Errol Spence: I want to be last man standing
By Allan Fox: IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. (22-0, 18 KOs) still feels like he has a chip on his shoulder despite being a world champion now, and he wants to make sure he gets contender Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) out of the way this Saturday so that he can move on to bigger fights against the likes of Keith Thurman and Terence Crawford.
(Photo credit: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME)
Spence still has yet to make his mark in the sport. He hasn’t built up a large fan base outside of the hardcore boxing fans, and he’s arguably not even close to being popular as Floyd Mayweather Jr. was when he was at the same age at 27. Spence hasn’t been put in in the right matches to make him a star. Spence has not been given the chance to show how good he is, and that may continue to be the case in the foreseeable future.
Peterson, 33, is a step down for Spence from his last opponent Kell Brook. Spence went into the lion’s den and stopped Brook in the 11th round in front of his own boxing fans on May 27 last year at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. Even Peterson was impressed with that accomplishment by Spence, as Brook had looked unbeatable while fighting in Sheffield before Spence came in there and beat him.
“This fight means everything to me. I still have a chip on my shoulder. I want to be the last man standing. I want to beat the top fighters in my division. Lamont is the one standing in front of me, so it’s fight time,” said Spence.
Spence isn’t going to get the fight he wants against Keith Thurman in 2018. That match-up, if it happens, will take place in 2019. That’s what Thurman has said. If Thurman decides in 2019 that he wants to make the fight wait until 2020, then Spence won’t have any other choice but to wait unless he wants to vacate his IBF title and get ranked as a contender by the WBA or WBC to force the fight. Even then, Spence would have no guarantee that Thurman would fight him, because he could always vacate to avoid the fight. Don’t put it past Thurman doing that, because he’s shown no interest in making the Spence fight, and he’s not going to be forced to take it.
This is what Spence has to say about the Peterson fight:
“I think it’s going to turn into a war. A lot of people have thought this would be an easy fight for me. It might be a dog fight and that’s what I wanted. He’s the guy who wanted to fight and I said of course. It’s going to be a rugged fight. Later on in the fights, he always gets rough and stands toe-to-toe.”
Most fans believe Spence-Peterson will be a war as long as it lasts, but you never know. Peterson isn’t going to fight Spence’s fight if he thinks it’s going to end badly for him. Peterson will try and do whatever it takes to win the fight. Brook had success against Spence by using an in and out fighting style, and moving around the ring like he did against Gennady Golovkin. Spence was able to neutralize Brook’s tactics by pressuring him and cutting off the ring. Spence might need to do the same thing against Peterson for him to beat him.