Errol Spence Jr. – The Six Million Viewer Man
By: Sean Crose
Not only did undefeated welterweight Errol Spence Jr impress in Sunday’s televised battle against Leonard Bundu, he gave boxing a much needed bolt of adrenaline. For this weekend’s bout, which was aired live from Coney Island in Brooklyn, brought in an estimated six million NBC viewers. Needless to say, that’s a whole lot of eyeballs tuning into a boxing match. Sure enough, the Premiere Boxing Champions broadcast broke PBC records and proved that, when situated properly, the sweet science can bring in an impressive viewership – even late on a Sunday afternoon in the doldrums of August.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions
If this is all very good news for boxing – and it is – it’s exceptional news for PBC powerhouse Al Haymon, who arranged to have a star up and comer in Spence Jr appear right after an Olympic broadcast. That sort of lead in can prove to be invaluable, as it may have proved to be on Sunday. Maybe even more telling, however, is word that roughly three quarters of Olympic television viewers stuck around to see Spence take Bundu out in ruthless fashion in the sixth round. Had Spence bored his audience, well, that audience clearly would have changed the channel.
Something here obviously worked. The question now is whether or not it can work again. The truth is that it certainly can, but strategic thinking will have to be in place. Those of a certain age will remember first learning of fighters like Marvin Hagler and Mike Tyson by watching weekend afternoon television. They may not have turned on the t.v. looking for those fights, but once they saw them, those viewers stopped changing the channel. Having good fights/fighters on an afternoon broadcast can be a terrific thing. All of the elements, however, have to come together.
And the entertaining Spence Jr coming on after the US Olympic basketball team got its gold medals proved to be dynamite. Indeed, it may well be Spence who is happiest of all in all of this. For while he’s still considered an up and comer, the talented Texan has arguably now been seen by more people than peers Keith Thurman, Kell Brook and Danny Garcia. That’s saying something. It also means that it will be harder for the division’s top players to simply write the former Olympian off. Whether the biggest names like it or not, Spence has arrived – and it appears he doesn’t aim on going anywhere.
Except, of course, up.
PBC on NBC Results: Spence Stops Bundu and Makes Himself the Mandatory for Kell Brook
By: William Holmes
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) was broadcast live from the Ford Amphitheater from the Coney Island Board in Brooklyn New York. It was a one hour special attraction and was broadcast immediately after the United States gold medal win in Olympic basketball and before the closing ceremonies.
The main event of the night was between 2012 US Olympian Errol Spence Jr. (20-0) and veteran boxer Leonard Bundu (33-1-2) in the welterweight division.
NBC wasted little time in getting right into fighter introductions and right into the fight.
Spence, a southpaw, was noticeably taller and longer than Bundu. He spent most of the first round sticking his jab in the face of Bundu and remained patient. He was able to land some hard hooks to the body, and handled a switch to the southpaw stance by Bundu in the middle of the round well.
Spence stayed steady with his jab in the second round and mixed it up with an occasional lead left hook and cross to the body. Bundu was having difficulty finding his range and had most of his punches blocked when he did get within range.
The clean punching of Spence continued into the third round; though Bundu was able to land a few short overhand lefts and hooks to the body. Spence was in almost complete control by the fourth round and was mixing up his body head combinations well. An uppercut from Spence in the fourth round knocked the mouthpiece of Bundu out of his mouth.
Bundu looked frustrated and a little desperate in the fifth round, but Spence remained calm and in control.
Bundu’s right eye was slightly swollen at the start of the sixth round and Spence picked up the pressure and aggressiveness and ripped some hard hooks into the body of Bundu. Spence scored the first knockdown of the night with an uppercut to the body on Bundu by the ropes that sent him crashing backwards. Bundu got back to his feet but was crumpled over backwards by Spence with a vicious combination that had Bundu on the mat awkwardly leaning backwards on his right leg.
The referee waived off the fight at 2:06 of the sixth round giving Errol Spence Jr. another knockout victory.
Errol Spence Jr. is now the mandatory challenger for the IBF Welterweight title, which is currently held by Kell Brook.
PBC on NBC Preview: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Leonard Bundu
By: William Holmes
On Sunday afternoon, at 5:00 PM EST, Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will broadcast a daytime event live on NBC from the Ford Amphitheater at the Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn, New York.
Only one bout is scheduled to be televised on Sunday and it will be between former United States Olympian Errol Spence Jr. and Italian contender Leonard Bundu. They will be competing in an IBF Welterweight Title eliminator bout.
Prospects Claudio Marrero and Heather “The Heat” Hardy will be competing on the undercard will have a chance at fighting on the televised portion of the NBC card if the Spence bout is over quickly. Heather Hardy will have the toughest test of her career when she faces fellow undefeated boxer Shelly Vincent.
Spence, who is perhaps the most famous United States Olympian boxer from 2012, will be fighting before the start of the closing ceremonies for the 2016 Rio Olympics and on the same network that will be broadcasting it.
The following is a preview for the bout between Errol Spence Jr. and Leonard Bundu.
Errol Spence Jr. (20-0) vs. Leonard Bundu (33-1-2); IBF Welterweight Eliminator Bout
Many pundits consider Leonard Bundu to be the toughest opponent that Errol Spence Jr. has faced at this point of his career.
At first glance that may appear to be true. Bundu, like Spence, competed in the Olympics and was successful on the national and international stage in the amateurs. Bundu was born in Sierra Leone but represented Italy in the 2000 Summer Olympics. Spence represented the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Both failed to medal.
However, the similarities end there.
The biggest difference between the two opponents is age. Bundu is fifteen years older than Spence and is past his prime at the age of forty one. Bundu will also be giving up about three inches in reach and three inches in height when he steps into the ring.
Bundu also has only competed once in 2015 and once in 2016, while Spence fought once in 2016 and four times in 2015. Spence has clearly been the more active fighter.
Spence has seventeen knockouts on his record for a high stoppage ratio of 85%. Bundu has only stopped twelve of his opponents, and has five less stoppage victories despite having sixteen more fights.
Spence has been in the ring with increasingly difficult opposition. He beat the brakes off of Chris Algieri and was able to stop him while Manny Pacquiao was unable to do so. He has also defeated the likes of Chris Van Heerden, the sparring opponent of UFC star Connor McGregor, Phil Lo Greco, Alejandro Barrera, and Ronald Cruz.
Bundu stepped up in competition to face the elite of the welterweight division when he faced Keith Thurman, but he lost to him by decision. He has defeated the likes of Frankie Gavin, Lee Purdy, and Daniele Petrucci.
Bundu is a good fight for Spence at this stage of his career and has a solid chin. He should be able to give Spence some rounds and an opportunity for Spence to showcase his skills in front of a nationally televised audience.
But, Bundu has little to no chance of defeating one of the most prized prospects in the United States on Sunday afternoon. Bundu can survive the whole bout, but will take a beating in the process.