamont Peterson when it became obvious how this one would end.

With about 15 seconds to go in what had been a competitive round, Peterson, a 15-1 underdog with his back against the ropes, fired a right that caught Spence between punches and flush on the face. He could not have hoped to hit his man any better.

But instead of seeing his man fall to the canvas, or, in fact, show even a flicker of reaction on his expressionless face, Peterson’s shot was met with massive retaliation from Spence, who answered with a right-left of his own.

Certainly Peterson, who grew up homeless on the streets of Washington, D.C., has been in tougher spots than that, but in the moment, where he was, was not a good place to be. At that point, it became obvious that for Peterson, being in the ring with Errol Spence on this night was a classic case of wrong place, wrong time.

Peterson hit the canvas in Round 5. Photo / @ShowtimeBoxing

That was the beginning of the end, and unfortunately for Peterson, it was a long, painful ride home. Going about his business like a surgeon rather than a butcher, the immensely talented, and unnaturally poised Spence dropped Peterson in the fifth and battered him in the sixth and seventh until finally, mercifully, Peterson’s trainer, Barry Hunter, asked for the bout to be stopped as the bell sounded for round eight.

“I always respect Barry’s decision,’’ Peterson said. “If he asks me to fight a million people, I will. If he asks me to stop. I will stop. I will never question his decision. I know he has my best interests at heart.’’

“It was really hard, but if you know Lamont, you know he was not going to give up,’’ said Hunter, who has been like a surrogate father to Peterson and his brother Anthony since they took up boxing as teenagers. “So I had to stop it. At the end of the day this is my son right here. And there’s nothing more valuable than his well-being. If it comes to him or winning, I pick him. I care about him.’’

It goes into the books officially as a TKO one second into the eighth round, but that hardly does justice to what Spence did to Peterson Saturday night at the Barclays Center.

“I didn’t know I would dominate like that,’’ Spence said. “I expected to get the knockout, but this was a great performance. We were facing a great fighter like Lamont Peterson and we did well in there.’’

Making the first defense of the title he won with an 11th round TKO over Kell Brook last May, Spence was both methodical and relentless in his abuse of Peterson. Working behind a piston-like right jab, Spence kept Peterson at a comfortable distance from the opening bell, occasionally dropping in his left hand to the body. A couple of those lefts strayed low and drew a warning from referee Harvey Dock, but no matter where they landed, they were doing damage.

And Peterson, four days shy of his 34th birthday and in his first fight in 11 months, seemed to have trouble getting untracked for the first two rounds. He finally joined the party in round three, scoring with several left hooks to the body and at least one good one to the head, but they had no discernible effect on Spence, who moved ever forward.

The fourth round was the turning point, when it became obvious that even with his best shot, Peterson could not dent Spence. But even after the fifth-round knockdown, from a left that landed high on Peterson’s head, Spence remained disciplined, which allowed a wobbly Peterson to somehow survive what felt like an endless final two minutes of the round.

Spence (23-0, 20 knockouts) stuck to his game plan in the sixth, pumping his jab, which raised a mouse over Peterson’s left eye. Meanwhile, Spence’s lefts to the head had reduced Peterson’s right eye to a slit.
“I could tell Lamont was wobbling before I got him down. It was just a great feeling to put on a strong performance.’’

Thurman has never seemed enthusiastic about the prospect for facing Spence.

If nothing else, Spence’s performance justified his inclusion among the world’s best pound-for-pound performers, and buttressed his claim of being the world’s best welterweight. The ultimate showdown at 147 pounds, a fight between Spence and Keith Thurman, will have to wait until 2019, and assuming Thurman was watching, perhaps longer than that.

“Everybody knows I’ve been waiting on ‘Sometimes’ Thurman,’’ Spence said. “Since I was 15-0 I’ve been calling this guy out and he keeps making excuses.’’

Absent a Thurman fight, however, the logical next move for Spence would seem to be a fight with Danny Garcia, who suffered his only career loss to Thurman at Barclays last March.

Stephen Espinoza, the general manager of Showtime Sports, told RingTV.com that the U.S. cable network is reserving a June date for Spence with an eye toward Garcia as the opponent, provided the two-division champ defeats Brandon Rios on Feb. 17. Barclays Center is scheduled to host the JUne return of Spence, who remains focused on a unification bout with Thurman.

“I want Keith Thurman,’’ Spence said. “It’s an easy fight to make and I want it.”

But as Lamont Peterson so painfully learned, there’s nothing easy about a fight with Errol Spence.

