Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. (22-0,19KO’s) went to the U.K., broke down Kell Brook (36-2,25KO’s), broke his eye socket and took the belt from him in Brooks’ hometown of Sheffield, England in front of 27,000 of Brooks’ own cheering fans. So, in this new landscape of boxing which sees fighters taking long layoffs almost to the point of irrelevancy and shooting themselves in the foot so to speak by not immediately following up on their successes in the ring leaves me with one question. What is next for Errol Spence Jr.?
We have seen this more than a few times over the last decade or so and it seems like it happens more often in the so called “deepest division in boxing” for the last 5 years or so. Boxing fans got behind Danny Garcia (31-4,19KO’s) while he was at Jr. Welterweight fighting and beating the likes of Amir Khan (31-4,19KO’s) and Lucas ‘The Machine’ Matthysse (38-4-1,35KO’s) in their respective primes only to watch him take long layoffs and comeback fights against opposition nobody really needed or wanted to see. He scaled back on quality of opposition, and stayed out so long in between fights that come time to put up or shut up and fight another top champion at Welterweight in Keith Thurman (28-0-1nc,22KO’s), he looked totally one dimensional, got beaten fairly easily over 12 rounds and sincerely seemed baffled over how and why it happened.
Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, who I like very much and have enjoyed watching build his career becoming WBA/WBC Welterweight champion and beating guys like Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia, ‘Showtime’ Shaun Porter and other quality fighters using athleticism, speed, power, and smarts is about to become Keith ‘One Time A Year’ Thurman to me for taking too much time off between fights. A year goes by without his name on the cards and it all but cancels out the progress he makes in building a loyal fan base. This should not happen to a real talent like Thurman with those smarts, the strong ability to speak well for himself and attract attention. After beating Danny Garcia last March we won’t likely see him again until March 2018 and it will probably be in a rematch with Shaun Porter, which he has already shown he can beat and is not a rematch many boxing fans are clamoring for.
So what about Spence Jr.? He came off a pretty long layoff himself to fight Kell Brook but this time it wasn’t entirely his fault because he was the mandatory for Brooks’ IBF title and he didn’t want to lose his first big opportunity to show what he is made of. Hey, he gets a pass there. Now where does Spence go? Will he stay on the sidelines like so many in the Al Haymon stable, waiting around for an eventual matchup with Thurman that could take 2-3 years considering his unwillingness to fight more than once a year? Or, will he return in 4 months or so to take on challenges by a Porter or Garcia and stay on track to go head to head in a unification fight with Thurman? Or, will it be the same old PBC story that sticks us with a match up nobody wants to see him in like an Andre Berto or a Robert Guerrero that just takes T.V. time away from better fighters and matchups leaving us all wanting more but knowing that more isn’t what we are going to get? At the very least can we expect more of the kind of fight we had last Saturday between Spence/Brook which was two quality well matched opponents facing each other? Let’s all hope Spence Jr. pushes his people to keep him busy with meaningful fights so he can become one of the new faces of boxing that will get people excited and talking about boxing again for good reasons like exciting fights between top guys.
Steven “The Bad Guy” McCowan