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Jermell Charlo: Errol Spence is the strongest at 147

Image: Jermell Charlo: Errol Spence is the strongest at 147

By Dan Ambrose: Jermell Charlo was very impressed with the performance by Errol Spence Jr. (23-0, 20 KOs) last Saturday night in his 7th round demolition job against former 2 division world champion Lamont ‘Havoc’ Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) in front of 12,107 fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Charlo rates Spence as the strongest fighter at 147 today. Charlo, who holds the WBC junior middleweight title, spars with Spence. The two share the same trainer, and they like to spar. Spence being able to spar with the 6-foot Charlo has got to be helpful for him in dealing with the top 147 pound fighters like Peterson. Last year, Spence defeated IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook by an 11th round knockout to become the IBF 147 lb. champion.

Peterson was knocked down in round 5. Spence landed a shot that caught Peterson while he was backing up, and it knocked him on his backside. Peterson wasn’t hurt badly. It was more of a case of him taking too many consecutive shots for him to keep his footing.

Jermell Charlo predicted that Spence would knockout Peterson, 33, within 4 rounds last night on Showtime Championship Boxing. Charlo faults the referee Harvey Dock for him not stopping the fight before the 7th, as Peterson was not competitive and he was taking a lot of heavy artillery from Spence without throwing anything back. Charlo says he would have liked to see Peterson move around the ring more, as he was too stationary in the fight. However, even if Peterson had moved, it wouldn’t have done much to keep him in the fight. Spence was simply too strong for the 33-year-old Peterson last night. The only thing that Peterson would have accomplished by moving would have been to delay the inevitable. Spence, 27, would have gotten to Peterson sooner or later and knocked him out just the same.

“Errol did an awesome job. He’s the strongest 147 pounder,” said Jermell Charlo to “I said 4 and it was 6th. The ref was tripping. Boxing has got to stay safe. I would have had him [Peterson] box first, move around the ring. That was a bad strategy. He could have moved more. He didn’t use his feet, and we know Lamont can use his feet. Therefore, Errol did what he could do. At 147, Errol did his thing,” said Charlo.

In truth, Peterson never really established himself as one of the major players at 147 after moving up from 140. It’s good that Spence destroyed Peterson, but he didn’t beat one of the best fighters in the weight class. Before Saturday’s contest, Peterson had only been in the 147 pound weight class for his last 3 fights against Danny Garcia, who he lost to in April 2015, Felix Diaz and David Avanesyan.

Peterson’s win over Diaz in October 2015 was a razor thin victory, and somewhat controversial. While some boxing fans may argue that Peterson did enough to get the win over the short 5’5” Felix Diaz, the fact that he had to really battle hard for the win told you all you needed to know about his limitations at 147. Peterson never really proved himself at 147 by beating any of the good fighters before facing Spence last Saturday night.

Peterson’s trainer Barry Hunter thought that he took too much punishment from Spence in the early part of the fight, and he didn’t want to leave him out there needlessly taking a beating for no good reason. Peterson wasn’t able to land enough punches last night against Spence in any of the rounds for the fight to become competitive. Hunter gave Peterson the benefit of the doubt by allowing him to stay out there in the 6th and 7th rounds after he’d been hammered in round 5.

“I thought we took too much damage early in the fight and we got too far behind,” Peterson’s trainer Barry Hunter said after the fight. ”If he never fight another day in his life it’s OK by me.”

Hunter wanted Peterson to use his jab more. He was telling him between rounds to jab, but it didn’t matter. Spence had the reach to get to Peterson no matter what he tried to do. Peterson’s jabs were never going to hold a fighter like Spence off of him.

“He looked good. He fought a very tough guy. He was able to keep coming, keep pressuring and do what he gotta do to be successful,” said Spence’s trainer Derrick James.

Spence had the perfect opponent in front of him last night in Peterson, who didn’t have the mobility, speed or the ability to counter like some of the better fighters in the 147 lb. weight class like Terence Crawford, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Peterson was always there directly in front of Spence, making it easy for him to connect with his big power shots. Peterson handicapped himself by not letting his hands go in the way he needed to for him to have a chance of winning.

”I want Canelo to move back down,” said Charlo in talking about Saul Canelo Alvarez. ”I want Golden Boy to pull out the checkbook. I want whoever is going to pay me, and I’m going to beat them. I’m not here for no check. My brother [Jermall Charlo] is going in March. Expect a knockout win for him. We a force to be reckoned with. We a forced to be respected,” said Jermell.

Jermell Charlo is hoping that Canelo Alvarez will move back down to 154. While that may seem a little hard to picture happening right now after his 12 round draw against Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin last September, it’s quite possible we could see that move in the future from the redheaded star. If Canelo loses badly to Golovkin in their May 5 rematch, and if he gets beaten eventually by Jermall Charlo, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Billy Joe Saunders or Daniel Jacobs, I think he’ll see the writing on the wall and recognize that he simply doesn’t have the size to compete at the highest levels at 160. Once Canelo comes to terms with the fact that he’s not big enough to be a world champion at middleweight, he’ll move back down to 154 or go back to his specially created 155 catch-weight division and drag fighters down from middleweight or drag them up from welterweight or junior middleweight to fight him at that weight.

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