In boxing, at times, your record is probably the best and worst way to argue your current legacy. Those in support will point out the gaudy stats to prove a boxer’s dominance while a detractor can find the flaw in every single opponent faced.
Gennady Golovkin has beaten everyone placed in front of him, but some say he has beaten nobody. Floyd Mayweather Jr. basically picked apart every single person who mattered in or around his weight class, but maybe not all at their respective peaks. Darnell Boone has given tough fights to nearly everyone he has faced, including TKO’ing Adonis Stevenson and knocking down Andre Ward, but has also lost over twenty times.
So every time you hear someone hype up a knockout streak or an undefeated record, you must look at it with a side-eye. Errol Spence Jr., the new IBF welterweight champion of the world, was someone who previously could be looked at with slight suspicion. Sure, he passed the eye test and the talent was clearly there. But when your marquee win is a shot Chris Algieri, you can understand why some were skeptical to anoint Spence Jr.
I’m as big of a believer in Kell Brook, and even though he has suffered two separate broken orbitals in less than ten months, I still hold truth to that. Brook has power, technical ability, skill, a chin and a prominent size advantage over most in the 147 pound ranks. All of those were on display in last weekend’s showdown between the two.
Brook landed some of the most significant shots Spence Jr. has ever faced, including a mini rally in the halfway point of penultimate 10th round that seemed more of a last stand than substantial flurry. Brook was able to impose his size at times, trying to drown Spence Jr. on the inside (who smartly kept attacking the body). He made Spence Jr. miss.
But dammit, did Brook take some shots. He did the same when he went up two weight divisions against Golovkin. The man behind those blows though, was a younger man who has evolved from future potential star to the big time.
Errol Spence Jr. is here to stay. Maybe that 0 won’t be forever, very few things are, but how do you know a fighter is special? When you immediately think of all the other fights that can be made and you almost wait to circle the dates.
A Keith Thurman unification fight needs to happen and it seems like the seeds are being planted to start chasing down that path. However, Thurman is recovering from a recent elbow surgery and will be out for the short-term. Manny Pacquiao is fun to think about, but at this point the money is not there with Errol Spence Jr. to make that fight possible. Same goes for Miguel Cotto. Timothy Bradley’s next step hasn’t been announced yet, but it certainly won’t be facing a terror after a year-plus layoff.
So then you start thinking of the fantasies. A future showdown against Terence Crawford could be one of the best fights in recent boxing history….and that includes about four huge ones we’ve seen in the past few months (and two coming on HBO PPV soon). Could Spence Jr. go up to 154 and beyond? Will Canelo Alvarez be waiting? Hell, could Mikey Garcia rise up to 147? Dare we even suggest Vasyl Lomachenko?
At this point, no one knows really. We might have to see some boring mandatory battles, which the IBF is known to be more than ready to order. Errol Spence Jr. may not be a mainstream name now, but you sure as hell be ready to tune in to what is next.
I know I will.