IBF world champion admits defeating two-division titleholder won't be an easy task tomorrow night in Brooklyn, New York.
Following the 2017 retirement of Floyd Mayweather, the welterweight division—and boxing in general—is in search of someone to take the mantle as “the man.” Spence’s pursuit begins in earnest when he takes on Peterson at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. in the main event that airs on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
"The top spot in the sport is up for grabs, and I’m coming for it,” said Spence, who weighed in at 147 pounds Friday, while Peterson tipped the scales at 146 ¾.
“I don't care who I have to face or where, I'm going to be the last man standing. I think I can be known as the best pound-for-pound in the sport.”
Spence nicknamed “The Truth” last fought in May, traveling from his Desoto, Texas, home to Sheffield, England for a KO victory over Kell Brook to win the IBF title—becoming the first American to earn a title from an English champion on foreign soil since 2008 when Tim Bradley upset Junior Witter in Nottingham for a 140-pound title.
Spence can add to his growing status as the most dominant 147-pounder with a victory over Peterson, whom he believes is a tougher challenge than Brook.
“Lamont can push me to even greater levels,” he said. “I feel like he is a better fighter than Kell Brook and has even more heart than Kell Brook and can bring out the best in me.’’
This will be Spence’s third fight at Barclays Center and fighting in Brooklyn will have a special meaning for him because he was born in Long Island and still has family in the area.
“ I can’t look ahead because I know how dangerous Lamont Peterson is. I’ve seen too many fighters look down the road and get beat. ” Welterweight World Champion Errol Spence Jr.
Peterson hears all the chatter about Spence’s ascendance in the 147-pound division. But he can’t let it affect how he prepares for their match. In his transition into the welterweight division Peterson lost a majority decision to Danny Garcia in a match that was fought at 143 pounds.
He rebounded from that loss with a majority decision over Felix Diaz and then won a unanimous decision over David Avaneysyan to claim a world title in a second weight class.
“I can’t worry about people thinking Errol is the next star,” Peterson said. “It is up to me and my team to come up with the right type of strategy and to execute it.”
One of the keys to victory for Peterson is to find a way to negate Spence’s size advantage and withstand the withering body attack that Spence has deployed with surgical precision in stopping his last nine opponents. Thus far in his career, Peterson has been relatively pressure proof, though he hasn’t faced anyone who is as poised and relentless as Spence.
Peterson already has an idea of what Spence can do in the ring. The two men sparred each other when Spence was an amateur.
“He gave me different advice on how to slow down and speed up my punches. Lamont’s a tricky fighter who does a lot of cagey, veteran things,” Spence said.
For Spence the biggest key to victory is mental. He has to block out all the talk of being the 147-pound heir apparent.
“I can’t look ahead because I know how dangerous Lamont Peterson is. I’ve seen too many fighters look down the road and get beat,” said Spence. “I’m 100 percent focused, hungry and fully dedicated to this fight. Lamont Peterson has true grit and a big heart. Lamont Peterson is a veteran I definitely will not overlook. I have to get through him to achieve my goals and I plan on doing that January 20th.”
For a complete look at Spence Jr. vs Peterson, visit our fight page.