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Spence vs. Figueroa more exciting than Thurman and Crawford

Image: Spence vs. Figueroa more exciting than Thurman and Crawford

By Jaime Ortega: While most people are stuck trying to push Keith Thurman vs Errol Spence Jr vs Terrence Crawford – I looking also forward to see all these championship fights – they’re other fights I believe would be even more epic and lesser known to the casual fan.

Not a lot of boxers will be calling out Spence or Crawford – lots of people underestimate Thurman, but that is a different story. With the high rise of other talented welterweights like Taras Shelestyuk, Rashidi Ellis, Regis Prograis, and Zhankosh Turarov the welterweight division would absolutely magnify itself 2018-19. The welterweight division is more competitive and diversified than during the Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Many Pacquiao era, this new generation of champions is stylistically better with tons of undefeated young talents.

In 2018, Spence will find it hard to find a top quality opponent willing to risk his pedigree and continue undefeated — boxers trying by all means to raise their stock value, thus earning more money — in what might end as a short night knockout in favor of the “truth” ending the reputation of these new wannabe Mayweather’s. Expect Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia to hide from Spence, while Porter keeps trying to call out Garcia – ducking within ducking an opponent might be laughable but a few prizefighters want to keep their reputation untouched by not fighting tough opponents.

As much as I respect Carlos Ocampo, I don’t think he stands a realistic chance to beat Spence, so I see the tittle defense as a total waste of time for fans. Ocampo will not survive seven rounds against Spence. Like Konstantine Pomononarev is just healthier to avoid Spence, to pass through brutal slaughter. What Spence did to Chris Algeri, he will do with boxers like Pomonarev and Ocampo. Total waste of time.

See, if Spence fights Thurman or Crawford, I highly doubt they will make it a war. Crawford will try to outpoint Spence with his boxing pedigree and try to look for open gaps to land his punches. Thurman akin Crawford will also use his legs to outbox Spence. Unless Thurman becomes “one time” again and turns the fight into a war, he will box Spence for most of the rounds. That plays exactly into Spences’ hands, he wants his opponents to box him. So neither Thurman nor Crawford are likely to be the aggressors facing Spence. So in my opinion, the fans who crave these two fights, might be disappointed with the performance of Thurman and Crawford.

However, I have great news, I believe they are two boxers who will give Spence lots of problems, and I am looking forward to seeing these clashes soon. Two boxers who will die in the ring and really test Spence to the max. I am talking a bloody fight with non-stop action.

One is Jessie Vargas. Yes, Vargas might not seem too many as a threat to Spence, but don’t let the eye deceive you. Saddam Ali was out-boxing Vargas most of the fight, when one small defensive mistake costed his undefeated record a brutal KO. Timothy Bradley was winning the rounds, when in the last minute of the round Vargas cracked a right hand on Bradley’s jaw which had him wobbling in the ring — a punch only Ruslan Provodnikov could only dream of landing when he faced Bradley. The ref saved Bradley in a controversial call against Vargas. It is no wonder that in the last moment Kell Brook’s team mysteriously decided to pull-out from the Vargas deal to instead fight a European bum.

Vargas is a dangerous fight for anyone in the welterweight division, and it will be a hard fight for Spence. Spence has a tendency to push the pace and pressure by bullying his opponents into ring while he unwinds vicious power to break them down. Vargas is exactly like Spence, he thrives in also bullying the opponent and waits to throw his vicious right hand. If Vargas lands the right hand on Spence – and he will – it could change the dynamic of the fight in seconds. Spence would have to play it safe most of the fight and not turn the fight into a brawl because if it turns into a brawl the fight becomes automatically a 50-50. In other words, Spence won’t be the aggressor in a fight with Vargas. Both Spence and Vargas seem to have a great jaw, have power, they’re young and fight hard so it would make the fight even more interesting. Trust me, this is a fight to be made.

Second, Omar Figueroa. Unlike the ducks at 147lbs, Figueroa has no fear whatsoever of Spence. You might as well believe Deontay Wilder fears Vassyl Lomachenko – we obviously know it’s not true –than to imply Figueroa fears Spence. Figueroa said, “He wants to fight Spence in June and wants to grant him redemption.” Joel Diaz his trainer said, “I don’t give a shit if it is Errol Spence…will fight him.” That’s all I need to hear. Figueroa’s style is similar to Spence, they both viciously charge their punches using the jab as bait and do it in close distance. I remember a few years back when one of the trainers at the

Mayweather Gym, told me about Figueroa possibly facing Thurman, “I’ve seen Figueroa fight and he is no joke, he can beat Thurman and any welterweight.”

Figueroa’s career slowed down for a few years mostly due to injuries—his style of boxing is not one friendly to human health. His body recovered from all the injuries last year. A rejuvenated Figueroa fought Robert Guerrero, and completely destroyed him. Tough as nails Guerrero fought Figueroa using Figueroa tactics, and lost very badly. The people who think Guerrero was shot, should also remember, Chris Algeri, Leonard Bundu and Lamont Peterson were shot fighters—definitely not on their prime, and two of them hyped.

Spence vs Figueroa would be one bloody and exciting match. Spence would have to really use his feet and jab to stop Figueroa. His only remedy to stop a ‘phone booth’ boxer with relentless pressure in the ring — and that might not be enough – will be to distance himself from Figueroa. If you watched the series between Sugar Ray Robinson, and Gene Fullmer, you might understand why. Robinson was arguably the best ever, amazing jab and uppercuts, and very hard to stop. On the other hand, Fullmer was a dirty boxer using unconventional punches and clinches to breakdown the pace of his opponents to his advantage — it worked very well and frustrated all his opponents. Fullmer certainly was not pretty to watch, and at times his rabbit punches exceeded the count, but with his style he beat Robinson two times out of four fights, an accomplishment Jake LaMotta never accomplished.

Figueroa doesn’t quite fight like Fullmer, but he does. He creates punches with literally no dimension as Diaz points out, “Figueroa is a silent killer, he catches boxers when they least expect it.” Obviously, Spence doesn’t box like Robinson, but he most definitely won’t play Figueroa’s game if he wants to win.

To end, if you want to see two exciting and dangerous fights where Spence won’t be the aggressor, pair him up with Vargas and Figueroa because Crawford and Thurman might not be as fan friendly as most people hope to expect.

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