'The Truth' is out there: Spence Jr vs Peterson review
Shaun Brown gives his assessment of IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr's impressive weekend dissection of Lamont Peterson...
'The Truth' is out there (in the welterweight division). It’s out there in force, dissecting its rivals, surgically removing competitors from the ring after they have succumbed to a mix of body attacks, angles, hooks and the kind of punch variety that only an elite fighter possesses.
Making his third appearance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, ‘The Truth’ aka Errol Spence Jr (now 23-0, 20 KOs) demonstrated on Saturday night why he is within touching distance of becoming top dog in the welterweight division. Such a statement isn’t justified because of the opposition that the IBF champion faced in the maiden defence of his title, rather it was the way that the 28-year-old went about his business against a 33-year-old Lamont Peterson that was so impressive.
Spence did a job on Peterson. Not as spectacular as what South American wrecking machine Lucas Matthysse did to the Washington warrior four years ago in Atlantic City.
No, what Spence did was punch out the chance of an upset win early on. And the body attack, something which the 2012 Olympian is becoming renowned for as much as Gennady Golovkin - one of the most fearsome body punchers in all of boxing - was what got the ball rolling.
Spence’s straight punches to the mid-section were a supporting act before the main event hooks ripped away at Peterson little by little. He was then left to fend off the hooks upstairs that are all part of a Spence repertoire that represents a subtle ruthlessness which is soul destroying for his opponents.
Peterson was brave and incredibly game throughout six rounds before being retired by his trainer Barry Hunter in the seventh. A call that was the right one, and one made out of love and compassion for a man that Hunter cares more for than boxing.
Before the end Spence had been almost silently taunting Peterson. Showing him what was about to happen but not delivering the ferociousness that had set up victory long before. It was a tease, a sign from Spence as though to say: "I can now end this whenever I want".
Beating Lamont Peterson in 2018 doesn’t make you a top tier operator but this victory was the tenth successive fight where Spence had beaten his opponent inside the distance. Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu, for example, were out of there by the fifth and six rounds respectively. That's something that Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao failed to do against Algieri, and Keith Thurman could not achieve against Bundu.
When the time came for Spence to step up last year he travelled across the Atlantic to the U.K. and ensured that then champion Kell Brook was beaten in front of his own fans in Sheffield, outdoors, and inflicted the kind of punishment that added even more miles to the clock of Brook who has admitted that 2018 may be his last year in the sport.
Spence is getting better and better but what we have seen still isn’t the finished article, and that is something that will leave the likes of Keith Thurman - and new addition to the 147lbs ranks Terence Crawford - wary.
They won’t be worried, however. Why should they be? Thurman is number one in the division and proved against Danny Garcia, in last year’s marquee unification, the technique and tenacity that will meet Spence in the middle of the ring and then some.
Crawford proved himself to be a big fish in a small pond at 135 and 140lbs. Now he has competition and the boxing world cannot wait to see him swimming with the sharks in the welterweight seas.
Until they, and the likes of Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter return, the spotlight belongs to Errol Spence Jr.
A fighter and a truth that more and more people are believing in.
A man who has the world at his feet, a superstar in the making and that ain’t no lie.