Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Errol Spence Jr. – Here Comes the Next Big Thing in Welterweight Boxing

This fighter has the look of someone who knows what's about to go down.
When I say Errol Spence Jr. will be the next big thing in boxing, people will say I don’t know what I’m talking about. He's too green. He hasn't fought any of the big names.  But if the topic is Errol Spence Jr., they will be wrong. 

He’s 26 years old but has the ring maturity of a fighter of much longer standing. What does this mean?  It means he sees and understands immediately what the other fighter is doing.  There is no waiting period.  There is no ‘feeling-out.’ He knows what to do and immediately gets to doing it. Which is destroying. 

Errol Spence Jr. has a record of 21-0 but he’s knocked out 86% of his opponents. This puts him into the category of a slugger but watch him and you’ll see he’s a lot more than that.  He has a great sense of ring space, of positioning, that thing which boxing commentators call “ring generalship.” 

It is true he has not been rushed along but victories over his last two opponents are instructive.  His punching power comes from both hands in punches both economical and accurate.  He stunned Leonard Bundu with a classic left uppercut (Spence Jr. is a southpaw) and later KOd his man with the same uppercut followed by a hard right hook.

Never in a hurry, Errol Spence Jr. knows that his opponents will fall under an accumulation of blows if they last more than a few rounds.  It is perhaps that he knocks people out too soon that is his greatest vulnerability (if that can even be said to be a weakness b/c who doesn’t want to go home early?)

Some people have said that Errol Spence Jr. looked good only if his opponents stood in front of him.  Enter Chris Algieri.  Whatever may be said of Algieri, he is athletic, hard to hit, comes to win rather than to lay down, and had acquitted himself decently against top talent like Manny Pacquiao.  Spence Jr. looked like that ideal boxer-puncher guy as he stalked Algieri, beat him down with thudding punches, and forced the end of the fight early – something that Pacquiao couldn’t do.

In the same vein, Keith Thurman couldn’t get rid of Leonard Bundu whereas Spence Jr. did – and in bone-crushing style. 

I don’t really adhere to the so-and-so did such-and-such to whatever boxer and therefore one may draw a conclusion about a different fight. It’s more something to talk about rather than a yardstick with which one can gauge fights. Every fighter is different and every fight is different. It’s boxing, reknowned for its dangers and one-punch upsets. 

My point is that Errol Spence Jr. is the real deal, a throwback fighter and legit tough-guy (albeit with an engaging public demeanor for a kid 26 years old).  They are in different weight classes but I’m putting him up there soon to follow my other two favorite ‘new big things in boxing’ – Gennady Golovkin (36-0) and Saul Alvarez (48-1) .   

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