By Huck Allen: Unified welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr alerted his fans on Friday that he’ll be returning to the ring for his next title defense in April after sitting out of the ring for an entire year.
Two potential opponents, Keith Thurman and Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis are said to be in play for the fight with Spence. With that said, Spence could choose to take a tune-up and use the excuse for his recent car accident as a reason for an easier foe. This writer expects Spence to go the easy route, choosing a soft touch in Blair Cobbs next.
Although some would say the washed 34-year-old ‘One Time’ Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) would be the equivalent of a tune-up level opponent, Spence likely won’t fight him because he’s seen as being still harboring bitterness about being passed up by the Florida native earlier in his career when he was begging for the fight.
If Spence chooses to go the tune-up route for April, these are possible options:
- Cody Crowly
- Blair Cobbs
- Gabriel Maestre
- Abel Ramos
- Thulani Mbenge
- Jesus Ramos
- Ivan Golub
- Shakhram Giyasov
Given Spence’s lack of verbal skills in marketing his fights, he needs someone who can carry the weight of the promotion for him when it comes to his opponent.
— Errol Spence (@ErrolSpenceJr) December 30, 2022
Out of all the tune-up level, top 10 contenders Spence can fight, Blair Cobbs is easily the best talker & showman of the bunch. He’s a mediocre fighter with no power, but he’ll get boxing fans interested in a fight with Spence, making them believe it’ll be a competitive fight, but it obviously will be a total mismatch.
That’s what Spence will be looking for with a tune-up to keep him from getting any more wear & tear on him before a possible fight against the aging 36-year-old Terence Crawford in 2023.
Boxing fans don’t want to see Spence fight another ham & egger like the guys he’s been fighting during his career.
Unfortunately, Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) came up empty recently with his attempts to negotiate a fight with WBO welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford for an undisputed fight between the two unbeaten champs at 147.
Spence will turn 33 in March, and he’s got to start fighting better-caliber opposition because he’s getting up in age. Sadly, Spence hasn’t done much in recent years in terms of fighting the guys that the boxing world has wanted to see him fight.
The only fighter that the 2008 U.S Olympian Spence has fought during his ten-year professional career was a washed-up Kell Brook after the British fighter had the living daylights beaten out of him in his previous fight a year earlier in a disastrous fight against IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin in September 2016.
Spence got all he could handle against the depleted Brook, who was coming back from a bad eye injury. One can only wonder what kind of problems Brook would have given Spence had he been 100% for the fight.
Spence fought a lot of soft foes in the last seven years, and it would be nice to see him step up for his next fight, but he’s not going to do that. He’s already made it clear that he wants a tune-up, which is pretty much all he’s been doing during his ten-year career.
Spence’s opposition since 2014
Chris Van Heeden
Phil Lo Greco
Francisco Javier Castro
If you know anything about boxing, you’ll realize that Spence has been well-matched by his management at PBC and put in with a lot of soft touches to keep him busy. As a result, we’ve seen him reject/ignore fights against the guys that could potentially beat him in recent years, like Jaron Boots Ennis, Terence Crawford, and Keith Thurman.