By Anthony George
Boxing got off to a solid start in 2018 thanks to a dominate performance from one of its promising young stars, Errol Spence Jr. Spence showcased spectacular offensive skills against the respected Lamont Peterson. It was such a performance that generated visceral emotions all over social media. Yes, according to the millions of fans who take to social media, Spence is slice bread, or an overrated hype job not worthy of Harry Greb’s sippy cup.
Of course, neither one of these stances in shrouded with any substance, just rhetoric. As is often the case with social media. The type of rhetoric Spence is generating does have substance, however. What it means is that Spence is good, so good us fans do not know how to respond to it in a sensical manner, so they over react to what they are seeing. Just how great Erol Spence Jr. will be, is going to be determined by his completed resume. Which means when he career is over. All we could do, and should do, is take in his resume on fight at a time.
Spence’ resume up until now is in keeping with how the majority of superior talent is bought up. The highlights are a sensational win over Kell Brook and his thudding of Peterson. His dominate win over Chris Algieri, a guy who, if nothing else, proved that he can go rounds against the best in the world, should also be considered a quality win.
Fighting in January provides Spence with the chance to have a special 2018. At press time, Spence has a fight date in June in his home state of Dallas. A mandatory defense against Carlos Ocampo from Mexico is the odds-on favorite for this June date. Indeed, this fight is not going to get many people excited, but mandatory title defenses are nothing new in boxing.
What boxing fans want to see is Spence take on fellow 147-pound champion Keith Thurman, or the winner of the Welterweight Championship taking place between Jeff Horn and Terence Crawford. The former does not seem to be a reality for 2018, as Thurman has conveyed that a fight with Spence has to wait until 2019. Marinating fights, often way too long, is also nothing new with boxing. One of the few businesses where making the customer wait in agony for what they want is believed to be a smart strategy.
We all want to see Spence vs. Thurman this year and it is frustrating that we probably will not; even though Errol keeps calling out Keith Thurman. Indeed, Thurman is a fantastic fighter who has faced some of the best of his contemporaries, yet the fact that his nickname, “One-Time” is more in keeping with the amount of times he fighters per year, rather than his punching power, as of late, cannot be ignored.
Unless there is a change of philosophy, a Thurman vs. Spence fight is non-starter at this time. That leaves the prospect of Spence facing the winner of Horn vs. Crawford as the most appealing fight left for the IBF champ. If boxing was not what it is, this fight could happen during the last quarter of 2018. However, the politics involved with the different promotion companies the fighters belong to prevents most boxing fans from getting excited about the fruition of such a fight. Not many people think Top Rank Boxing and the Premier Boxing Champions can place nice.
If both dream fights are a no-go for Spence, what does the rest of his 2018 look like? It is all but certain that he will fight his mandatory against Ocampo. Then what? The winner of Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios?
Shawn Porter? Options that will indeed showcase how good Spence is, but fights that will sell the fans short of how special a 2018 could be for the welterweight division. With that said, Errol Spence Jr. has solidified his stature as must-see television for boxing fans regardless of who he fights.
As long as Spence keeps on punching, we will keep on watching.