Cleat Geeks

Uppercuts & Count Outs

On the Way Up… 

2012 Team USAErrol Spence, Jr. is a future world champion. Just ask one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the history of the sport, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

“I think his next fight should be against Keith Thurman for a world title,” Mayweather told last summer, “He’s ready.”

In response to Mayweather’s ringing endorsement, Spence had this to say:

“Coming from him it’s the truth because Floyd doesn’t say stuff he doesn’t mean. I’m ready for Keith Thurman or anybody else for that matter. I’m not the guy to shy away from anybody. If it gets brought to the table I’m taking it.”

So how does Mayweather know that the 25-year-old Spence is ready?

Back in 2013, Floyd Mayweather’s camp needed to bring in a southpaw to prepare for a fight against Robert Guerrero. They brought in Errol Spence, Jr.

Errol-Spence-Jr_sparring“When I was getting ready for Robert Guerrero, who is a southpaw, the first guy I started looking to spar with was a southpaw and Errol was giving me really good work,” Mayweather explained, “He pushed me hard 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.”

There is a widespread rumor that Spence blacked Mayweather’s eye during that training camp. Neither fighter will confirm or deny the rumor.

Speaking of training camp rumors, Spence apparently knocked Adrien Broner to the canvas during one of their sparring matches. Again, neither fighter will confirm or deny the rumor — it must be against ‘boxer code’ to discuss such things.

It seems like Spence is a pretty modest guy for the most part, but he is fully aware of the hype surrounding him.

“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.”

Errol Spence fightAside from Spence’s legendary sparring matches, a lot of the hype has been built around his fantastic amateur career. As an amateur, he won three U.S. national championships (2009-11) and two National Golden Gloves titles (2009-10).

Spence has a professional record of 19–0 with 16 KO’s. As a pro, he has yet to fight against stiff competition (some of his opponents thus far: Samuel Vargas, Phil Lo Greco, Chris van Heerden, and Alejandro Barrera —the casual boxing fan has never heard these names), but that will most likely change in 2016.

With the departures of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, there is now a void in the welterweight division that is screaming to be filled by the next big superstar. Many boxing experts expect that Errol Spence, Jr. is going to be the man to fill that void.


On the Way Out…

Wladimir-Klitschko-cutWladimir Klitschko has a birthday approaching in March. He’ll be turning 40 years old.

Father Time waits for no man.

Most boxing experts aren’t ready to throw in the towel on Klitschko’s career just yet. He does have a title fight approaching, and as recently as last September, BoxRec rated Klitschko as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world — he is now number five on that list.

Klitschko has dominated the heavyweight division for the past ten years. He has fought in more title fights than any other heavyweight champion (28), and he’s beaten more undefeated fighters than any boxer in history (12). Klitschko boasts the second longest reign as heavyweight champion of all time, and he successfully defended his heavyweight title 23 times — second only to Joe Louis’ 25 successful defenses.

klitschko-fightBefore he lost his titles to Tyson Fury last November, Klitschko hadn’t lost a fight since 2004! It’s easy to see why people still see Klitschko as a thriving fighter.

However, even if he wins his belts back from Tyson Fury in their upcoming mandatory rematch, he’ll never be the dominant force that he once was. The best years of his boxing career are behind him, and the clock doesn’t move backwards. Belts or no belts, his retirement is imminent.

Aside from the fact that he’s getting older by the minute, Klitschko’s recent title defense serves as solid proof that the door is now closing on his illustrious career. He turned in a truly dreadful performance against Tyson Fury last November. More than ever, he looked old in that fight. He didn’t show any heart. Hell, he barely showed any signs of life at all! Watching that fight was like watching a mummy awkwardly prod at a statue for 12 rounds. Fury (the mummy) wasn’t impressive in the fight. He only won the decision because Klitschko was even less impressive.

Wladimir Klitschko v Ruslan Chagaev - WBO, IBF & IBO Heavyweight FightWith a new crop of young, talented guys like Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua now chomping at the bit in the heavyweight division, it’s time to start closing the book on Wladimir Klitschko.

Klitschko will go down as one of the heavyweight division’s greatest champions ever. He’ll even be listed as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers of all-time. But as for the here and now, the last few grains of sand are running out of Klitschko’s hourglass.

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