Errol Spence Jr. discusses best Pacquiao wins, living off the grid and why he doesn’t care for call outs.
Errol Spence Jr. arrives for Sunday’s press conference poised and focused on the day’s press activities. It is the first time the Unified champion and 8-division world champion Manny Pacquiao will appear together to promote their August super fight.
Throughout his boxing journey, he’s succeeding where others have found difficult. Flanked by a harmonious team and strong support system, he maintains the same zen-like calm he’s known for. An inner peace that’s fueled by family, farm animals, and a desire to be an all-time great.
Now his full attention turns toward the fight he’s been pursuing since 2019. An opportunity against Manny Pacquiao, a guaranteed first-ballot Hall-of-Famer who will be remembered as an all-time great, no matter the outcome.
Once the press conference was complete, Errol Spence Jr. chatted with BoxingInsider.com beyond the usual camp and strategy questions. The WBC and IBF unified champion explain how he keeps his training harmonious, Pacquiao’s best wins, why farm life works for him and what he’s learned from his cadre of animals.
BI: Earlier, you were speaking about your father and trainers and how you navigate that. How have you been able to navigate those relationships so well during your career?
ESJ: I feel like a lot of fathers try to take the coach position, and the coach pushes back. For me, I make sure they’re separated. My father might tell me some stuff, and I take what I think is good. My coach might tell me some things I think is good, and if I don’t [think it’s good], I don’t do anything with it. It’s just two separate entities telling me two separate things.
BI: Earlier, I asked you about some of Pacquiao’s best wins. What is a great win for you? A lot of fighters when fights, but what’s a great win, in your opinion?
ESJ: I like to see the execution. I would say a great win for me is Bernard Hopkins versus Tito Trinidad. That was a great win for me.
He basically defeated a country. A lot of people would say that Trinidad was the favorite. Bernard came around and did his thing, perfected his strategy and beat him, and outpointed him.
BI: You look at Barnard, who fought into his 40’s. You’re about to fight a man in his 40’s. Is that a path that you envision for yourself? Do you want that type of trajectory where you are still a killer at 40? Or do you have a cut-off point?
ESJ: If I’m still beating young guys up, yeah, I’ll fight. I think if there comes a time if I get in the ring and somebody is beating me up, that’s not supposed to be beating me up, or I can’t get out of the way of punches, I’m going to retire.
I’m always smart with my finances and stuff like that so I can get out of the sport when I need to. So as long as I keep winning or it’s a close loss to somebody you could lose to, that’s acceptable, but if I’m losing to someone, I have no business losing to, or I get beaten up in sparring, it’s time to hang it up.
BI: This [the fight against Pacquiao] is a big fight. Lots of big fights don’t happen for whatever reason, even when fighters have the same management. Everyone thinks they know the business of boxing whether they work in it or not. What is the key to making a big fight that the outside doesn’t know?
ESJ: You have to know there’s definitely a lot of politics in boxing. A lot of tug of wars going on and things like that.
The easiest fights to get made are the fights in the same circle. That’s why Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Ugas, Pacquiao, everybody’s mixing it up because everybody’s under the same umbrella.
A lot of guys are not going out. You might get some guys like Matchroom that might be with Top Rank on the business side. It shouldn’t be like that, but there’s a lot of politics in boxing stopping big fights from happening.
BI: When fighters reach your level, some feel like they have to change their whole persona. You’ve maintained your same level-headed personality your entire career. Why has that formula worked for you?
ESJ: It is my mentality. I don’t get caught up in the hype at all. I’m the type of person that after a fight, my whole plan is to disappear. After this fight is over, I’m going unseen for two or three months.
House time, I’m with my kids, and I’m chilling, and I’m not trying to be bothered. I don’t care to be on camera, and I don’t even care to have my name mentioned. When the job calls, it’s time to do it. I’m not trying to be at the forefront of everything.
BI: With that chilling, you have children, farm life, and animals. You have horses. They seem to have brought you to a different level of peace and Zen. How do they help you? What can we learn from animals?
ESJ: One thing, it definitely gives me a lot to do. It keeps me busy, and horses give you peace of mind. I didn’t start riding horses until after my accident.
I moved outside the city lines, the outskirts and got a ranch and didn’t know anything about it. But I learned on the job, got cows and stuff like that. Horses are majestic a little bit. And you can learn a lot from them, especially patience. Something that big and that strong, you have to have patience. They can get spooked real fast and kick or anything.
