Errol Spence to fight in December or January

Image: Errol Spence to fight in December or January

By Jim Dower: Unbeaten IBF welterweight champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs) will be soon be back inside the ring to make his first defense of his IBF crown in either December or January, according to Dan Rafael.

There are 2 possible opponents in the running for Spence’s fight, and those are #5 IBF Luis Collazo (37-7, 20 KOs) and WBA World welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs). It goes without saying that the 33-year-old Peterson would be the ideal choice for Spence, due to him being a world champion rather than just a contender like Collazo. Spence would likely have more problems with the southpaw Collazo, as he’s a big puncher and he has a lot of talent.

Here’s the differences between Peterson and Collazo:

– Power: Collazo

– Experience: Collazo

– Ring IQ: Even

– Style difficulty: Collazo

– Chin: Collazo

I rate Collazo as the much tougher opponent for Spence than Peterson. Collazo is hard to fight because of the wicked hooks that he throws from the inside. If you get caught with one of Collazo’s hooks, you’re going down. Collazo dropped Sammy Vasquez in rounds 3 and 6 in their recent fight on February 2. Peterson has a similar fighting style as Spence, as he likes to stand on the inside and throw body shots. A fight between Spence and Peterson would be an entertaining old school type of fight with both guys trading body shots. I don’t see Peterson lasting too long fighting like that against a puncher like Spence. Collazo would make it interesting due to his punching power.

There aren’t a lot of options for Spence to fight right now. The division is not stacked with talent. Spence would like to fight Thurman or Danny Garcia, but neither of them seem eager to get inside the ring with him. Terence Crawford is on the wrong side of the fence with him being with Top Rank. Spence could one day face Crawford in the future, but that won’t be happening in December or January.

Collazo and Peterson might seem slightly flawed in terms of opponents for Spence’s first defense, but they’re better than most of the guys in the division. There are the upper echelon guys like Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn that might better than Collazo and Peterson. You couldn’t rule them out as having the potential to beat some of those guys.

Spence, 27, recently stopped IBF 147 lb. champion Kell Brook in the 11th round in the British fighter’s own hometown at Bramall Lane Football Ground, in Sheffield, England. Brook suffered an eye during the fight, and ended up taking a knee in rounds 10 and 11th. The fight was stopped in round 11 after Brook chose not to get up after taking a knee to escape punishment from Spence.

The location of Spence’s next fight depends on the date. If Spence fights in December, it’ll bat at the Nassau Coliseum on New York’s Long Island. If he fights in January, it’ll take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Spence was born in Long Island, New York, but he currently lives in Desoto, Texas.

It was predicted a long time ago by this writer that Spence would defend his International Boxing Federation title against Collazo, as he’s managed by the same manager as Spence is in Al Haymon, and he’s fought on Premier Boxing Champions cards in the past. It would be an easy fight to make.

Spence wants to fight WBC/WBA Super World welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman, but he’s out recovering from elbow surgery. He’ll be back in early next year. Thurman will likely defend against Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter next when he does return to action.

Peterson lost to Danny Garcia by a 12 majority decision on April 11, 2015. Peterson has since won his last 2 fights in defeating Felix Diaz and David Avanesyan. Peterson’s 12 round decision win over Avanesyan won him the WBA welterweight regular title. It’s impressive that Peterson was able to win the WBA belt because he was given up on by a lot of boxing fans after his 3rd round knockout loss to Lucas Matthysse on May 18, 2013.

Collazo, 36, is a former WBA welterweight champion. He held the WBA title from 2005 to 2006. Collazo has had a lot of bad breaks during his 17-year-old pro career. He fought well enough to deserve wins over Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto. A lot of people boxing world thought Collazo deserved wins over both of those fighters. Collazo was still an excellent fighter, but his management didn’t put him in the right position to win titles. It’s unfortunate. Collazo had the talent to be a world champion many times over in the last 10 years of his career, but he wasn’t put in the position until recently when he was matched against Thurman in 2015, and he was stopped in the 7th. Collazo hurt Thurman with a body shot in that fight and almost dropped him. Collazo stopped Victory Ortiz in the 2nd round in a huge upset on January 30, 2014. Collazo won his last fight in stopping Sammy Vasquez in the 6th round earlier this year on February 2nd.

Spence is seen by many as the future star of the welterweight division. It’s still unclear whether Spence can become the main guy in the 147 lb. division. For Spence to take the No.1 spot, he’ll need to beat Thurman, Porter and Danny Garcia. WBO champion Jeff Horn and Pacquiao are both with Top Rank, so it’s unlikely that Spence will ever fight any of those guys. Crawford is the one exception of a Top Rank fighter that could mix it up with Spence one of these days due to him having more of an upside than Horn. Pacquiao is pretty much done as far as career goes. He’s definitely not going to be fighting a younger guy like Spence. We could see Spence become the No1 guy at welterweight, but he might outgrow the division long before he gets the chance to prove himself as the main guy. Spence is a very big welterweight. He walks around in the 170s, and he looks solid at that weight.