2012 U.S Olympian Errol Spence Jr. has been looking more and more like boxing’s hottest prospect with every outing. After his most recent performance however, the question must be asked – How long more will he remain a mere prospect?
Last Saturday night Spence obliterated Phil Lo Greco in 3 painfully one sided rounds. The slaughter occurred on the undercard of the big Shawn Porter vs Adrien Broner show. The 25 year old southpaw looked sensational in stopping the once beaten Canadian. The quality of this showing was made even more impressive by the fact that he had to deal with a last minute change of opponent.
Spence had originally been scheduled to face dangerous puncher Roberto Garcia. The Mexican born fighter was forced to pull out only days before the show, citing personal reasons. It is not the first time Garcia, who has suffered much personal torment in his life, has pulled out of a fight in recent times. The withdrawal left promoters with headaches, and Spence in…well, suspense.
The young welterweight prospect only found out officially on Thursday, two days before the fight, that Lo Greco would be his opponent. This would likely have impacted lesser athletes, as Lo Greco’s sole defeat had come to one of the main event fighters. On that occasion “The Italian Sensation” had extended former title holder Shawn Porter the full ten round distance. None of this seemed to have any effect whatsoever on Spence, as he displayed the professionalism of someone with far more than 16 previous outings, whilst slicing a game fighter to ribbons.
The way in which Spence dismantled his most recent opponent suggests it is time for the young man, anointed “The Truth” by his handlers, to prove that his moniker is no misnomer.
Thus far Spence has been matched against standard prospect fodder. The reality is though that Spence is no standard prospect. He is more than ready to step up to the next level and begin fighting legitimate contenders. To be fair to Spence’s team, original opponent Roberto Garcia would have been a step in the right direction. The hope is that, despite the Garcia withdrawal this time around, they will continue to move Spence along at a pace that befits someone of his marvelous ability.
There are already those that will assert that Spence is good enough to challenge anybody out there. One of those people is Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather has had plenty of experience training with Spence, having utilized him as a sparring partner in the run up to his fight with Robert Guerrero. At that point Spence was still very much a novice professional but Floyd told the Ring Magazine’s website that the youngster was already capable of giving him “really good work”. Floyd, whose adviser Al Haymon manages Spence, also told the Ring that he feels Spence’s next bout should be against highly rated young contender Keith Thurman.
Thurman is highly regarded enough that he has been talked about as a potential Mayweather opponent by fans and media alike. It would be a significant and sudden jump in class but Spence too believes he is ready. “I’m not the guy to shy away from anybody. If it gets brought to the table I’m making it.”
Spence’s hands speed and all around skill set certainly seem good enough to trouble the more battle tested Thurman. It is a fight that, for now at least, Thurman might see as a step backward. His most recent win came against former Mayweather victim and multiple weight title holder Robert Guerrero. Then again, his next opponent is penciled in as the fading Luis Collazo. Either way, if Spence can add the name of a lower top ten contender to his ledger next time out, that fight might become a real possibility and one that could pave the way to superstardom for the winner.