Tomorrow night, Errol Spence Jr., viewed by many as the most talented fighter in the welterweight division, will be making the first defense of his IBF belt. His opponent is Lamont Peterson, a fighter who always comes to fight, and never shows up just for a paycheck. It’s a great fight to kick off what is hopefully a great year of boxing.
The fight, taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, will be aired on Showtime. The broadcast begins at 9 pm EST, and will also feature Robert Easter Jr. (20-0) facing off against Javier Fortuna (33-1-1).
After defeating Kell Brook and becoming IBF Welterweight champion in May of 2017, Errol Spence did not fight again for the rest of the year. This was disappointing to many fans, especially the ones who feel he has the potential to be a superstar. Someone with Spence’s talent should be as active as possible, especially coming off the best win of his career.
Despite a non-existent second half of 2017, Spence is starting 2018 out strong. While a fight with Lamont Peterson is not a mega-fight by any means, it is a very good opponent for a first title defense, and Peterson is the type of fighter that can pose obstacles in the ring.
Peterson, a former two-division world titleholder, has a record of 35-3-1. The three losses coming against Timothy Bradley, Lucas Matthysse & Danny Garcia, and the one draw being against Victor Ortiz. All four blemishes are against quality opponents, and some felt he even did enough to earn a win over Garcia. He also has a signature win over Amir Khan.
Spence on the other hand, has a perfect record of 22-0, 19 of which are KO’s. A former Olympian, many felt Spence had the skills and style to be a superstar, through 22 fights as a pro, that appears to be the case. He took a step towards stardom when he faced champion Kell Brook, the toughest test of Spence’s career, and a test Spence passed with flying colors.
Earning an 11th round KO, Spence claimed the IBF title, and also put the entire boxing world on notice. Despite being relatively untested, Spence was able to knockout a top 3 welterweight, quite impressive.
Peterson, however, is by far the second best fighter Spence has faced in his career (second only to Kell Brook). Another impressive victory will look great on his résumé, and will be another step towards being the star many feel he can be.
Peterson is always game. He has always shown up to fight, and has only been knocked out once (by the hands of Lucas Matthysse). Spence himself noted how tough of an opponent he is, stating “He’s (Peterson) always in great shape and has a lot of skills. It might be a dogfight, and that’s what I wanted.”
Peterson knows this is a must-win, especially if he wants to be involved in more high-profile fights. I expect this motivation to be a factor early, with Peterson giving Spence some trouble for the first couple of rounds.
However, Spence’s ruthless body shots will eventually catch up to Peterson and take a toll on him. Around the 6th round or so, Peterson will be gassed, and Spence will be begin unloading devastating combination on Peterson, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
As good as Peterson is, I believe all of the buzz after the fight will be about how great Spence looked, as he will put on another spectacular performance against a tough opponent.
Final Prediction: Spence via TKO round 8.