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Spence-Bundu brings in HUGE ratings on NBC

Errol Spence Jr


By Allan Fox: Last Sunday’s IBF welterweight title eliminator fight between unbeaten #2 IBF Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs) and Leonard Bundu (33-2-2, 12 KOs) brought in huge ratings on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC. According to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times, the Spence-Bundu fight brought in a rating of 4.6 with about six million having watched it. Those are tremendous numbers for a boxing event.

The fight had an advantage of being televised on free television after Olympic basketball, but it’s still a great sign that that many casual boxing fans stuck around to watch the fight.

(Photo credit: Ryan Greene/Premier Boxing Champions)

Spence, 26, won the fight by a 6th round knockout after dropping the 41-year-old Bundu twice in the sixth round at the Ford Amphitheater in Coney Island, New York. Spence had too much fire power for Bundu to handle in the fight. When Spence finally did start unloading on Bundu in the sixth round, he wilted quickly.

If Spence can keep bringing in huge ratings like this, he could turn into a pay-per-view attraction in the future. A lot of people saw Spence fight, and that tells you something. the boxing fans were interested enough in his fight to tune in and see it despite the fact that he wasn’t facing a big name.

Spence’s promoter Lou Dibella was pretty excited about the fight being televised on NBC, because it gave the unbeaten welterweight a chance to be seen by a lot of fans for the first time. Spence is viewed by many in the boxing world as the replacement for superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr., who retired last September without leaving a successor to his throne.

Middleweight Saul Canelo Alvarez has failed step up to the plate to take the baton from Mayweather. Middleweight Gennady “GGG” Golovkin has won over a lot of fans in the past year with his exciting knockout wins, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to get to the next level to become a huge superstar. It might take a homegrown America like Spence to become the next superstar for the division. Spence fought in the 2012 Olympics for the U.S, and he’s looked sensational since turning pro in 2012. He’s knocked out eight straight opponents, and he looks very hard to beat right now.

The win for Spence against Bundu puts him in a world title fight for the IBF belt. Who Spence will be fighting for the IBF title is still unknown at this point. The current IBF champion Kell “Special K” Brook has bulked up to close to 180 for his fight against Golovkin on September 10. Brook is expected to be knocked out in that fight.

If Brook decides to come back down to the 147lb division to defend his IBF title, he’ll need to lose quite a bit of weight to put him within range of making the weight. He would also likely need to take the fight with Spence off the back of a knockout loss unless his promoter Eddie Hearn is able to persuade the International Boxing Federation to let Brook have a voluntary defense first against a bottom ranked contender.

The IBF might be open to the idea of letting Brook do that, because he recently defended his IBF belt against his mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier last March. At least if the IBF let Brook take a voluntary defense, he would have time to recover from his likely knockout loss to Golovkin, and he wouldn’t be facing a super talented fighter after dropping all the weight that he put on while bulking up for the GGG fight.

“I wasn’t frustrated. I was a little confused,” said Spence after the fight about Bundu. “He was really awkward. He was switching left and right. He has a herky-jerky style when he jumps around. So I went back to using my jab, stabbing him to the body, and I was able to break him down and go for the knockout,” said Spence.

When asked if he made a statement with the victory, Spence said, “Definitely. It’s the same thing as the Chris Algieri fight. I definitely made a statement. Bundu is a tough fighter, and he’s never been stopped before and I was able to knock him out in a dynamic fashion. I’ll be fighting for the IBF title hopefully soon. Once I get the title, I can unify the belts and fight Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, or Jessie Vargas and Manny Pacquiao. I’m looking to be the undisputed world champion at 147. I feel this is the only way you can be the best fighter at 147,” said Spence.

Spence could be fighting before the end of the year against an opponent still to be determined. I’m guessing that Danny Garcia, Thurman, Pacquiao or Jessie Vargas won’t be volunteering to accept a fight against Spence. Those guys are likely going to steer clear of Spence. Spence is managed by the same person as Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be able to fight either of them in a unification match. It would be nice if Spence could fight one of both of them, because it would at least give the boxing fans a chance to show find a successor to Mayweather. I’m just not so sure that Thurman or Garcia wants any part of a fight against Spence.

Thurman wasn’t eager to fight Spence when the fight was offered to him last year. I doubt that anything has changed in that regard after last Sunday’s fight for Spence. Most likely, Spence will be denied a chance to unify the titles if he captures the IBF title. Spence may need to wait a long time before he’s given a chance to fight Garcia and Thurman, because those fighters have a good thing going right now and likely won’t be eager to get in the ring with him.

“I’m going to tell you right now, Errol Spence is a problem,” said Quillin to Fighthub.com. I seen the kid. He’s working harder like the champion I know he was able to be.”


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