By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Errol Spence Jr. discussed the possibilities of fighting Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Lamont Peterson while waiting for fellow welterweight champion Keith Thurman to recuperate from elbow surgery.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Spence is more likely to face a lesser opponent than Garcia, Porter or Peterson sometime in September in his first defense of the IBF welterweight title he won May 27 by stopping Kell Brook in the 11th round in Sheffield, England. Spence’s first defense also is likely to be broadcast by FOX, on free TV, not Showtime, which televised the Spence-Brook bout.
“Hopefully I can have a homecoming in Dallas, maybe in September sometime,” Spence told a small group of reporters during a recent luncheon in Manhattan. “I’ve got to talk to my manager [Al Haymon]. But yeah, definitely, I would like to get a fight in before [Thurman] comes back. He’s gonna be out six, seven months, and he has to get back in shape. He might be out nine months, so I’d definitely like to get a fight in before then.”
The 27-year-year-old Spence (22-0, 19 KOs), a 2012 American Olympian, wants to fight in the Dallas area because he grew up in DeSoto, Texas, a Dallas suburb. Haymon is expected to accommodate his emerging star’s request by taking that fight either to Dallas’ American Airlines Center, home of the NBA’s Mavericks and NHL’s Stars, or Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility in Frisco, Texas.
“That would mean a lot,” Spence said. “Fighting at home in front of my fans, family and friends, that’s a dream come true. Especially me having the title, and bringing it back to Dallas, which hasn’t happened in a long time, that would mean a lot to me. That would be a dream of mine, too. Hopefully, I can make that happen.”
The strong southpaw won’t have a mandatory defense due for nine months because Spence was the mandatory challenger for Brook’s belt. That should enable Spence to choose a contender ranked in the IBF’s top 15 at 147 pounds for an optional defense, unless his mandatory challenger is determined before his next fight needs to be scheduled.
His last appearance on free TV drew roughly six million viewers, by far the largest television audience for a boxing match in 2016. That fight – a sixth-round knockout of Italy’s Leonard Bundu (33-2-2, 12 KOs) in an IBF elimination match August 21 in Brooklyn, New York – received a ratings boost because it followed the United States men’s basketball team’s gold-medal victory over Serbia at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Spence’s win against Brook, which Showtime aired on a Saturday afternoon on a holiday weekend, drew a peak audience of 337,000 viewers and an average audience of 291,000.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.