BI: What was that first time riding a horse like? You are an athlete. Did you jump on the horse fearlessly?
ESJ: I was fearless, but I was still cautious. I jumped on a good, trained horse, so he didn’t do anything. He had a great temperament and stuff like that. But what yeah, I was kind of fearless because, you know, I’m an adventurous person, but it was different from what I used to because I first I was like, I wouldn’t even touch a horse or cow.
BI: Lastly, fans, in general, have a lot of respect for you. There are many factions on social media and fandom, but fans universally enjoy you, no matter who their affiliations. What do you say to those fans?
ESJ: I appreciate everybody’s support. I appreciate everybody letting me have my peace sometimes. I think a lot of people don’t understand I’m a kind of introverted person. So, I need my space.
And then now and then but, you know, I do like when it’s fight time, you know, I do, do I need to be done and do my interviews and stuff like that, but I enjoy my peace of mind. But I appreciate everybody staying with me and supporting me. It’s a great time, and I’m enjoying myself while I’m young and on top.
Manny Pacquiao vs Errol Spence Jr. takes place Saturday, August 21 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. For the full interview, please visit BoxingInsider’s YouTube Channel.
How Will Crawford Effect the Welterweight Division Champions?
By: Ken Hissner
Former WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO Super lightweight champion Terrence “Hunter/Bud” Crawford, 32-0 (23), announced he is moving up to the welterweight division. This is a division packed with talent. How will he effect this division?
Keith “One Time” Thurman, 28-0 (22), of Clearwater, FL, holds both the WBA & the WBC titles and is recognized as the best welterweight in the world. Newly crowned IBF champion Errol Spence, Jr., 22-0 (19), is touted as “the boxer of the future!” WBO champion Jeff Horn, 17-0-1 (11), of Australia, got a “gift decision” over now No. 1 WBO ranked Manny Pacquiao, 59-7-2 (38), of the Philippines and shouldn’t even have a title.
Crawford is still listed as champion by the WBC at Super lightweight. He is also ranked No. 4 in the WBA welterweight rankings. He needs to take a welterweight fight and I think I have just the opponent in Philadelphia’s “The New” Ray Robinson, 25-2 (12) who is ranked in two of the organizations and looking to fight anyone including Garcia who he has been chasing for years.
Thurman upped his record in taking two divisional belts defeating Philadelphia’s Danny “Swift” Garcia, 33-1 (19), by split decision. Both boxers defeated Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero to become welterweight champions. Between Guerrero and Andre Berto they seem to be the “safe fights” to take since they have seen their better days gone by them.
Former IBF Super World Lightweight and WBA Super World Lightweight champion Lamont Peterson, 35-3-1 (17), now out of TN, gets first shot at Spence, Jr.
Peterson gave Garcia all he could handle in their fight. Garcia wouldn’t fight Amir Kahn, 31-4 (19), again who was the No. 1 contender in the WBC so “they allowed” No. 2 Garcia fight No. 6 Guerrero. Go figure! Garcia is No. 2 in both the WBC and WBA.
The WBA has Tewa Kiram, 38-0 (28), of Thailand, their No. 1 contender. Who has he beaten lately? Two fights ago he pulled a Floyd “Money” Mayweather defeating an opponent making his debut.
He’s scheduled to fight Lucas Matthysee, 38-4 (35), in January for the vacant WBA title? I thought Thurman holds that title.
The WBC No. 1 is former champion Shawn Porter, 28-2-1 (17), of Las Vegas, NV, who won the WBC Silver Title in November. He lost to Thurman eighteen months ago and lost his IBF title to Kell Brook. Brook will never be the same after getting brutalized by Gennady “GGG” Golovkin at middleweight.
Who knows maybe Mayweather will come back and fight a “professional” for a change. He feels he has to “protect” his 50-0 record since the WBC light fly champion Chayaphon Moonsri of Thailand just got to 49-0 to equal Rocky Marciano’s record!
Valentin and Santillan Put Undefeated Records on the Line
Valentin and Santillan Put Undefeated Records on the Line
By: James Cullinane
Welterweights Clash July 7 in Tampa for WBO NABO Championship
Undefeated Sammy ‘Hurricane’ Valentin (12- 0; 9 KO) puts his WBO North American Boxing Organization (NABO) Welterweight title on the line when he faces undefeated Giovanni “Gallo de Oro” Santillan (21-0; 11 KO) in the main event of All-Star Boxing’s ‘Red, White and Boom’ boxing card July 7 in Tampa, Florida.
