By: Hans Themistode
IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr (24-0, 21 KOs) has been a dominant fighter in his short career. That dominance has led to him being nicknamed the truth. Yet truth be told it has also led to other fighters refusing to step inside the ring with him.
From very early on in his career it was clear that Spence would become a special fighter.In the Olympic Games he was touted as the best fighter there. He began to really make a name for himself with some of the most extraordinary sparring stories ever told. Believe it or not Adrien Broner was once a hot shot prospect who many viewed as an upcoming star. Rumor has it that Spence had Broner extremely hurt in a sparring session.
Say what you want about the personality of Broner but the man has an iron chin. Another story that made its way around the rumor mills is that Spence gave Floyd Mayweather a black eye in their sparring session. Many have came out to rebuke these rumors including Spence himself but several others have in fact said that these rumors are true which have led to a bit of credence behind the stories.
As Spence progressed through his career he looked like your typical great prospect. Place someone in front of him and he would destroy them. That is what a good prospect does. But there was something about Spence that made him a bit different. In 2015 while still building his reputation he called out then WBA Welterweight champion Keith Thurman. Call outs are normal in the sport of boxing but not from a fighter who is mostly known as a prospect.
Thurman didn’t take the bait, and neither did any other champion that he called out. Their reason was logical. Who the hell are you? Spence didn’t complain, instead he just got to work. Knockout after spectacular knockout ensued and the world began to take notice.
In 2017 he knocked out Kell Brook and snagged his IBF title in the process. He then brutally beat down Lamont Peterson in his first defense. Do we really need to say what he did to Carlos Ocampo in their matchup? Exactly, there’s no need. Spence proved to everyone that the hype around him was legit, but he was also becoming an avoided fighter. No longer did fighters not want to fight him because he lacked in name recognition. Now they just did not want to flat out fight him.
That was true until four division champion Mikey Garcia began to chirp in Spence’s direction. No one believed that Mikey actually wanted that fight. He would after all have to come up essentially two weight divisions. Many doubted he even wanted the fight but fast forward a few months later and here we are. What seemed like harmless banter between two fighters quickly turned into a match that has the boxing world flipped on its head.
Make no mistake about it, Spence has the edge at least on paper in power and size but that’s why they fight in the ring and not on paper. You may not think it but Mikey will become Spence’s biggest test. Sure he is coming up in weight but his place among the elite in the boxing world cannot be denied. This is the exact fight that Spence needed. For so long he had been calling out and hunting the very best and seldom getting a response. Now the tables have turned, he has become the hunted.
A win over someone the stature of Mikey Garcia will significantly raise the profile of Spence. For those that believe this will be a walk in the park clearly don’t understand the capabilities of his opponent. This is undoubtedly the biggest fight in Spence’s career. He doesn’t just want to win, he wants to dominate. Come March 16th Errol Spence Jr will show everyone exactly why he was nicknamed the truth.