Errol Spence: I’ll solve Peterson puzzle (then clean out 147 lb. division)
By Dan Ambrose: IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) is ready to solve the Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) puzzle this Saturday night and then look to clean out the entire 147 lb. division of the top names. For starters, the names that Spence is interested in beating [after Peterson] are WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman and Danny Garcia.
Spence says he wants Terence Crawford eventually if he beats WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn and then proves himself against some other fighters. Crawford is just starting out in the 147 lb. weight class, and he hasn’t yet done anything in the weight class as of yet.
Spence will be fighting former 2 division world champion Peterson on Showtime Boxing this Saturday night on January 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The start time for the card is at 6:00 p.m. ET on Showtime.
“I know he’s going to be difficult. He’s a guy with fast feet who can come forward. He can basically do it all. I’m going to have to solve the puzzle,” said Spence.
Peterson, 33, has a lot of experience against top guys during his career. Unfortunately for him, he’s been inactive for the last 11 months and he didn’t look so great in his last fight against David Avanesyan last year in February 2017. That’s not the type of performance that Peterson needed for him to be considered as a potential upset opponent for the highly hyped Spence. Peterson is going to need to show the same kinds of skills that he had in his win over Amir Khan 7 years ago for him to have a chance of pulling off n upset of Spence.
Spence wants to look good against Peterson, as he knows a lot of the boxing fans are going to be watching him to evaluate whether he’s the next star of the welterweight division. Thurman is recognized as the top dog at 147 right now, but it’s unclear how much longer he has before he gets beaten. He’s not looking like the same strong fighter he was 2 to 3 years ago. Since no one is giving Peterson a real chance of winning this fight on Saturday, Spence is going to need to make it look easy beating him. He can’t just squeak by in this fight and get the credit that he wants to from the boxing public. because they won’t
As far as the unification fights against the other champions, Spence says he’s not going to hang around waiting for these fights to happen without fighting. He says he’s going to stay active and fight 3 times this year, and continue to stay busy in the future. Spence had to wait 9 months without fighting for his title shot against former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook last year on May 27 in Sheffield, England.
After beating Brook by an 11th round knockout, Spence was out of action for another 8 months before this fight against the 33-year-old Peterson. Spence fought just 1 time in 2018 and 2 times in 2016. It goes without saying that Spence has not been keep busy by his management for the last 2 years of his career. That’s one of the reasons Spence isn’t more popular than he is now. The other reason is Spence hasn’t been put in with high profile opponents for his popularity to increase substantially.
“I’m not going to wait around for unification fights, I want to fight three times this year and I’ll take on the best opponent who steps into the ring,” said Spence.
We’re going to see if Spence is going to be kept busy or not in 2018. It’s easy for the 27-year-old Spence to say he’s going to be kept busy, but it’s a far different thing for him to actually do it. Thurman is saying the same thing about him being kept busy this year by fighting 3 times, but it would be surprising if he actually does fight that many times in 2018. But it’s easier for Thurman to be inactive than it is Spence because he has 2 world titles at 147 and he’s perceived as the best fighter in the weight class.
There’s less pressure on Thurman to fight a lot of times per year because he’s viewed as the top guy. Spence is the one with something to prove. Some fans think Spence is going to replace Floyd Mayweather Jr. as the best welterweight in the division. He can’t do that if he’s not being kept busy enough and if he can’t get the big fights for him to show he’s that important guy.
Peterson is going to be looking to take Spence’s title on Saturday night. Peterson still has a lot left at 33, and he’s already won world titles in 2 weight classes. Peterson’s performance against Danny Garcia in 2015 was better than Thurman’s performance against him last year in March. Peterson lost the fight to Garcia by a 12 round majority decision, but it was a questionable thing. Peterson finished strong in the last 6 rounds of the fight in walking him down and getting the better of exhausted Garcia, who couldn’t deal with the pressure and body shots he was landing.