By Allan Fox: IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs) says he’s hopeful that he can get Danny Garcia or Manny Pacquiao in his next fight. Spence says he wants to fight WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman at the start of 2018, as long as he’s healed up from his elbow surgery that he recently had to repair a problem.
Spence just beat Kell Brook by an 11th round knockout late last month on May 27th in England. Spence came out of the fight relatively unscathed with just a swollen lip. For his part, Brook suffered a fractured left orbital bone and will need surgery and quite a bit of time off before he can resume his boxing career. Spence’s fight with Brook was televised on Showtime Championship Boxing in the States, and it was seen by a lot of fans.
Spence wants to take advantage of his popularity by getting back into the ring as soon as possible in September or October in Dallas, Texas. If Spence’s management is unable to get a big name for his next fight, then he’ll need to take the next best thing by fighting someone that will make it an exciting against him. A puncher would be great for Spence to mix it up with. Shawn Porter would be excellent, but Porter is waiting or his rematch with Keith Thurman. He’s not going to want to risk losing out on the rematch with Thurman by facing spence and potentially getting beaten by him.
“I see myself as a 7,” said Spence to premierboxingchampions.com in talking about his win over Kell Brook. “I came off a 9-month layoff. I feel like I wasn’t at my best. I proved I’m the best fighter in the welterweight division. I’m happy to be coming back in September or October. It looks like a fight in Dallas,” said Spence.
Spence had a hard time adjusting to the speed and accuracy of Brook’s shots when he was on the outside. Brook was getting his shots off first, and connecting with clean punches to the head of Spence. Those shots were winning rounds for Brook in the first 6 rounds. It didn’t look good for Spence heading into the second half of the contest. Spence started to throw more punches and work the body in the second half of the fight. It was then that Brook suffered an injury to his left eye. He also slowed enough for Spence to start catching him with more and more shots.
Spence hasn’t officially proven himself as the best fighter in the 147 pound division with his win over the 31-year-old Brook. That victory was an excellent one for Spence, but it didn’t show whether he can beat the other top fighters in the division. Spence still needs to fight Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, Shawn Porter and Amir Khan in order to prove he’s the best. You can throw in Tim Bradley and Jessie Vargas’ names into the mix as well. Those would be good fights for Spence.
”I’d like to fight Keith Thurman, but right now he’s injured,” said Spence. ”Hopefully, he gets better and he can fight at the beginning of next year. There’s Danny Garcia out there. You have Manny Pacquiao. He has a fight coming up and he has one of the belts. So hopefully one of those three can get in the ring and fight,” said Spence.
Will Danny Garcia or Manny Pacquiao fight Spence
Danny Garcia needs to do something to prove that he belongs in the 147 pound division, because he’s looked very average ever since he moved up to the 147 pound division. Garcia would have nothing to lose by facing Spence, because he won’t take a lot of heat from the boxing world if he gets beaten by him. Garcia is better off moving back down to the 140 pound division, because he’s no longer the dominant fighter he once was at 140. Getting Danny Garcia or Manny Pacquiao to agree to take a risky fight with Spence might be like pulling teeth. Pacquiao already holds the WBO title at welterweight, and he doesn’t have any reason to risk taking another loss. At this point in his career, Pacquiao has become selective in the guys that he faces. His promoter Bob Arum has ideas of the type of guys that he wants him to fight, and Spence’s name hasn’t been mentioned recently by Arum as someone that he’s interested in matching against the 38-year-old Filipino star. Danny lost his last fight to Keith Thurman by a 12 round split decision on March 4th. Garcia fought well in the last 5 rounds, but he’d been outclassed by Thurman in the first 7 rounds, and he wasn’t able to get the ‘W’ despite his late rally. Another loss for Garcia would be bad news for the 29-year-old’s boxing career. Garcia still has unfinished business with Thurman. He needs to try and avenge that loss before he moves on to an arguably more dangerous fighter like Spence. Thurman will either be fighting a rematch with Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter at the tail-end of this year. In the first half of 2018, Thurman will almost surely be fighting Porter or Garcia. It’ll be whichever of the 2 fighters that he doesn’t face in late 2017.
Who can Spence fight next?
Spence’s manager will likely find him someone that is well known enough to increase his profile in the boxing world. That means it’s going to be a contender that the casual boxing fans have heard of. Spence won’t be able to do much if he faces a welterweight that the fans have ever heard of. Carlos Ocampo and Konstantin Ponomarev will be fighting in an IBF 147 pound title eliminator this summer. However, the winner won’t likely be ready to get back inside the ring to fight Spence in September. If Spence fights in October, then it’s possible that the Ponomarev-Ocampo winner will be ready to fight him by that point. It’s hard to picture the winner of the Ponomarev vs. Ocampo fight as a mandatory challenger for Spence, because both guys are flawed badly. Neither of them has much punching power to speak of. The winner of that fight will be like the sacrificial lamb for Spence to slaughter. You can call it more of a voluntary defense than a mandatory defense because those guys are not dangerous fighters. If it’s not the winner of the Ponomarev-Ocampo fight that Spence fights, next then it’ll be someone from Premier Boxing Champions that he winds up facing. There are some decent contenders that Spence can fight like Jose Benavidez or Luis Collazo. Spence already knocked out Chris Van Heerden in the past. He’s currently rated #14 by the IBF.