This All American donnybrook takes place this Saturday, January 20th at Barclays, a shiny new entertainment venue located in what used to be the graffiti covered working class neighborhoods of Brooklyn before New York suits upended the residents for upscale gentrification.
The 28 year old Errol Spense, 22-0, 19 KO is the newest American hotshot in the welter division with high hopes of greatness. The 33 year old Lamont Peterson, 35-3-1, 17 KO has generally been an honorable contender and minor beltholder for this weak American generation of 3rd millennium boxers. While having some good natural physical attributes such as quickness and durability melded with the current negative defensive skills taught to modern American boxers to the exclusion of offensive excellence, he could never enter into the mix of greatness. And like many fighters in the fight game, he was led astray with some bad advice, the worst being that illicit doctor’s prescription for a testosterone implant that led to his unfortunate public moniker of Cheaterson when he failed a drug test.
Sadly, this low key fight seems to be the best fight boxing can put on in January. While a decent fight from a boxing enthusiast point of view due to Peterson’s ability to make Spence work hard for his victory, a true fan might wonder why some bigger fights couldn’t be made in such an open month as the barren January traditionally is?
Well, folks, here it is as the naked truth, there really are no really big all American fights to be made in boxing, and the boxing suits are also loath to go viewing head to head against the NFL Superbowl build up and the NBA regular season.
Spense has already needed to go overseas for his biggest fight where he acquitted himself quite well against long time British contender, Kell Brook, but physically Spense is really tight at the weight and will need to go up to middleweight for a Canelo fight if he wants a really big payday. That shining beacon of hopeful purses is not likely to be hanging around that much longer, maybe 3-4 years, and Canelo certainly doesn’t need Spense to make his money, so good luck to Spense spinning his wheels in what is left of Boxing’s barren landscape. Money Mayweather and the boxing suits sucked out all of what was noble and good about boxing, leaving vast shadows in an empty cavern of what used to be a plethora of hardnosed contenders now defensively shadowboxing each other for the privilege of a fight with what used to be the great champion, now pretend belt holders. Spense holds one of those pretend belts, the IBF.
But for boxing fans in this bitterly cold winter, it’s Spense vs Peterson who will almost certainly be boxing in a negative defensive style to take Spense deep into rounds where he may show some stamina vulnerability. In turn, I would interpret Spense’s ambition and professionalism to show up in top shape with a savvy game plan to highlight both his boxing skills and his formidable power, and more importantly, enhance his boxing media marketability. In just the battle of natural attributes, Spense wins hands down before we ever get into his excellent all around skills shown thus far. I don’t see Peterson going past 6 rounds, and will likely be whacked out by the 4th round in spite of his durability, but maybe early on he could bust up Spense’s eye or break his nose to force Spense to gut out a gritty fight. It happens.
I do hope Peterson puts up a credible fight for as long as he lasts. He may not realize it, but he could well make his best purses as a credible gatekeeper test for up an coming fighters due to the woeful lack of quality boxers these days, but he ain’t doin’ a damn thing to promote fights with that mangled mess of a crow’s nest glued to his face, another reason boxing has been on the decline. Too many modern fighters don’t look and act professional anymore. The best Americans can do for Spense is hope and pray he keeps his head screwed on as he continues his ascent. He is one of the few bright hopes American boxing fans have in these barren depression years of boxing.
Many in the archived boxing annals were the talented American fools succumbing to the temptations of wine, women, and song, and now they have to pass through the gauntlet of suits who determine fight outcomes more than the fighters do these days, so good luck gentlemen. Your futures await you.