The pragmatic answer to what’s next for Errol Spence Jr. is a pretty short one. “The Truth” is slated to fight Kell Brook for the IBF welterweight title after the Brit squares off with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in early September.
From a macro standpoint, however, the question becomes harder to answer. Is Spence Jr. the marketable, dominant welterweight the sport has missed since Floyd Mayweather‘s retirement?
Is the former Olympian destined for all-time greatness?
Spence Jr. has now accomplished unique feats in each of his last two fights. The 26-year-old became the first man to stop Chris Algieri (Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao and Ruslan Provodnikov were all unable to finish Algieri) before handing Leonard Bundu his first–and hopefully last–career knockout loss.
As Spence alluded to in pre-fight interviews, WBA welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman went 12 hard-fought rounds with Bundu.
What does it say about Thurman’s chances against Spence Jr. if “One Time” couldn’t close the show against a shopworn veteran?
Boxing‘s championship landscape rarely follows the script, and Spence Jr. may very well not fight Brook in his next bout.
“Special K” can choose to opt out of a matchup with Spence Jr., forfeiting his title. What’s more, Spence Jr. announced plans to fight again later this year or early 2017. Depending on his condition after fighting Golovkin, Brook may not receive medical clearance to enter the ring that soon.
Fortunately, the welterweight division is chock full of worthy contenders for Spence Jr. to fight, provided they don’t duck the 21-0 southpaw.
Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia each possess name value and (on paper) appear to be favorable matchups for Spence Jr. A devastating stoppage win over a mutual opponent will further stoke enthusiasm around a Keith Thurman vs. Errol Spence Jr. showdown.
Additionally, battle-worn veterans such as Devon Alexander, Luis Collazo and Lamont Peterson will likely be discussed as options for late 2016.
In the build-up to his fight with Bundu, Spence Jr. offered practical goals for his future in the welterweight division.
“I’m not worried about what’s going to happen next,” said Spence Jr.
“I know what’s next if I take care of my business. If I win I’m guaranteed a chance at the world title. I want the title fight sooner rather than later.”
If Spence Jr. follows through on his rapid ascent to the IBF title, we’ll be left asking: “how far can he go from here?”
Photos by Ryan Greene/Premier Boxing Champions
Milo Taibi is a freelance journalist from Brooklyn, NY. His work has been featured in SLAM Magazine, Complex, Yahoo! Sports, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @MiloTaibi.