Fight night, Saturday, January 20th, 2018. The first big fight of the new year and it didn’t disappoint. Spence was favored to win over an aging Peterson who is now seen as the gatekeeper of the 147 pound division. The gatekeeper, as most know, is the guy that falls just short of winning the title, Peterson had the WBA regular title, but you must beat to show that you are good enough to compete for the title. While Spence already holds a title by beating Kell Brook, a future gatekeeper, he was there that night to remind Peterson of his status in the lofty 147 pound division and he did just that.
The question on my mind was not if Spence was going to win but how he was going to win. You see, Lamont Peterson has only been stopped once before and that was to the hard hitting Argentine, Lucas “la maquina” Matthyse. If Spence wants to show that he is the future of this division, he needed to put an exclamation point on his win, he needed a stoppage. For me, Peterson is a sentimental favorite. He used his boxing skills, heart and courage to beat some very crappy odds and made a life for himself through boxing. He is a good person who probably deserves a huge payday before retiring. Unfortunately for Peterson, being a sentimental favorite doesn’t pay the bills for Spence as he began to systematically breakdown Peterson over 8 rounds of accurate, even machine like precision, scary accurate pinpoint precision that you only see in sharp shooting competitions, as he landed punch after punch while avoiding any major punishment of his own. Spence inflicted punishment on his opponent that at times had Peterson bewildered and stumbling around the ring.
Peterson, determined not fall into gatekeeper status and to his credit, fought back and threw some shots with bad intentions. Landing some decent right hands and left hooks, Peterson looked to try and stave off the younger opponent but it was not to be. In the end it was Spence’s ability to move, give angles, sharp shoot and hit while not getting hit (the recipe to win any fight) that did Peterson in. Hunter, Peterson’s trainer and 2nd in command in the corner that night, decided to throw in the towel as Peterson would not answer the bell for the 8th round.
I did learn something about Spence and it’s that he is definitely a skillful fighter but more than that, I learned that he has superb vision in the ring. He saw all the openings and had the reflexes to take advantage of them. That ability comes with a great deal of confidence in himself, it’s not something that you can teach everyone, only the greats have that ability. There are only a handful of people in boxing right now with that kind of talent, Lomachenko, Mikey Garcia, Canelo Alvarez, Crawford and Spence. These fighter are all 7 tool boxers. They posses power, speed, agility (the ability to create angles and make the other fighter miss), stamina, chins (the ability to take a punch, we all have chins but we all can’t take a punch), courage (sometimes referred to as heart) and vision (the ability to see everything while in fight mode, encompassed in this category would be timing and knowing your distance relative to your ability to connect accurately on your opponent as well as punch selection). The seven tools are what makes you a great fighter.
There are some that come close, Danny Garcia for instance, he lacks hand speed, but has great vision, which was apparent in his win over Amir Khan, who has excellent hand speed but no chin. Spence lacks none of these tools. He is definitely destined for some great fights and is the future of one of the best divisions in boxing. If I had one piece of advice for the young Mr. Spence it would be that not to let his gifted ability over shadow his persona. Ego can be a tricky deceptor that is only really there to humble you. Always be that guy that you were before your first big win, never be the guy that thinks you can’t lose because we all do, there is only one truly undefeated fighter in that ring, not Floyd Mayweather Jr., father time, sometimes accompanied with his wife Karma, will eventually put all egos in check.
With that being said, congratulations to Errol spence Jr. in his victory in what was a great fight against a very good fighter.