Friday, 19 January 2018 16:36

Spence vs Peterson should have happened months ago

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On Saturday, high-profile boxing ushers in 2018 when undefeated welterweight world champion Errol "The Truth" Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs) makes the first defense of his title against former two-division world champion Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs).

The fight will be broadcast on Showtime and take place at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

It's a compelling match-up but shouldn't have Spence vs Peterson happened at least 3, 4 or 5 months ago?

Peterson hasn't fought in nearly a year (Feb 2017) while Spence seems to have failed to capitalize off the momentum he generated in his impressive title-taking win over Kell Brook eight months ago. Even if he chose not to fight Peterson right away, Errol should have faced someone in the interim;

A tune-up would have kept Spence's buzz flowing.

At this point in their careers, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin were fighting every four months. But since defeating Chris Algieri way back in April 2016 (21 months), Spence has had a mere two fights.

If a non-mainstream belt-holder wants to earn a paycheck, he simply defends his title(s) - But if he wants to be a superstar and must-see TV one day, he fights with regularity.

Mike Tyson, for example, fought 13 times in 1986, won the WBC heavyweight title in November of that year and stepped in the ring four times in 1987. And even after Tyson was a mainstream celebrity and among the most popular and highest-paid athletes in the world, he was fighting at least three times per year prior to the twilight of his career.

Obviously, in this day and age and with limited network dates, fighting more than 5 or 6 times per year might not be possible for a champion or top ten contender with something to lose. However, a fella like Spence should be fighting 3-4 times annually; even if most of those bouts are tune-ups. Otherwise....

Out of sight, out of mind.

Once that fighter becomes a big star a la Canelo, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, he can get away with fighting once every 6 or 7 months without losing his proverbial juice with the public.

Should Spence defeat Peterson Saturday night, let's hope to see him again in May.

Leroy Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.