Regardless of the opponent, in life, there are victories and defeats.
But usually, before a victory, there are countless, unseen failings. Success requires ample effort, and often, plenty of prerequisite setbacks. The things that bring us joy are sometimes easily within our grasp, whether through preparation or luck. But sometimes you can take every conceivable step to ensure your best chances of the desired outcome and still somehow come up short.
Imagine poring over every step of a complex problem, implementing the best solutions for each, and still somehow coming up with the wrong answer. Having taken every step you know how and still not making it to the destination can be downright disheartening. It can really make you feel like you should change directions and pick something a little easier.
But for some, when it’s hardest to believe in yourself is when it’s most important to do so.
Former welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. has already overcome significant boundaries on his arduous journey to historic success. Not only has he held multiple belts throughout his illustrious career so far, he’s also a local celebrity with deep community ties. He’s inspired countless people with his comeback from a harrowing car accident and a coma.
The pictures of his battered body after being ejected from that Ferrari at speed were horrific. We’d seen him in fights before, but never did we want to see Errol in such a heartbreaking fight for his life. Family, friends, and fans prayed for him, but at least a few thought we’d seen the last of Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr.
When he woke up, he made his way back to the ring.
Spence vs. Garcia
Spence’s first opponent after the comeback was a dangerous puncher with speed and timing: Danny “Swift” Garcia. Although Spence is known as a big, extremely strong welterweight with excellent fundamentals, Garcia matched up against him favorably. Both men are large for welterweights and carry appropriate power for their respective sizes. By the time they met in the ring, there were certain other significant differences.
Garcia had already tasted defeat at the hand of Keith Thurman; Spence, although fresh from the accident and coma with no tuneup, was undefeated. The trauma of the accident might still have had psychological effects on the champ, leaving fans and supporters uneasy. But by the opening bell, any hesitation about the durability of Spence was silenced. He won the fight easily, shutting down Garcia’s fearsome offense and peppering him with shots from the outside.
Errol Spence Jr. Next Fight
Spence’s performance against Danny Garcia assuaged many concerns about the longevity of his career. To many, his victory over Garcia solidified a new level of greatness. He seemed unbeatable; as if no matter what your strategy was getting in the ring with him, Errol Spence Jr. would always find a way to make you do something you didn’t want to do.
If you like using your feet like Chris Algheri, Spence will walk you down and pressure you until you leave openings. If you try to brawl him, Spence will nullify your attack with his quickness and defense. When you use up your stamina, he’s going to drown you in deep waters. If you try to box him, he’ll just corner you and beat you up.
We’ve seen Errol Spence. Jr make adjustments in the Shawn Porter fight, come back from a coma, and never shy away from fighting the best. He’s only suffered a single defeat in his 29 fignts, and it’s very possible that he’ll learn from this experience and become even stronger still. He’s called for a rematch against the only man to beat him and is adamant about recapturing his previous aura of invincibility.
But there are other possible fights on the horizon for Errol Spence Jr. and Terence “Bud” Crawford before the two men meet in the ring once again.
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Keith Thurman
Having traveled to Europe to dethrone Kell Brook behind enemy lines, Spence has already been welterweight champion for years. But while he traveled outside of the US to win his first world title, there was another American champion that could’ve allowed Spence an opportunity to shine. The reasons for avoiding a fight with Spence were never fully revealed by him or his team, but Team Thurman did communicate that the risks of fighting Errol heavily outweighed the reward.
Of course, the boxing public at large interpreted this to mean that Thurman thought he’d lose against Spence. We’ve been clamoring for the fight ever since.
Whether or not that might have been true at the time, Spence was denied a shot at Keith Thurman’s WBA welterweight title. Since Errol Spence Jr. was still a respected prospect hungry for world recognition, he traveled to England to challenge the skilled Kell Brook.
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Kell Brook
Spence vs. Brook was an entertaining and closely contested fight. Brook’s quickness, timing, and and control over distance gave Spence problems in the early moments of the bout. Despite having a shorter wingspan, Brook still managed to get inside and touch Spence with speed and accuracy.
But eventually, Spence started to capitalize on a few vulnerabilities of Brook. Spence’s bodywork started to pay dividends, slowing Brook down as he tried to stay out of kitchen. The pressure built round after round until Brook had to start making sacrifices; he sacrificed his head to protect his body. He guarded his head and left his ribs open.
Being chased around the ring and burning lots of stamina, constantly looking for countering opportunities, and doing so while being bullied every second of every round started to create an unsustainable situation for Kell Brook. He’d started absorbing heavy, thudding shots from Spence, and although he landed counters in response, they didn’t carry as much destructive power as Errol’s.
Eventually, Brook’s body yielded from the onslaught, and Spence was awarded the IBF welterweight title by knockout.
Spence vs. Crawford
Errol Spence Jr. has already activated his rematch clause against the supremely skilled Terence Crawford. Although many speculate that Spence may have simply outgrown the weight class, others believe that a rematch in a more comfortable division would yield the same results. It’s hard to say, as Errol Spence Jr. refuses to make excuses for his first loss, instead demonstrating consummate professionalism by recognizing the talent and skills of the only opponent to ever beat him.
This is the right attitude for a professional prizefighting superstar; it’s inspiring, instead of annoying. It doesn’t hurt the Spence brand, and doesn’t diminish the victory of the opponent. To all fighters; be gracious in defeat. It’s the right way to do things.
But it also makes it very difficult to decipher the events that unfolded before us on July 29, 2023. The performances of the two men gave the impression that while Crawford was peaking, Spence’s preparation appeared to leave him waning.
If Spence ever hints at anything that he suspected might have caused him to perform below his typical level, it’s the weight. He doesn’t cite the accident, the coma, or any of the residual trauma; the man just wants to be able to make the weight safely and comfortably.
In fact, he never specifically cited that he was weight drained; in boxing, widespread speculation often leads to certain widely accepted inferences. If Spence vs. Crawford II happens at 154 lbs., we’re sure to see a completely different contest than we witnessed in the first meeting between the two men.
But until we see it, the nature of these differences is still rife with speculation.
What do you think is next for Errol “The Truth” Spence?
Let us know in the comments below!
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