The Cold Hard Truth: On Sports

Spence-Peterson preview

Spence-Peterson may shape the welterweight division

By James Bell


I am looking forward to being at the Barclays Center on Saturday night. It will be a good event as a few boxing matches will take place there, headlined by a championship fight that may be pivotal to what happens this year in the welterweight division. The IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. will have his first defense of the IBF title and place his undefeated record on the line against Lamont Peterson who comes in as a tough test for “The Truth”, as he is someone who has been in big fights against notable opponents such as Victor Ortiz, Timothy Bradley, Lucas Matthysse, Danny Garcia, and Amir Khan. “Havoc” will look to have his previous experiences with tough opponents be a factor against Spence who had his first real test last year against Kell Brook in the UK.

Both Spence and Peterson are known for getting at their opponents with consistent pressure and good body work. Spence has went through a run where he has knocked out or stopped his previous nine opponents, and his calculated approach makes him more precise with his punches. He doesn’t throw many punches to just throw them. If he sees an opening, that is when he usually attacks. That is something that Lamont Peterson will have to deal with in this fight on Saturday night. Peterson will have to protect his body and throw some good counters to keep Spence honest and back up on occasion. Now there have been signs when Spence has left himself open to big shots, as seen when he faced Brook last May. If Peterson gets that chance, then he may have a shot of being the first person to defeat Errol Spence Jr.

Peterson did win the WBA “regular” title last year with a decision win over David Avanesyan, but that was his first fight back in two years and his third fight in the welterweight division. Spence is coming in naturally bigger than Peterson as he comes down from around the 160 pound range to fight at welterweight. Peterson made his name in boxing in the super lightweight division, as he was the unified super lightweight champion in 2011. While he was a tough opponent for many in that division, he has been stopped by Matthysse. He has yet to take a big shot from anyone since then, but he did lose a close fight to Danny Garcia and got a majority decision win against Felix Diaz where many thought Diaz won that fight. He will have to have a better start than in some of his previous fights in order to stay in the fight against someone that is younger and faster than he is. As mentioned before, Lamont’s experiences with former world champions will be key in this fight against Spence.

I am also looking forward to the matchup because of the trainers involved. Barry Hunter is one of the most notable trainers in the sport, bringing the Peterson brothers to successful pro careers and led Tony Thompson to an international heavyweight championship. His expertise may be pushed to the brink here, as many pundits favor Spence to win this fight. On the flip side, Derrick James has been training young guys like Spence, but also WBC super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo which got him consideration for Trainer of the Year in 2017. If he has Spence prepared well for this fight against Peterson, then he could have yet another notable win under his proverbial curriculum vitae as a trainer.

Regardless of the result, we should be bracing for a great match on January 20th.

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Spence-Peterson may shape the welterweight division
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Spence-Peterson may shape the welterweight division

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