In the final presser before the fight, both fighters appeared relaxed ahead of their contest this Friday. “Each fight has its own challenges and Giovanni is a good fighter,” Valentin replied when asked about facing another undefeated boxer in Santillan. “But we had a good camp and I’m ready.”
“We’ve been training hard for this fight,” Santillan added when asked his thoughts on the matchup. “It’s going to be a great fight.” Santillan, who traveled to Tampa from San Diego, was later asked about fighting away from home and, in light of the Pacquiao/Horn decision less than a week ago that some saw as swayed by the hometown crowd, the possibility of losing a close fight if it goes to the scorecards. “It has to be a convincing win, or a KO,” he matter-of-factly acknowledged.
On paper, this looks like it could be a very good fight. Valentin, from Tampa and rep’d by All-Star Boxing, is coming off an impressive first-round knockout in his last fight in April. He is currently ranked #9 in the WBO’s Top Ten Welterweights. A victory over Santillan would solidify his position as a legitimate contender in, arguably, the most stacked, most exciting division in boxing.
Santillan, rep’d by Thompson Boxing Promotions, won a unanimous decision his last outing in February to keep his ‘goose egg’ and remain undefeated as a professional. With nearly double the fights under his belt, Santillan has the ring experience to present Valentin with his biggest challenge to date. In fact, Box Rec has Santillan positioned higher than Valentin in its ranking system, setting the table for what should be an explosive, post-fourth of July showdown.
In attendance with the fighters at the press conference was WBO President Francisco Valcarcel who also referenced the Pacquiao/Horn fight by pointing out the winner of Friday’s contest stands a good chance of being considered for a fight with new WBO Welterweight Champion Jeff Horn.
“That should be good motivation for both fighters,” he quipped, seated between the two boxers, grasping each by their wrist and eliciting a smile from both.
WBO’s Valcarcel, along with Felix “Tuto” Zabala, Jr. and Ruben DeJesus from All-Star Boxing, Inc., were on hand not only to introduce the fighters to the press, but to make a financial donation to the Children’s Cancer Center located in Tampa and where the press conference was held.
Patty O’Leary, Executive Director of the Children’s Cancer Center, graciously accepted the donation, presented to her by Santillan and Valentin on behalf of
Valcarcel and the WBO family.
“Cancer and boxing have a lot in common,” DeJesus from All-Star Boxing commented. “These fighters give it their all in the ring and that’s what these children are doing everyday in their fight against cancer.”
The WBO also made a donation at the Children’s Cancer Center last August. “They have the will to win,” WBO’s Valcarcel added, stating that the WBO is helping children in over 30 countries around the world with contributions in excess of
Today’s donation was also dedicated to the memory of Luis Perez, the former WBO Ratings Chairman, who lost his own fight against cancer in December, 2016.
On the undercard Friday night, Top Rank prospects and former Olympians, Teofimo Lopez and Antonio Vargas, will both be in action.
Lopez (5 – 0; 5 KO), an aggressive, young lightweight, is gaining a reputation as a knockout artist, winning all five of his professional fights by stoppage. He will face Christian Santibanez (5 – 6; 3 KO) from San Antonio, Texas.
Vargas (4 – 0; 2 KO), a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, will face his most experienced, professional opponent to date when he takes on ring veteran Leonardo Reyes (6 – 13; 2 KO) in a bantamweight matchup.
Filling out the card will be undefeated, Puerto Rican super-bantamweight, Starling Cordero (9 – 0; 4 KO) against Kiun Evans (13 – 3; 7 KO) from Little Rock Arkansas, welterweight Ramon De La Paz (making his professional debut) against McKinley Smith (0 -1) and a cruiserweight bout between Richard Brown (5 – 0; 2 KO) and Jimmy Owensby (4 – 7) of Cut Off, Louisiana.
Female boxer and St. Petersburg native, Noemi ‘La Rebelde’ Bosques (11 – 9 – 3; 2 KO) will also appear in a special attraction bout vs Sonia Osorio (8 – 5 – 1; 1 KO) of Mexico.
In association with Thompson Boxing, the All-Star Boxing, Inc. promoted event will be held at A La Carte Pavilion located at 4050 Dana Shores Dr. Tampa, FL, 33634 (near Tampa International Airport). Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and ticket information is available by calling 813-454-7800.
The main event will also help kick off Telemundo’s “Boxeo” Summer Series, the popular, boxing program on Telemundo Network. For those who cannot attend the fight in person, the Valentin/Santillan fight will be aired live on Telemundo beginning at 11:35pm.
