Errol Spence Jr. sent a message to the boxing world on Saturday night. He is a force to be reckoned with.
Spence put on an impressive performance in a dominant win over Lamont Peterson who was brutalized and decimated before the fight was stopped in the eighth round, allowing Spence to retain his welterweight world title for the first time.
Spence (23-0, 20 KOs) was making the first defense of the 147-pound world title he won back in May 2017.
“I want to thank Lamont. A lot guys turned down the fight, and he took like a real warrior, and I commend him for that,” Spence said (h/t ESPN). “My coach [Derrick James] came with a great game plan, and I just followed through with it. Keep my range, keep my composure.
“I still can improve a lot on my defense. I just have to keep perfecting my skills and keep progressing. You’re going to see a better Errol Spence next time I get in the ring.”
Peterson had no answers, and very little defense, for the onslaught of Spence, who picked Peterson apart in a brutal 5th round.
“I could tell Lamont was wobbling before I got him down. It was just a great feeling to put on a strong performance,” Spence said.
The fight was stopped by Peterson’s trainer and father-figure Barry Hunter in the 8th.
“It was really hard [to stop the fight], but if you know Lamont, you know he was not going to give up,” Hunter said. “So I had to stop it. At the end of the day this is my son right here. And there’s nothing more valuable than his well being. If it comes to him or winning, I pick him. I care about him.”
“He was getting the shots on me early. He was the better man tonight,” Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) said. “I always respect Barry’s decision. If he asks me to fight a million people, I will. If he asks me to stop, I will stop. I will never question his decision. I know he has my best interests at heart.”
“I know Lamont — he’s a tough fighter. He’s willing to die in there,” Spence said. “You saw his coach had to stop the fight because he wanted to keep fighting. I didn’t know I would dominate like that. I expected to get the knockout, but this was a great performance. We were facing a great fighter like Lamont Peterson and we did well in there.”
Spence now turns his attention to Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs).
“Everybody knows I’ve been waiting on ‘Sometimes’ Thurman,” Spence said, alluding to Thurman’s “One Time” nickname. “Since I was 15-0 I’ve been calling this guy out, and he keeps making excuses. Let’s get it on.
“I want Keith Thurman. He has two of the belts, and we both have big names. It’s an easy fight to make, and I want it.”