Win and be criticized. Max Warren on undefeated welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
Currently, each performance by Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. is seen as a measuring stick for how he compares to Terence “Bud” Crawford.
Several commentators have mentioned that Spence’s recent outing versus “Showtime” Shawn Porter provides evidence that Crawford is better than Spence. Those conclusions are premature, and it makes absolutely no sense to jump off the Errol Spence bandwagon right after he earned a hard-fought decision against the always-determined Porter.
No fighter that has faced Porter has had an easy night. Spence isn’t overrated, but Porter was certainly underestimated heading into the welterweight unification showdown. “Showtime” was marked as a 10-to-1 underdog despite giving several top welterweights difficult fights. Spence vs. Porter was a grueling battle, and perhaps a classic. Porter showed up with more determination than ever seen from him before, and that’s saying something, since Porter always shows up in shape and ready to do whatever it takes to win.
Spence stood his ground, while Porter relentlessly came after him like a whirlwind. Errol’s body punching paid dividends, just like it has in so many of his wins. It was the body work that allowed Spence to finish strong and floor the solid-chinned Porter in the 11th round with a left hook that landed on the chin. Spence took a considerable amount of punishment. Porter would rush inside, throwing barrages of hooks and body punches. Yet, Spence took some of Porter’s punches in order to land the powerful body shots that ended up wearing Porter down by the later rounds.
“The Truth” has never been a fast starter, which was shown in his most recent fight. Ironically, Crawford, the fighter who is always being compared with Spence, doesn’t start quickly either. Spence goes to the body from start-to-finish, and ramps up the activity by the later rounds when it’s time to finish off his opponent. He actually came close to stopping Porter in the 12th, which, again, was a result of his consistent body work throughout the fight.
Spence vs. Porter did not provide any evidence that Spence is inferior to Crawford. Instead, the match demonstrated that Spence can weather the storm by staying in the pocket and trading. “The Truth” isn’t a slippery fighter who eludes virtually every punch coming his way, but that doesn’t mean he’s no match for Crawford. It’s natural for fans to compare fighters that are potential dance partners, but many are too quick to draw the negatives out of a fight where Spence actually displayed very positive attributes.
For some reason, critics rule out the possibility of Spence improving and growing as a result of a tough fight. “The Truth” wasn’t exposed, and he is stiff competition for anybody in or around his weight class. His latest fight was legacy-defining, and the future is bright for Spence.