***

In the semi-final bout, the announced crowd of 12,107 – which appeared considerably smaller — lustily booed the split decision awarded IBF lightweight champ Robert Easter Jr. over Javier Fortuna. It was an an interesting, somewhat sloppy bout between two willing but awkward fights. Easter (21-0, 14KOs) failed to use his significant height and reach edges to his advantage, and had trouble coping with Fortuna’s southpaw style and unpredictable attack. Easter won on two cards (115-112 and 114-113). The third card had Fortuna a 114-113 winner.

  • subzero

    Mr. Editor you did mean 15-0 instead of 15-9 right!

    • Turner Wednesday

      No, Spence is just extremely tall.

  • jebib

    I’m at a loss visualizing any top welterweight beating him. He has screwed up the dynamics of the division. In his absence I see a dance among four or five contenders. Their only relevance now is to be his next opponent.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      maybe, but there;s still a few different styles and better physical attributes to provide him with some tests. A non puncher willing to stand right in front of him was not a blueprint for a test, let alone an upset.

      • philoe bedoe

        I agree, someone with good movement and some pop in their punches will give him a far sterner test.
        Keith Thurman…………

        • Ten Count Toronto

          But he should have made the fight 2 or 3 years ago, instead of dragging it out Canelo-GGG style, the big Thurman doesn’t have Canelo’s youth advantage, he’s actually the one falling behind while Spence gains experience.

    • Dee Money

      I know he hasn’t fought yet at 147, but if Bud at ww is consistently similar to what he has already shown at lighter weights then he is better than last nights version of Spence.

      Now, Spence may still be improving so last night’s version may not be his peak yet, but if they were signed up to fight in a few months I’d favor Bud. Crawford would not be an easy target for Spence to find, he’d pop and move all night to a UD.

      • Stephen M

        Maybe. I think that Brook was a better than anyone Crawford has faced, and Spence gutted it out and beat him in hostile territory. Spence doesn’t go defensive when you hit him, he’s coming back at you. If Crawford can’t evade Spence’s offense it’s going to be a long night for him.

        • Dee Money

          Would be fun, would love to see it play out

        • Andy T

          I agree especially if Bud doesn,t carry his punching power, until he fights at the weight we do not know

  • TMT NYC-DA REAL GHOSTBUSTERS

    Floyd will come out of retirement once more to fight this Spencer fellow and stop his winning streak! Ain’t nobody else good enough to do it.

    • Danny Luciano

      A 41 year old Floyd is not beating Spence. He will get beat down badly.

      • Mark Schoeman

        And Floyd knows this…which is precisely why he’s never going to even breathe Spence (or Thurman’s) name. Age beats us all…

      • WR

        Lol yea that’s what they all say till Floyd schools them

    • ceylon mooney

      right now crawford definitely beats him. a year or two later
      maybe not.

      • Stephen M

        Ya think? I’m not so sure. Spence ate all of Peterson’s punches like candy and just kept coming. If Crawford can’t keep Spence of of him what’s his face going to look like in the seventh round? Dream fight!

        • ceylon mooney

          true that–spence didnt mind gettin hit last night did he? when he went into seek and destroy he walked right thru petersons punches. terminator. that was wild. his stalker mode reminded me of golovkin.

          crawfords got very sophisticated movement, a mean streak, damn good timing and accuracy on his offense. his punches have a lot more sting it seems. spence just too clumsy compared to crawford right now.

          now, i dont see crawford ownin that shit. uh-uh. i dont wanna give that impression.

          spence tightens up his defense and matures a bit (which he will what a frickin powerhouse) and its a different story. hes a little green, and crawford is a freakin artist.

          • Stephen M

            I agree that Crawford is an artist and that Spence is a little green but the guy’s a wrecking ball. Right now, if Crawford carries his power to welter you have to like him to win. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

          • ceylon mooney

            well, as always, good point.

      • Fist_ti_cuffs

        I love Bud, but we need to see him at 147 first. All of these guys (Garcia, Thurman, Porter, Spence) are much stronger than the guys he’s faced. The sad part is that BA is gonna keep bud fighting against overmatched guys like Horn/Broner/Vargas for the foreseeable future.

  • Charlie U.

    What a smart and heartfelt stoppage by Barry Hunter. Lamont would never quit on his own and Hunter knows that better anyone. The exchange between fighter and trainer before the 8th round was one of the best I’ve seen in awhile. Good stuff.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      I agree about the stoppage. But you have to question the sanity of the game plan to basically stand in front of Spence the whole time and try to …what? Intimidate him with the willingness to take his shots?

