Since the retirement of former five-division champion and future Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather last August, many people in the boxing world have wanted to know who the new face of boxing will be.
One candidate often thrown in the mix is IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., who is currently 23-0 with 20 KO’s. The talented Spence’s style of power and precision has become a major hit with boxing fans, as his ability to wear opponent’s bodies down by delivering major body shots early in the fight have often led to some spectacular stoppages. Spence, a southpaw from the Dallas suburb of DeSoto, Texas, has risen up the ranks by destroying quality fighters like Alejandro Barrera, former world champion Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu by knocking them all out in spectacular fashion in the sixth round or less.
His path of destruction setup a May 2017 showdown with U.K. boxing star Kell Brook in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England. In front of 27,000 pro-Brook fans, Spence dropped, broke down and eventually stopped Brook to win the IBF welterweight title after 11 rounds.
Despite now being one of the kingpins of the welterweight division, Spence is staying focused on constantly improving while not getting complacent.
“You got to be a character and be greedy and hungry and I’m hungry and want to be the best and fight the best out there so that I can show the world my talents,” Spence said his recent media workout. “I got two little girls who I want to have the best life they can have and go to private school and in order for them to get that I have stay humble, stay focused and stay dedicated. I’ve always took boxing very serious, but my kids got me more serious and that’s why I work so hard to be the best at my craft.”
Since destroying Brook in the UK, Spence beat former world champion Lamont Peterson in January at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. After dropping Peterson in round 5 and battering him with vicious body shots the entire fight, Spence broke Peterson down physically and mentally which eventually forced Peterson’s trainer Barry Hunter to stop the fight a second into round 8.
With fellow welterweight kingpin Keith Thurman on the shelf due to various injuries, the Dallas native will be defending his IBF title on June 16 against Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo. The fight will take place at “The Star” in Frisco, Texas – home of the Dallas Cowboys practice facility and holds about 12,000 people.
If Spence can pull off a spectacular win and sellout “The Star”, he’ll take a huge step towards the mantle of being the face of boxing vacated by Mayweather.
“Filling up “The Star” is a big deal because it will be putting me a step closer to the ultimate goal of filling up AT&T stadium in a major fight, and that will mean I’m where I want to be as the face of the sport,” Spence said. “Selling out AT&T stadium – will officially let everyone know that I’m the man, and I will know in my heart that I’ve accomplished most of my career goals.”
Before he can move on to the Thurman’s, Danny Garcia’s and Shawn Porter’s of the world, Spence must get through Ocampo who is a tough customer that’s coming to ruin the IBF champ’s homecoming. Though he’s very confident he’ll be getting his hand raised for the 24th time of his career, Spence is not overlooking Ocampo as he’s focused on using him as another stepping stone on his path towards being the face of boxing.
“Every fight is important because it’s a win or loss and a loss can set you back and I’ve worked way too hard to allow that to happen,”said Spence. “I’m looking forward to fighting in front of my family, friends and people who have seen me coming up, and it’s very important to put on a spectacular show. Despite all that, I don’t plan to get out of character as I respect my opponent because he’s a grown ass man like me who is trained to fight.”