By John J. Raspanti
Some say Errol Spence is the man in the heavily talented welterweight division. He’s undefeated in 22 fights, with 19 knockouts. Spence impressively ventured across the pond last year and stopped Kell Brook to capture the IBF welterweight title. Prior to that, his biggest wins were over Leonard Bunda and Chris Algieri. Good wins, but Bunda and Algieri aren’t exactly all-time greats.
Don’t get me wrong, Spence is talented. His hands are heavy. He stalks and rocks.
Trainer Barry Hunter, whose fighter, Lamont Peterson, will be boxing Spence Jan.20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. assesses Spence’s talents this way:
“When you look at the Spence-Brook fight, early on Brook had a lot of success,” said Hunter in an article last week on www.fightnews.com.
“Down the stretch Errol imposed his will and broke Brook down. I know Errol well and I’ve coached him. He has a strong will. He’s not great in one area, but he’s good in a lot of areas.”
Spence is good, but just how good is the question.
Peterson is also pretty good. He’s a two-division champion, and holder of the WBA welterweight belt. In 38 professional fights, his only losses were to former world champions Timothy Bradley, Lucas Matthysse, and Danny Garcia. Peterson was last seen in the ring 13 months ago winning by unanimous decision over David Avanesyan. His activity since has been limited.
The same goes for Spence.
The 27-year-old fought only once in 2017, his win over Brook, and twice in 2016. His plan is to fight three times in 2018. All good. He’s called out WBA and WBC champion Keith Thurman. During an appearance on The Ringside Boxing Show, Thurman suggested that Spence isn’t ready for him. That’s open to debate as well.
Spence is confident he’ll come out victorious next week.
“Everyone who has seen me fight before knows it won’t be a boring fight,” Spence said during media day. “Even if it’s one-sided, (Spence is listed a 20-1 favorite) it’s always going to action packed. January 20 is going to be a tremendous fight. I’m planning to dominate.”
Will he dominate Peterson? Likely in the opening rounds. Peterson, 33, will use his legs and try to catch Spence with counters. There’s some doubt about Spence’s chin. Peterson is not a big puncher, but he’s a sharp one, and clever. He needs to survive the early rounds and make Spence respect him. Spence is a dynamic body-puncher. Can Peterson take it?
Trainer Hunter thinks so.
“This is a different kind of guy (Peterson) he’s facing,” said Hunter. “Heart is something Lamont is nowhere near short on. I think this (the fight) might start off tactical, and then turn into a war.”
Peterson is loaded with courage, but it won’t be enough to upset Spence. The IBF champ will enter the ring with advantages in reach, age, and power. I see him stopping the gutsy Peterson before round 10.