On Saturday, January 20, 2018, Errol Spence Jr. (23-0, 20 KOs), the defending IBF Welterweight champion, shined in his first title defense against the always tough and game Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs).
While many other fighters shy away from the challenge that is Errol Spence, Peterson stepped in and displayed a tremendous amount of heart despite coming up short.
Spence came out in the opening round and immediately put his jab to work on Peterson. The Washington DC native found success with the right hand early on, but he struggled to defend against an onslaught of calculated combinations to the head and body by Spence.
The momentum never escaped Spence throughout the bout and in the fifth round, Peterson would taste the canvas off of a left hook to the forehead.
Peterson rose to his feet, clearly stunned by the shot, somehow powered through to survive and continue fighting. The following rounds proved to be a lot of the same, with Spence teeing off on Peterson and causing notable damage to his face and certainly his rib cage.
Peterson dug deep and pressed on, displaying an unquestionable amount of resilience, determination and most importantly heart.
Just like his previous nine opponents, Peterson would become victim to an unbearable amount punishment and at the start of the eighth, the Peterson corner had seen enough.
“My coach came with a great game plan and I just followed through with it,” said Spence after the fight. “I know Lamont–he’s a tough fighter. He’s willing to die in there. You saw his coach had to stop the fight because he wanted to keep fighting.”
It was evident that Peterson would have to go out on his shield before calling it quits, but trainer Barry Hunter stepped and made the executive decision. “He was getting the shots on me early. He was the better man tonight,” said Peterson.
Tonight seemed to be another display of why the man known as “The Truth” is one of the most talked about figures in the sport today.
Looking into the future, Spence made it clear that he has his eyes on becoming the undisputed champ at 147. The obvious name out there is Keith Thurman, who Spence has been salivating to battle for some time now.
“I want Keith Thurman. He has two of the belts and we both have big names. It’s an easy fight to make and I want it,” proclaimed a confident Spence. “Everybody knows I’ve been waiting on “Sometimes” Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs). Since I was 15-0 I’ve been calling this guy out and he keeps making excuses. Let’s get it on.”
— Keith Thurman Jr. (@keithfthurmanjr) January 21, 2018
Will Spence get his shot at Thurman this year? Only time will tell, but his performance and statements today were certainly a proclamation of war.