Power and precision are just a couple of key attributes in the ring that have set Errol Spence Jr. apart from the pack so far during his fledgling professional career.
When all is said and done, and he’s ready to retire one day, he wants to make sure his résumé reflects as much.
Errol Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs) is ready for his first world title shot Saturday, when he will challenge Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) for his 147-pound crown in the champion’s hometown of Sheffield, England (Showtime, 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT).
If Spence has his way, this will be the first of many significant fights he’s known for when his career comes to a close.
“This is basically my first real test, and I think it’s a great story,” Spence said. “My first title fight, I’m going overseas in front of 30,000 fans rooting for the other guy in his hometown, trying to take his title, and I feel like it’s a great story and a great start to something.
“What I do later on will be even greater.”
The fight many talk about in relation to Spence moving forward in the stacked 147-pound division is a potential showdown with current unified champion Keith Thurman. The path to that clash gets much shorter if Spence is first able to do what no one else at 147 pounds has been able to do, and that’s defeat Brook.
Brook won his title with a majority decision over Shawn Porter in August 2014, and made three successful title defenses before moving up to 160 pounds to challenge unified world champion Gennady Golovkin.
Brook was handed his first career defeat in that bout, and many thought he might vacate his 147-pound title and move up to 154, but he instead opted to make his mandatory defense against Spence.
“ I want to be remembered as a guy who fought anyone and never ducked anyone. It didn’t matter where or when, I fought anyone, was a great fighter and a future Hall of Famer. ” Errol Spence Jr., unbeaten 147-pound title challenger
Brook’s return to 147 pounds was exactly what Spence wanted, as the unbeaten American prefers to win a world title by dethroning the champion instead of fighting for a vacant crown.
If he’s asked why, the answer is that it all plays into a larger narrative that he values greatly—his legacy as a fighter.
“A lot of the old-school guys always say they fought the best and they cared about their legacies so much,” Spence said. “To me, it’s all about my legacy and how I want to be remembered.
“I want to be remembered as a guy who fought anyone and never ducked anyone. It didn’t matter where or when, I fought anyone, was a great fighter and a future Hall of Famer.”
Should Spence bring a world title back home to Dallas next week, expect not only his legend to grow rapidly, but also his hunger to get the other top fighters in the 147-pound division into the ring with him.
When calling out champions and top contenders over the last couple of years, the standard response from potential opponents has been that Spence needs to prove himself first.
A win Saturday will only make him push harder for those fights, as Spence is busy trying to build a legacy.
“I think I can really press the gas if I win this fight, because I’ll be proven,” he said. “I’ll have fought a guy in his hometown in the U.K., which is a place where everyone knows there are hardcore fans who will be yelling and screaming for this guy.
“I’ll have fought a big guy in his hometown and have beat him. I’ll have all the advantage because I’ll have proven myself to be a top-five fighter.”
For a complete look at Brook vs Spence, visit our fight page.