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SPORTS SHORTS 171: WHO IS ERROL SPENCE? FLOYD MAYWEATHER'S MARVELOUS SPARRING PARTNER (SECOND OF A SERIES)


PhilBoxing.com




Floyd Mayweather, who retired again as an active boxer after establishing a 50–0 record following his 10th round TKO win over Conor McGregor, was horrendously powerful in fighting sparring partners, frequently engaging them as if it was an actual fight and pounding them during his stringent training camps.

* * *

When Mayweather was training for his fight against Robert Guerrero of Gilroy, California in 2013, a young boxer was introduced to provide him a southpaw sparring partner. This fighter did not only give Mayweather fine grind. He fascinated the world's former pound-for-pound king, which is a difficult thing to do.

* * *

The young sparring partner was Errol Spence Jr., a 2012 U.S. Olympian, whom ESPN described as "a dynamic fighter with the complete package of skills, speed, power and work ethic" and its 2015 ESPN prospect of the year.

* * *

"When I was getting ready for Guerrero, the first guy I started looking to spar with was a southpaw and Errol was giving me real good work," Mayweather was quoted by ESPN. "He pushed me and made me get in tip-top condition, and once I was in tip-top condition, I was ready and the best I could be. He's a hell of a fighter."

* * *

Mayweather later boasted about Spence's skill and said he deserved an immediate shot at WBA champion Keith Thurman that time. Those comments were heart warming compliments for Spence of DeSoto, Texas.

* * *

"It's an honor for him to stand behind me and say I'm the future of boxing, and I'm not even signed with [Mayweather Promotions]," Spence said of Mayweather. "He obviously believes in me. I have to prove him right by winning titles and beating these top fighters."

* * *

Spence began boxing at age 15 when his father brought him to a gym. "It really wasn't my choice," Spence said. "I came home from school and 20 minutes later we pulled up to a boxing gym. He didn't tell me where we were going. What's going on? We going to pick up something?"

* * *

"And then we're in a boxing gym and he's asking the coach when can I start, and I started the next day," added Spence.

* * *

When Spence fought his major bouts, he believes training with Mayweather was a huge contribution to his growth. "The intensity level of sparring felt like a real fight," Spence said. "We were sparring 5-6 minute rounds with 30 seconds rest. I handled myself great."

* * *

"I only had a few pro fights then but I got a lot of experience. It was a big deal. I watched Floyd every second I could. I really just wanted to beat him up. He's the best in the world so I wanted to prove a point and make a statement. I think I definitely opened some eyes," continued Spence.

* * *

Spence was rumored to have inflected Mayweather a black eye in a sparring, and likewise a hearsay that he knocked out Adrien Broner in practice. Spence, however, is denying everything saying, "I don't know anything about all that."

* * *

It has been long predicted that Spence would win a world title and land a place on the top ten pound-for-pound list. He had an amazing amateur career of three U.S. national championships in 2009 to 2011 and two National Golden Gloves titles in 2009 to 2010.

* * *

"A lot of people have high hopes for my career," Spence said. "I'll stay in the gym and prove everybody, and myself, right, that I'll be a top pound-for-pound fighter, win titles in multiple weight classes, and beat the best fighters out there."

* * *

Spence fought his professional debut against Jonathan Garcia on November 9, 2012, at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. In a scheduled four-round bout against 19-year-old Garcia. Spence knocked Garcia down and out in the 3rd round. "It was my first time fighting without headgear on,” Spence said.

* * *

"It was just a great experience overall. I definitely was gunning for the knockout. To me, I had to get the knockout in my pro debut. It is a lot of pressure, but I was used to in amateurs going three rounds and getting knockouts. A lot of guys, they turn pro and it’s almost a month till they get a knockout,” said Spence.

* * *

Spence fought his first eight-rounder in September 12, 2013 at the MGM Grand Marquee Ballroom, Paradise, Nevada. He stopped Jesus Tavera in the first round. His next bout was against the unbeaten Emmanuel Lartie Lartey of Ghana, and the fight would go the distance, earning the second decision of his career.

* * *

“It was my first time fighting a 15-0 fighter,” Spence said. “I was 8-0 at the time. He was supposed to be my first test. It was the hardest fight of my career so far. It was my first eight-round fight."

* * *

"Most of the time I was hitting these guys and they were going down. I was getting a lot of first-round knockouts. He was the first guy who really took my punch. He was a tough fighter. He came for it. He hit me back when I hit him," he said.

* * *

Spence was scheduled for his first 10-rounder against American Raymond Charles on April 18, 2014 at the Illusions Theater, San Antonio, Texas but stopped him in the first.

* * *

He went the full 10 rounds in his next fight in June 27, 2014 at The Joint, Paradise, Nevada against Ronald Cruz of Puerto Rico to get only the third decision of his career.

* * *

“That was my first 10-round fight and I was the main event on Showtime,” Spence said. “I remember that because everything went right. It was a great performance for me. I almost got the stoppage."

* * *

"It’s always in the back of your mind, especially when you’re training if you haven’t done eight or 10 rounds before. You’re like, ‘I hope I can do eight rounds or I hope I can do 10 rounds.’ When I did the eight rounds easy, I knew I could do the 10 rounds," Spence added.

* * *

Wachington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will not play for Team USA Olympic basketball team in Tokyo while forward Jerami Grant has joined him in being imposed Covid-19 protocols. Beal will be replaced later, most probably from the NBA players who have been practicing with the Olympic team in the Las Vegas training camp the last 10 days.

* * *

Organizers also announced in a news release Thursday night that Team USA's exhibition game against Australia on Friday has been cancelled due to "health and safety protocols."

* * *

The Phoenix Suns will host the Milwaukee Bucks during Game Five of the NBA Finals on Saturday (Sunday, Philippine time). Phoenix will seek to move to just a win from the franchise's first-ever NBA championship with a Game Five victory on home court.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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