By Ian S Palmer
Unbeaten southpaw Errol Spence Jr. of Long Island, New York will be defending his IBF World Welterweight Title for the first time this Saturday, January 20th when he faces former junior welterweight and welterweight champ Lamont Peterson of Washington D.C. The 12-round bout from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, can be seen live in the USA on Showtime while fans in the UK and Ireland can catch it on BoxNation. Canadians fans can see it on tape delay the next day at 12:30 ET on TSN2. Spence won the title in his last bout in May when he stopped former champion Kell Brook in England in the 11th round. Peterson last fought in February of 2017 when he beat David Avanesyan by 12-round unanimous decision.
The 28-year-old year-old Spence will enter the ring with a perfect record of 22-0 along with 19 Kos. He stepped up in class when meeting Chris Algieri in April of 2016 and then by meeting Brook after previously beating opponents such as Phil Lo Greco, Chris van Heerden, Samuel Vargas and Alejandro Barrera. Spence has boxed 88 rounds since turning pro in 2012, but also has a lot of amateur experience as he competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
Spence isn’t that tall as he stands just over 5-feet-9-inches and has a 72-inch reach He has very good speed and power and enters the fight with a highly-impressive knockout ratio of 86 per cent despite not being regarded as a one-punch knockout artist. However, he’s now won nine straight fights by way of stoppage. Spence has a fine jab and will be trying to establish it before unleashing his power shots against Peterson.
The 33-year-old Peterson won the regular WBA Welterweight Title when be beat David Avanesyan of Russia a year ago, but that belt apparently isn’t on the line this Saturday. Peterson will be climbing through the ropes with a record of 35-3-1 along with 17 Kos. He stands 5-feet-9-inches tall with a 72-inch reach so neither boxer has a reach or height advantage. He has 276 rounds of experience under his belt since turning pro in 2004.
Peterson isn’t known for his power as his knockout ratio currently stands at 44 per cent. He’s been in the ring against some top-notch boxers such as Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Dierry Jean, Kendall Holt, Timothy Bradley and Victor Ortiz. However, Peterson sometimes struggles against elite fighters. He won a very controversial decision against Khan and later failed a drug test. His losses came against Bradley, Matthysse and Garcia, with Matthysse stopping him in three rounds in May, 2013.
His draw was a 10-round affair against Victor Ortiz in 2010. Peterson has plenty of pro experience, but perhaps doesn’t have the greatest chin in the division. Being out of the ring for about a year won’t help him either. Peterson’s a determined, fast-paced fighter though who doesn’t mind slugging it out and that’s why he’s been a fan-friendly boxer over the years. He’s a good boxer who has a lot of energy and can produce a high work rate when needed.
Peterson is a fine boxer and can be entertaining when he lets his hands go. He does everything well, but the problem is that the younger Spence does everything just a little bit better than the challenger. This should be a good test for the champion and an exciting fight with Peterson likely having his moments, but look for the speedy Spence to retain his title and unbeaten record.