There are many undefeated fighters in professional boxing. And though that does indeed make a statement about the phenomenal ability of a fighter, it is not always enough to convince people of the next big thing in boxing. The deciding factor is the style with which the fighter goes about their work.
2015 was the year of TKOs for Errol Spence Jr. In every professional fight he was in last year, the referee stepped in to stop the action inside of the scheduled 12 rounds, before Spence seriously hurt his opponents. Each time the skills of Spence were put on display for all to see. Not just speed, not just reflexes, not just punching power, but the entire package. By many accounts, Errol Spence Jr. is the prospect of the year for 2015.
If you were to go back and study the early professional fights of Floyd Mayweather Jr., you’d be able to clearly see a kind of demolishing power uncharacteristic of fighters at large. That comes from having very few weak points. Boxing has a way of making habit take over, and with the good come the bad. Elite level fighters are able to keep their presence of mind during training and during fight time in order to cover up any chinks in their armor. Mayweather put on such harshly dominating performances early in his professional career because the elements of his fight game dwarfed those of others in every aspect: hand speed, foot speed, predatory instincts and reflexes.
What we are seeing with the developing prospect Errol Spence Jr. just might be the same phenomenon. He is a consummate boxer-puncher. And he has not yet shown a glaring weakness to be taken advantage of. His style is not as flashy as the likes of Mayweather or Adrien Broner, but the increased conservatism makes way for incredible substance over style.
Of Errol Spence Jr.’s 19 professional fights, only three have lasted the full amount of scheduled rounds. The rest ended in technical knockout or knockout. The uncanny ability to score technical knockouts likely comes from Spence’s ferocious body punching. Many times Spence will maneuver an opponent to close quarters in order to throw whip-like punches at an opponent’s ribs, debilitating his ability to throw back or defend himself. And, owing to his extensive amateur boxing pedigree, Errol Spence has pinpoint punching accuracy to boot. That being said, rest assured that his knockouts were premeditated.
2016 will hopefully see the development of Errol Spence into a professional fighter who’s fame aligns with his skill. Sadly, the state of affairs in professional boxing does not guarantee a that a fighter’s skills will leverage proportional notoriety. Spence may be one such example of a fighter whose prowess has far surpassed his fame. This is a shame because fight fans need to see this man fight. But with the new year comes new challenges. And the fact that many boxing pundits have touted Spence as the prospect of the year for 2015 may have the effect of creating that missing notoriety, which in turn will provide an invitation for top talent to seek out fights with him.
As the new year marches on, fans would do themselves well to keep one eye (or both) on this young man’s fledgling career. Many of today’s boxing fans only caught the tail-end of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s professional career and therefore may lack some context as to how he matured the way he did. But at 19 professional fights, Errol Spence Jr.’s career is still relatively new. Now is the time to get in on the ground floor to witness Spence’s career grow.