Errol Spence Jr. keeps the pressure on Keith Thurman
It is a universally held belief that IBF welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr., last seen in mini-Marvin Hagler mode, hammering Lamont Peterson to the point where trainer Barry Hunter and Peterson were pondering hanging up the gloves afterward, is a badass.
Most everyone who cares about such things have the 28-year-old Spence in their pound-for-pound Top 10. But fans who don’t agree point to his resume. “Where are the A-grade quality wins?” They ask.
We knew he’d down Peterson; they say.
Kell Brook was diminished by unified middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin; they say.
That’s not all Spence’s fault; I say.
I say elevate him a couple notches on your P4P list now because I guarantee you will later. I say Spence wants to fight all comers, including those folks you say would or maybe could beat him. Like WBA/WBC titleholder Keith Thurman…Spence wants that now. Book it for tomorrow, in the Dallas Walmart parking lot, put up a tent, charge $20 at the door and Spence would fight Thurman. Now, he says it politely; he doesn’t cuss or bloviate or posture. He does it with a mild temperament…but the 23-0 (with 20 knockouts) hitter wants the super-fights.
He made it clear before the Lamont Peterson fight, and for sure after the fight, which unfolded at Barclays Center and on Showtime.
“Thurman says he’s a bigger puncher than these guys but when’s the last time he had a knockout?” Spence asked rhetorically. “The pedigree of opponent is raised and he’s not getting the knockout.” Leonard Bundu, Robert Guerrero, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia all made it to the final bell against “One Time,” in fact…
“He was ‘One Time’ when he was fighting lower-caliber fighters but now he’s not getting the knockouts,” Spence said. Then, quite agreeably, the Texan said he’s fine with Thurman having one rust-shedder…but then he needs to step to the line against Spence. “A tune-up fight in March/April and then we can fight at the end of the year.”
At the post-fight presser, trainer Derrick James put pressure on Thurman, saying the Floridian, getting an allowance from some for being a newlywed, shouldn’t be allowed to kick the can down the road. Fans pushed Kell Brook to come back from an eye injury and get in tough again and Thurman should be pushed to do the same, he said.
We and all in attendance were straining to figure when we’d see Spence next and against whom. Amir Khan was mentioned and Spence grinned. Message was clear: Khan should not want a taste of these leather launchers. The classy Texan didn’t weigh in; he just let his grin speak volumes.
He was asked about building his brand when he doesn’t stir the pot. “Sugar Ray Leonard didn’t talk trash either,” he noted.
“All he’s gotta do is keep beating people’s asses like he’s been doing. You don’t have to play the fool,” promoter Lou DiBella said. “It’s happenin’!”
“Right now, just thinking of a homecoming, I’m thinking of going home and fighting in Dallas, my next fight, so hopefully we can make that happen,” Spence said, casually, face not marked with a single nick, less than an hour after he finished Peterson.
My three cents: Indeed it is happenin’. The Spence train has barreled at us. It’s in the train station; get on board now. And yes, let’s keep that pressure on the powers that be; don’t let excessive marination come into play. Let’s see Spence versus Thurman as soon as possible. As Spence headed to the exit, I asked him whom he’d maybe like for that Dallas homecoming. How about Shawn Porter? He didn’t grab the bait. “Everybody waitin’ on Keith,” he said, proving that not only can he be a persistent sort in the ring, he can stay focused and hammer his message home outside the ring as well.
Follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.
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