On Saturday May 27th, IBF World Champion Kell Brook will take on Errol Spence Jr. This blog will not talk about statistics, or records. I am going to focus on what we boxing experts will be saying on Sunday the 28th.
The discussion will be, new IBF World Welterweight Champion Errol Spence Jr. belongs in the rankings for best pound for pound fighters in boxing. Prior to the fight I looked on Ring Magazine and ESPN’s top 10, and Spence Jr. was absent on both lists. I did see where boxing expert, Teddy Atlas list has Spence rated number 10. As usual, Atlas expertise if very aligned with mine. We both, after all have roots in the Cus D-Amato legacy, so seeing similar talent based on boxing technique makes sense.
I have to say I am very impressed with Kell Brook for several reasons. He is a good, not great Welterweight. That said, I admire his confidence, and his willingness to stretch the limits of who he will face. He went up two weight classes to fight Middleweight Champion Gannady Golovkin. He represented himself well, however was knocked out by GGG.
Now Brook is fighting the best Welterweight he possibly could face, in Spence Jr.. Al Hymon is not going to let a Kell Brook – Keith Thurman fight happen at this point. I can’t argue Thurman. before May 27, 2017, being ahead of Spence Jr. in the pound for pound rankings, as I mention above. I do disagree though, as I think Spence Jr. today belongs in the Top 5.
In boxing, like any other sports there are: writers, fans, well educated and experts that talk, write and root for the sport. Most will reason Spence Jr. has not proven himself long enough to be ranked as a top pound for pound fighter. I would ask, then how in the world can Vasyl Lomachenko be in the top 10. His record is 8 wins and 1 loss. I personally agree he is a top 10 boxer, but you cannot put him in the top 10, at 9 fights, and ignore Spence Jr’s. 20 fights. They both belong there.
Spence, 27 years old, is nicknamed “The Truth”. On the 27th of May, The Truth will never be clearer. Spence Jr. is a former 2012 USA Olympic participant, who lost in the quarter finals, as the entire USA men’s team came home without a single medal. He is a southpaw filled with boxing technique, skills and heart.
How does a fighter go from good to great, or great to elite? It is the dominance of a win, the performance on a consistent basis and the flexibility to face multiple styles with a common outcome of a clear victory.
Spence Jr. has been a prospect since he turned professional, yet he has been under the mainstream media radar, until now. I am not one to compare or predict a fight based on common opponents. I can, however access the outcome of fights on similar opponents.
Hall of Famer Aruto Gatti was considered a great fighter, who had many legendary opponents, including Tracy Patterson, Mickey Ward, Oscar De La Hoya, and Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
Gatti always came to fight. The well anticipated bout against Mayeather as called a “brutally one-sided, sixth-round destruction of junior welterweight titlist Arturo Gatti”, by ESPN analyst Dan Rafael. Yes, Mayweather was heavily favored, however the manner in which he took out Gatti, was an indication that Mayweather was an elite fighter and Gatti, only a very good one.
Former champion Chris Algieri was considered as tough as they come. He beat the “Russian Rocky,” Ruslan Provodnikov. He then went 12 rounds against Manny Paquiao, and Amir Khan. Paquiao knocked him down six times, but was unable to stop the always tough Algieri.
When Algieri went up against Spence Jr., last April it was another example of an elite fighter competing against a very good fighter; and the elite fighter outright destroyed him. Spence Jr. took out Algieri in five rounds.
The way Spence Jr. won reminds me so much of the Gatti – Mayweather destruction, and I think we are going to see Spence Jr. dominate the division the way Money did, just a few years ago. Spense throws short and powerful punches. If there was one area for improvement is the head movement after he delivers his punches. It has to move more, or he needs to change his angle, after completing his combinations. I expect him to make that advancement in his career and once he does, we are talking about a Top 5 pound for pound elite fighter. The Truth will come out….. it always does.