PBC on Fox Preview: Wilder vs. Arreola, Vasquez vs. Diaz
PBC on Fox Preview: Wilder vs. Arreola, Vasquez vs. Diaz
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night in Birmingham, Alabama Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will return to the hometown of Deontay Wilder as he defends his WBC Heavyweight Title against former title challenger Chris Arreola.
A welterweight matchup between Sammy Vasquez and Felix Diaz will open up the telecast.
Fox will televise this heavyweight fight live from the Legacy Arena and the telecast will begin at 8:00 PM.
The following is a preview of both of the televised bouts.
Photo Credit: Chris Farina/Premier Boxing Champions (PBC)
Sammy Vasquez (21-0) vs. Felix Diaz (17-1); Welterweights
Sammy Vasquez served two tours in Iraq for the United States Army and is a fan favorite. He’s been very active the past two years and fought six times in 2014, three times in 2015, and once in 2016. He had a successful amateur career and was able to make it in the semi finals of the 2012 US Olympic Boxing Trials and was the runner up in the 2008 Golden Gloves competition.
His opponent, Felix Diaz, had a more successful amateur career and was a Gold Medal winner in the 2008 Summer Olympics and also competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics for the Dominican Republic.
Both boxers are southpaws. Vasquez will have a five inch height advantage and a four inch reach advantage. He is also two years younger than Diaz.
Diaz has not been anywhere near as active as Vasquez. He fought twice in 2014 and in 2015.
Vasquez has defeated the likes of Aaron Martinez, Jose Lopez, Wale Omotoso, Emmanuel Lartey, James Stevenson, and Juan Rodriguez Jr. Diaz’s only notable victories have come against Emmanuel Lartey by split decision and Gabriel Bracero. Diaz lost his last fight to Lamont Peterson in a close bout.
Vasquez would be wise to use his height and reach advantage and stay on the outside. However, if Diaz is able to work his way in, Vasquez does appear to have an edge in power. He has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Diaz only has eight stoppage victories.
This should be a close fight, and is a competitive matchup for the PBC opener. Vasquez should be considered a slight favorite.
Deontay Wilder (36-0) vs. Chris Arreola (36-4-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
The one thing most fight fans are pretty sure about is that this fight will end in a knockout.
Deontay Wilder has stopped every single one of his opponents except for one, and that was Bermane Stiverne. Arreola has stopped thirty one of his opponents and is also known for his vicious power.
Wilder will have a four inch height advantage and a very large seven inch reach advantage on Saturday night. He is also five years younger than his opponent.
Both boxers fight out of an orthodox stance. Wilder has been the more active of the two, as he fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2014, while Arreola fought once in 2014 and three times in 2015.
Wilder, obviously, has won thirty six fights in a row and has yet to taste defeat. Arreola has gone 2-2-1 in his past five fights and only one once in 2015. His last good win was in 2013 when he defeated Seth Mitchell.
This will be the third time that Wilder has fought for the heavyweight title in Alabama and he has successfully defended his title three times. He hasn’t faced any of the elites in the heavyweight division at this point, but he has defeated the likes of Bermane Stiverne, Artur Szpilka, Johann Duhaupas, Eric Molina, Bermane Stiverne, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Arreola has lost to Bermane Stiverne twice, as well as Tomasz Adamek and Vitali Klitschko. He has defeated the likes of Chazz Witherspoon, Travis Walker, Jameel McCline, Eric Molina, and Seth Mitchell.
Both boxers have had successful amateur careers. Wilder is a bronze medalist in the 2008 Summer Olympics and is a former National Golden Gloves Winner. Arreola was the 2001 National Golden Gloves Champion in the Light Heavyweight division.
Arreola recognizes that father time is working against him and stated, “Deontay is a very tough opponent so I have to come hard this time. This is my third world title shot and I have to make it count. The first time I was too young, the second time I got caught with a shot, but this time I’ll be ready for anything..”
Wilder, as always, is looking for the knockout and stated, “Arreola definitely has a style prone to a knockout. He’s a pressure fighter who will come forward all night. That plays to my style. I love pressure fighters who give me a challenge. They keep me moving and thinking. I love the sweet science and the art to it.”
This would have been a much more interesting fight in Arreola’s prime. It will likely feature some suspenseful moments, but Wilder will likely continue to roll and stop Arreola before the end of the bout.