Errol Spence Jr. is developing as something as a knockout artist, but when it came time to pick his Greatest Hits, he went with two tilts that showcased his stamina and boxing skills over pure power.
Errol Spence Jr. is still early in his fight career, but his soft Texas twang belies heavy hands. With 15 fights in the books, Spence has 12 knockouts to his name. He’ll be looking to make it 13-for-16 in the Spence Jr vs Vargas encounter on Saturday night in Brooklyn, New York.
3 vs. Jonathan Garcia, November 9, 2012, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California
Spence went to the 2012 Summer Games in London as part of the United States’ boxing delegation and reached the quarterfinals—the best showing for any American men’s boxer that year. His pro debut came that fall on a card with fellow Olympians Dominic Breazeale, Michael Hunter, Terrell Gausha and Marcus Browne. It was a good night for the guys who stepped in the ring for the Stars and Stripes. Spence got his man in the third 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.”
2 vs. Emmanuel Lartei Lartey, October 14, 2013, at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida
Spence was scheduled for his first eight-round fight in September 2013. Turns out that was seven rounds too long, as he stopped Jesus Tavera in the first. His next trip out was against the unbeaten Lartey, and this time, Spence would get his first true taste of going the distance, earning the second decision of his career—the first since a four-rounder that March.
“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.”
1 vs. Ronald Cruz, June 27, 2014, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas
History repeated itself in the spring of 2014. Spence was scheduled for his first 10-rounder against Raymond Chalres in April, but stopped him in the first. He then ended up going the full 10 his next fight out in June against Cruz. Just in time 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.”