When people in the sport of boxing discuss IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., there are certain assumptions they make about the Dallas, Tex. Native. One is that Spence (22-0, 19 KO’s) is destined to rule the welterweight class, while the other is that we should be seeing him in high-profile fights against the likes of Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford, and Shawn Porter in the future.
It’s very true that Spence, 27, is one of the sport’s rising champions, but we can’t forget to look at the opponent he has in front of him. This weekend, on Saturday, Jan. 20, Spence will face off with former IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson on SHOWTIME in a fight many are assuming he will win.
But one must give Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KO’s) his respect before anything else. Speaking before the fight, you can tell Lamont is ready to go.
“The hard work is over and now we’re just fine-tuning and making sure everything is perfect for Saturday,” said Peterson. “It’s been a great training camp that was tough at times, but that’s exactly how we want it.”
Peterson gives his respect to the young champion, but understand what lies ahead.
“Errol Spence is clearly a great fighter,” said Peterson. “I can see why people revere him in that way. But on Saturday, we’re going to give him a fight and he’s going to have to prove it.
“I don’t have to worry about what anyone says about us leading up to this fight,” Peterson added. “I know Errol well and it happened that it was time for us to fight. This is what we do so we’ll definitely give it our all on Saturday. My mentality is to win.”
Peterson last fought in February of 2017, where he decisioned David Avanesyan over twelve rounds to claim the vacant WBA welterweight title, and has been focused inside of the gym.
“I’ve been staying in the gym the whole time since my last fight,” said Peterson. “Even if I haven’t been fighting, I’ve been sparring and keeping my craft sharp. You never know how long a layoff will be, so I made sure to keep my mind on boxing.”
Peterson, 33, is a consummate professional and knows what lies ahead.
“I can’t do anything but go in there and take care of my business,” he stated. “I can’t control the judges or anything that happens outside of us fighting. I’m trying to win a fight and that’s all I’m concerned about. I think the fans are really going to like this one. I know from the way we both fight that it’s going to turn into a war not pretty quickly.”
Peterson makes sure to refrain from any trash talk and is relying on his strengths, not Spence’s weaknesses.
“There’s nothing that I’m really looking to expose, but doing things at the right time during the fight will be key,” Peterson said. “Errol is a solid fighter across the board and we’ll see what he brings on fight night. I’m looking for a victory. That’s what I’ve trained for. It doesn’t matter how I get the win. I’m determined to take home that belt.”