By Radio Rahim
IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. dominated Lamont Peterson from the start of Saturday's fight and scored an eighth-round TKO to retain his belt.
Saturday's victory at Barclays Center in Brooklyn was officially scored as one second into the eighth round after Peterson's corner failed to send the former champ out for the eight round.
Spence (23-0, 20 KOs) was in control the entire match and knocked down Peterson during an action-filled fifth round.
Both of Peterson's eyes were nearly swollen shut, which is what prompted his corner to stop the fight. Peterson (35-4-1) previously held WBA and IBF championships and gave Spence credit for thoroughly beating him. Despite the convincing win, Spence said he's not yet at his best.
Spence wants to unify the welterweight belts and called out WBA and WBC champion Keith Thurman (28-0) following the fight.
He took a few shots from Peterson, but says none of the punches did any damage.
Spence explained that his strategy from the start was to target the body of Peterson, break him down and then come in with the heavy shots in the second half.
“It’s more about I took the shot and it didn’t hurt, and I just smile, because I know my opponent is in trouble if I take a shot and it doesn’t hurt,” said Spence to BoxingScene.com.
“It’s a good investment [to go to the body], especially if you go early in a twelve round fight. You know it’s going to pay off in the later rounds. You got to the body early. Even if it doesn’t hurt, it still takes a little bit out of you in the later rounds. It’s boxing.
”You’re going to get hit. If anybody thinks they see flaws in my game and they think they can capitalize on it, call Al. I love great performances, and I believe to get the ultimate win, it’s to get a knockout. So that’s what I want, and it looks good on your record too. 23-0 with 20 knockouts."