By: Hans Themistode
IBF champ Errol Spence Jr (25-0, 21 KOs), has spent years trying to get to the elite level. At least in the eyes of the public. For him, he has always been there.
Coming out of the Olympics he was viewed as the best fighter out of the bunch. His future was destined for greatness. So far so good.
When Spence first stepped on the scene back in 2012. He looked like your typical great prospect. He routinely knocked out his opposition and made it look easy each and every time. He essentially did what he was supposed to do. Every prospect comes out of the gates on fire. Well, most of them do.
Spence scored win after win but he didn’t catch the eye of public just yet. Unlike most young fighters, Spence wanted to be thrown into the deep end of the pool. When he reached to roughly 15-0, he began to call out the biggest names associated in the Welterweight division. Most notably Keith Thurman.
Like most big name fighters, they ignored the calling of a fighter trying to make his way up. “You’ve got to work your way up before you can get a fight with me” is what he was routinely told. They were right. Spence hadn’t earned his stripes in order to call the shots.
Not everyone was sold on the talent of Spence either. How could they be? He had done nothing but do exactly what he was supposed to do at this point in his career. Unlike the skeptics, there was one person in particular who knew what Spence would become long before the rest of the world knew.
“He was pushing me and giving me that good work,” said Floyd Mayweather during an interview several years ago referring to a sparring session he recently had with Spence. “He made me want to work hard and tighten up my game. He’s one of the best right now. He’s one of the top guys in boxing. This is a future super star and pay per view star. If you ask me, I think he’s ready for a title fight right now.”
That was nothing more than Floyd being nice to his good friend. That was what many thought. Fast forward several years later and we all realize that Floyd was not joking around. Spence was the real deal all along.
Fights against Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu proved that he was a really good fighter. Knockout wins over Kell Brook and Lamont Peterson to go along with a wide decision victory over Mikey Garcia proved that he was great.
This Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, Spence will have the most significant fight of his career. He’ll be taking on fellow champion, WBC belt holder Shawn Porter. It will be the biggest fight of his career. Not only because of the stern test in which Porter will give him in the ring, but it will also provide Spence with the opportunity to become a unified champion.
If he is successful in his contest this Saturday night, then the flood gates will open. This will be Spence’s second fight on pay per view. If he can not only beat Porter but also prove that he is a star in homes across the world than he will reach another level.
It won’t be easy, but with a win on Saturday night, Errol Spence Jr could become a major star.