Bundu says Spence will need to be careful against him
By Dan Ambrose: 41-year-old Leonard Bundu (33-1-2, 12 KOs) will have a really tough time keeping the younger, bigger, and stronger Errol Spence Jr. (20-0, 17 KOs) off of him this Sunday in their IBF welterweight eliminator bout on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC. The two fighters will clash at the Ford Amphitheater in Coney Island, New York.
The start time for the Spence vs. Bundu fight will be at 5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT.
Date of fight: Sunday, August 21
Where to watch Spence vs. Bundu: PBC on NBC.
This should be a good fight for as long as it lasts. Bundu is a tough fighter, but he’s out of his element in this fight. Bundu’s style of fighting is perfect for Spence. Bundu is as well suited for Spence as the late Joe Frazier was suited for a young George Foreman. If you were to create the perfect style for Spence to knockout it would Bundu. He’s literally made to order for Spence in every way imaginable.
Bundu, 5’6 ½”, is not known for his punching power and his only real chance of beating the 26-year-old Spence is by out-pointing him. The talent gap between these two fighters is huge. Bundu’s talent level is about the same as Frankie Gavin, a fighter that Bundu barely beat two years ago by a narrow 12 round split decision. In looking back at that fight, Bundu was stopped in his tracks repeatedly by left hands from Gavin.
The only reason Bundu won was because Gavin didn’t pressure him. He let Bundu lead all night long, and this was enough to impress the judges. Bundu attacked Gavin all night long on the inside and dominated the fight. It’s going to be hard for Bundu to do the same thing against the much more powerful and bigger Spence on Sunday night. Never the less, Bundu seems to have his mind made up that he wants to slug with Spence on the inside and he thinks he’ll get the better of him.
“I know Spence is a young talent and a very accurate puncher but I think he will have to be cautious against me,” said Bundu to fightnews.com.
Bundu doesn’t have anything that will keep Spence from attacking him all night long. Bundu’s punching power is probably less than Spence’s last four opponents Chris Algieri, Alejandro Barrera, Chris Van Heerden and Phl Lo Greco. The only reason why Spence would want to not attack Bundu is if he’s made up his mind that he wants to use his boxing skills. That might prove to be a waste of time for Spence, because Bundu likes to move around the ring, using a lot of feints before coming forward to land his short punches.
Spence can’t allow Bundu to box if he wants to win in a more impressive manner than Keith Thurman did in his fight against Bundu two years ago. Thurman knocked Bundu down in round one, and then chose to box him after getting hit with a shot in round two. Thurman spent the rest of the fight landing single pot shots against the smaller Bundu to win the contest.
“I’ve seen he’s now fighting more on his front foot at close quarters, looking for the KO. It would suit me well, as I also love fighting and countering, provide a good clash for the fans,” said Bundu.
Bundu is a little long in the tooth for him to try and change his fighting style for the Spence fight. The basic problem that Bundu has is his lack of reach. He can’t just stay on the outside and expect to pick the taller and longer armed Spence off from the distance all night long because it won’t work. Bundu will get hit all night long without him being able to land his shots. For that reason, Bundu will need to come right at Spence and look to work on the inside and hope that he can get the better of him. I don’t know if he can hang with a guy like Spence on the inside though, because the difference in punching power between the two fighters is significant to say the least.
What makes Bundu hard to fight is he uses a lot of head movement to avoid taking head shots. He’s like another Frazier in the way he moves his head. This would normally be a problem for a fighter like Spence if he mainly aimed his punches at the heads of his opponents, but that’s not what he does. Spence is a body puncher strictly, and he focuses on taking his opponents apart with body shots first and head shots second. Bundu can move his head around all he wants to on Sunday, but it’s probably not going to prevent him from taking shots.
Spence will be aiming his punches to the body of Bundu, and there’s no way he’ll be able to dodge those shots unless he decides to move around to avoid getting hit. Bundu would then need to fight like featherweight Carl Frampton by moving quickly into punching range each time and hoping to avoid Spence’s body shots while coming forward. I think it’ll be very hard for Bundu to use that method successfully in this fight. Bundu cannot do much if he’s going to be moving all fight long because that’s a self-defeating approach to the fight. The judges won’t score points for Bundu for him avoiding punishment and not making a fight of it. There are some judges that occasionally give rounds to fighters that move constantly, but it’s doubtful that Bundu will be able to win unless he comes to fight on Sunday.
The winner of the Spence vs. Bundu fight will be the IBF mandatory challenger to welterweight champion Kell Brook. It’s unclear how long the IBF will allow Brook to wait before they force him to fight the winner.
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