      Channeling Evander Holyfield when you have modest power and an average chin was pretty close to suicide.

      Maybe Peterson and his corner knew they no longer had the legs to try boxing on the move for 12 rounds. But in that case they should have gone for broke early, not after 5 rounds of eating those body shots.

      • Fist_ti_cuffs

        He was all wrong from the jump. Lamont fights in the pocket and in order to even compete with Spence at 147 guys will need to use great lateral movement and stand their ground only when necessary. Only a puue boxer will be able to beat him at 147.

        • philoe bedoe

          I agree, that man imo is Thurman or Crawford, providing he can hold a shot at 147…………

        • Ten Count Toronto

          Well yeah no hope in terms of actually winning the match but he might have taken kess of a beating and maybe even made it the distance with the help of Spence’ patience.

    • ceylon mooney

      lamont did a lot better than i said he did. helluva show
      for himself. spence was
      just too much, but lamont showed SERIOUS skilz in there. tight, high guard and counterpunching. however they got the top 10 hes in the space above garcia.

  • Tony Nightstick

    I don’t at all see Thurman beating Spence.

    • Randall Bannister

      Completely agree. His toughest fight at WW is going to be the Brook fight. I had that fight even after six when Spence then took over but I can’t see Thurman hanging with him for that long. I don’t see any point in him fighting Shawn Porter.

      • Andy T

        I totally agree with you
        Spence will grind Porter down in an awful fight IMO

        • ceylon mooney

          thats be a real exciting
          show tho endingnwith porter face
          down.

        • william ellis

          I also think Spence would beat Porter, but both of Porter’s losses were debatable, and no one has really hurt him – I think it would be a good fight.

          • Fist_ti_cuffs

            Adrian popped him pretty good. I’d love to see Porter in there with Spence, even though it’ll be a ugly fight.

          • D. Gambino

            Broner put down Porter so clean…. Probably the best punch Broner has ever thrown.

          • Mauro Hermida

            Thurman wobbled and hurt him at least a couple of times.

          • william ellis

            Fair enough.

      • WR

        Thurman vs Porter was 12 rounds of action it would be a tuff fight..but I could see Thurman hang with Spence all day

      • Mauro Hermida

        I think Brook spent one time too many trying to make weight. He looked done after 6. Crawford will be Spence’s toughest fight. Spence is definitely there to be hit and countered and I could envision Crawford frustrating him.

        • D. Gambino

          I’m still not convinced Crawford’s power will carry up to 147. I need to see Crawford fight a couple guys at 147 before I can properly gauge it. Plus we still don’t know how Crawford’s chin will hold up against a power puncher at 147.

          Right now though – Spence walks Crawford down for stoppage in 9th or 10th round.

        • Randall Bannister

          I completely forgot about Terrance! Whoops, and I call myself a boxing fan……..also, agreed with your other points about Brook and the weight making.

  • Andy T

    I think this was a great tune up fight after Kell Errol now needs to fight Thurman or Garcia
    But will they fight him 🤔

    • Fist_ti_cuffs

      Nope!!

  • Stephen M

    I like both Spence and Peterson. Too bad one guy had to lose. Spence is very impressive. He isn’t super fast and doesn’t have one punch KO power. But is really good at everything and has a great chin and a lot of heart. Great balance and combination punching. He has surprisingly good defense too.

  • Mark Schoeman

    Call it boxing’s version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon:

    Brook/Porter and Garcia/Peterson were 2 fights I personally saw as close enough to go either way…and Spence and Thurman have each faced one half of each fight.

    Thurman clearly one each fight, but allowed Garcia to stick around, while Porter forced his way to stick around. Spence however turned his fights into seek and destroy missions, emphatically beating each.

    Styles make fights and Spence/Thurman is at the top of my dream fight list, a fight I lean Spence but cannot rule out Thurman…but if you’re asking me to rank them, it’s 1) Spence and 2) Thurman.

    • left hook

      How can Thurman be ranked second? I mean Thurman has beaten the better names and has two belts. 1) Thurman and 2)Spence

      • DJFitz34

        I see your point, but lets look at it in the most practical way possible–if this fight gets made, do you think there’s any bookmakers out there that would make Thurman the favorite? Keith seems to have hit a bit of a plateau, which has coincided with his inactivity & injuries over the last few years. He’s still a solid fighter, but I think it’s fair to say his stock has taken a hit recently. His patented “one time” power & killer instinct has been MIA, and it feel like he’s content to out-athletic a guy for 12 rounds in order to get the decision. Spence doesn’t seem to care about globe trotting and indulging in between fights. He pretty much lives the camp lifestyle year round. Pretty rare to see a fighter these days with that throwback mentality and I think it’s what separates him from his Welterweight contemporaries & allows him to keep improving. When the dust settles, it will come down to Spence v Crawford to determine supremacy–I really don’t see anyone else throwing a wrench in that (other than promoters).

