Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson on Jan.13
By Allan Fox: Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs) will be out of the ring for the remainder of 2017 until he makes his first defense of his IBF World welterweight title on January 13 against Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) at a still to be determined location.
This is a good first defense for the 2012 U.S Olympian Spence. Peterson, 33, is a former 2 division world champion, who captured the WBA World welterweight title in his last fight against David Avanesyan on February 18 in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision. For whatever reason, Peterson never defended the title. He vacated the WBA belt instead of defending it. That’s kind of disappointing.
It would have been nice to see Peterson try and defend the WBA belt at least once before giving it up, especially given that he only fought once in 2017 and not at all in 2016. Peterson has fought just 1 time in the last 2 years. That’s bad news for a guy that is 33. Peterson should be more active than that, shouldn’t he? Unfortunately, Peterson is not the only one who hasn’t been active.
With Spence, 27, not fighting until January, it means he only has 1 fight to show for him fighting in 2017. That’s obviously a waste of a career for a young fighter that is touted as being the new star in boxing at 147. Fighting just 1 time a year isn’t going to do much for Spence as far as bringing him to the forefront of boxing. Spence will supposedly make $3.5 million for his fight against Peterson, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN. That’s good money for a young champion, but when you factor in that he’s only fighting once in 2017, it’s not as good as money as one would think. If Spence had fought 3 times in 2017, he’d had have done better.
Spence will have too much youth, power and talent for Peterson to deal with. As I mentioned, Spence hasn’t been that active either in 2017, but he was fighting at least 2 times per year before that. Peterson’s career has slowed down with him not getting fights. I suspect that’s going to hurt him when he gets in the ring with Spence and is forced to fight at a fast pace. Peterson used to thrive at fast paced fights, but I don’t think he’ll be able to handle that kind of fighting now given all the time he’s been out of the ring. Moreover, Spence hits too hard for Peterson, and he’ll likely beat him at his own game by wearing him down with body shots.
If Spence wants to get a big fight, he needs to push for a match against Terence Crawford once he takes the WBO welterweight title from Jeff Horn in 2018. That fight is expected to happen at some point in 2018 unless Manny Pacquiao comes back and defeats Horn to recapture his WBO belt. Pacquiao will likely vacate the WBO belt after that rather than face Crawford. The WBO strap will then go to Crawford, and he’ll be in the position to face Spence in a unification fight. I have a feeling that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum won’t hold Crawford back from facing Spence in a unification fight. Arum was never seemed too interested in matching the Top Rank promoted Pacquiao against the likes of Thurman, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter. Those guys aren’t with Top Rank. But maybe Arum will be on board with letting Crawford fight Spence. It’s a great way for Arum to turn Crawford into an overnight star in boxing. If Crawford can beat Spence, which I doubt, it would be the quickest route to making him the star that he’s been hoping he would become.
Spence wants to fight a unification fight against WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman in 2018. It’s very doubt that fight will materialize. Thurman, 28, is likely to make a voluntary defense in his first fight in 2018, and then after that he’ll fight either Shawn Porter or Danny Garcia. Thurman has only once in each of the last 2 years of his career. It might be pushing it for Thurman to fight more than once in 2018. If so, then his tune-up/voluntary defense in the first half of 2018 could very well be his only fight of the year. That would mean that the fights against Porter and Garcia would be kicked into 2019 and 2020 respectively. Hopefully, Thurman can find a way to fight more than 1 time per year; because it means that won’t see a unification fight between him and Spence take place until 2020. That would be a disappointment for boxing fans, as the boxing public wants to see Thurman-Spence right now. It’s not the type of fight needs to be marinated. Thurman isn’t going to increase his own popularity if he’s a ONE TIME per year fighter like he’s been in 2016 and 2017. The same goes for Spence fighting only one time in 2017. These guys need to be way busier. They’re not being seen nearly enough by the casual boxing fans for them to become huge stars.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Spence can become the star in boxing that some people have thought that he would be. 2 years ago it looked like Spence was on his way to becoming the next big thing in the sport, but with him not fighting often now, and not being matched against guys that the fans want to see, I’m not sure that he’s going to become the next star. Peterson is a decent fight, but not a great one. Peterson is just a fighter that was blown out in the not too distant past by Lucas Matthysse in 3 rounds, and then beaten by Danny Garcia after that. Spence isn’t going to make big news beating Peterson. It’s going to take better fights than this for Spence to become a huge star in the sport. Spence needs to beat Crawford, Thurman, Porter, Danny Garcia and Amir Khan. But if all Spence is going to be doing is fighting 1 time per year against aging fighters like Peterson, I have doubts whether he’ll ever realize his potential.