by Cliff Rold
With violent efficiency, Errol Spence forced a corner retirement from Lamont Peterson that reminded that not all corner retirements are the same. The look on the face of trainer Barry Hunter, the anguish in deciding whether to halt the fight or not, was as touching a moment as boxing might have in 2018.
That was the face, the decision, of a man who truly loved the fighter in the corner. Peterson made a game effort, especially coming off the floor in the fifth. Peterson fought to stay on his feet, to make the bell, with the same grit that has marked so much of his career.
It was to little avail. The man in front of him is too good right now.
Errol Spence, scary for future foes, probably has a way to go before he finds his full peak.
Let’s get into it.
The Future for Spence: Spence is going to be a big part of the pound-for-pound conversation if he keeps delivering the way he did against Kell Brook and now Peterson. For the latter he was a sizable favorite so winning wasn’t a surprise. What Spence supplied Saturday were style points. It’s easier to say ‘he’s going to win’ then it is to go out and dominate a game veteran like Peterson.
Spence is a hard fighter not to like.
He’s highly skilled but applies that skill with an offensive mentality. The way the southpaw works off the jab and works up and down from head to body all night has a little bit of Marvin Hagler to it. He gets hit sometimes but fighters who seek to hurt have to take some. It’s the exchange.
The most logical big foe for Spence in the immediate future would be Danny Garcia if and when Garcia beats Brandon Rios. Last year, Garcia was talking about who Spence has to beat to get him but, really, what is Garcia’s better option? He’s not in line for a rematch with Thurman in the sanctioning body ratings, isn’t going to cross the street to fight the winner of Horn-Crawford, and has no title to leverage. Moving up to Jr. middleweight isn’t advisable. Spence is the guy he can fight to try to win a belt. Garcia is a name Spence could use.
The fight makes too much sense. Spence-Thurman has to be the long-term goal but it’s not happening right away. Spence-Garcia should be what emerges while we wait.
The Future for Peterson: Peterson has some tough decisions to make. He’s not a young 33. His style has been high contact and the paths to another title are limited. He’s might try to go back to a relatively drained 140 lbs. but the strain of making the weight could limit his abilities. The title picture at welterweight doesn’t appear to have much room for him going forward. The WBO belt is locked in with the Top Rank side of the street, Spence has beaten him, and Keith Thurman has other roads to travel. Peterson’s career could go gatekeeper in a hurry if he goes on and that wouldn’t be a fun way to see him go out. Perhaps trying to bring a good crowd to the DC Armory for him one more time would be the best immediate option.
Rold Picks 2018: 1-0
Author’s Note: After many years of report cards, this is part two of an attempt to tinker with the format just a bit. If the reader’s have any suggestions, let them be known in the comments.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]