        • left hook

          I get your point but to be number1, u need to have beaten the bigger names and not cuz a fighter stays in camp or his KO rate going down or what the bookmakers think. Personally I feel Thurman and Spence can go either way..

      • Fist_ti_cuffs

        I actually like Thurman, but there is no reason for him to fight Vargas, Porter and Garcia before he even considers a Spence fight. The sad part is that I think Porter and Garcia would do the exact same thing.

        • left hook

          Fair point but Porter and Garcia are not easy fights either especially when Thurman is just coming back from an injury.. I wouldn’t advice him to jump into a unification fight with Spence at the moment.

          • Fist_ti_cuffs

            You’re right, but they should both have to step aside for a unification of this stature. As a Thurman fan, I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt for a tuneup or two, but not three as he has stated. He’s gonna need to face his boogieman if he want to be considered anything other than a belt holder.

          • left hook

            True that.

      • philoe bedoe

        I agree……….

      • D. Gambino

        I agree with you Left. Thurman #1 and Spence #2. However, I feel Spence beats Thurman now. Especially after what he did to Brook and Peterson.

        • left hook

          That’s fair enough.

  • romeo adorado

    thurman can’t lose to spence……..if he won’t face him. danny will get destroyed by spence. spence looked so good, he is just making it easier for the top wws to avoid him.

  • Nixtradamus

    Spence is pretty dumb for calling out Thurman, an inferior boxer. He should just keep fighting good fighters 2 or 3 times a year – then he will be the money-maker.

    There is plenty of decent welterweights he can fight: Danny Garcia, Porter, Pacquiao, Vargas, Figueroa, etc.

    He can eventually meet Crawford or even Canelo at 160. Let Thurman (who can’t draw flies) beg for a fight.

    • Left Hook2

      You know the problem…none of those guys would sign to fight him. Thurman was hurt, Porter wanted to get revenge on Thurman rather than get a shot at Spence, Garcia…you think he would step into the ring with Spence?

      • ceylon mooney

        oh man…hed go thru garcia like he did algieri.

        but i thought hed do peterson like that.

      • Nixtradamus

        True. He can exert pressure by signing with a network (hbo, showt8me, ESPN) The network could, in turn, demand certain opponents from promoters who need the network.

        Thurman will not face him, anyway, so no need to call him out.

  • janton

    Spence has that half smile on his face in the middle of the fiercest exchanges. A true sign of a guy that loves what he does for a living 🙂

    • Nixtradamus

      Yes. He seems to enjoy a good fight.

  • giovanni

    Spence has his natural challenge at 154 divison imho
    till then, he’s gonna bully all these smaller guys.
    look at bud crawford

  • Mauro Hermida

    At this point in Petersen’s career, he is a gatekeeper. I think the last time I saw his prime was against Garcia. Since then, he has had his struggles against lesser fighter imo. He just didn’t have the power to keep Spence even honest. On top of that, the move up in weight didn’t increase his pop. If you cant hurt a guy, its curtains. Its not like Lamont was going to stink out the joint either. He is a tough guy who has had a good career, but 147 is a step too far.

  • James Otis

    I like Peterson, always have. He gives an honest effort though his game plan is not always suitable to the style of his opponent. With age, his ability to slide and flow has diminished so options are limited, I get it. I respect the warrior in Peterson and agree with the folks who say he would never quit. So, I guess I was in error when I thought I heard him say to Barry “I’m done” as he stood in the corner between rounds before the stoppage. I can’t blame him. anyone in his spot should have been done 2 rounds earlier. Al won’t let Thurman anywhere near Spence. He’ll feed Garcia to him because that gravy train has pretty much left the station. Angel might not allow it. Porter would be willing. Look for Thurman to fight a light hitting lower top 20 guy or some undefeated Colombian we’ve never heard of for starters, but, he’ll be steered toward Paulie before Spence. I want to see Spence in with somebody of size who can really crack. Need to see how he fares with someone capable of hurting him, if there is such a fighter at welter. Thurman ain’t gonna fight him; at least not in the foreseen future. Crawford is too small for Spence, though he would certainly be willing.