THOUGH he concedes he still has a lot to do in his current weight division, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jnr says he wouldn’t be opposed to travelling up to middleweight one day and fighting Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
The gifted Texan fights fellow American Shawn Porter this Saturday (September 28) in an IBF and WBC title unification but knows at some point, should he keep winning, there will be a need to seek challenges elsewhere.
To this end, a middleweight fight against Alvarez is about as big as it gets – both in terms of risk and money. It’s also one Spence would apparently welcome.
“He has power, he has good timing, he punches with a lot of power, but he does get tired, so I think I have the advantage of having more wind than him,” Spence told Fight Hub TV.
“Canelo’s not a huge guy anyway. I mean he has size, like mass, but he’s not a big guy. I think that’ll be a great fight.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Derrick James, Spence’s head trainer, who claims his fighter and Alvarez are “evenly matched” and that a bout between them could become a reality in years to come.
“Canelo’s a great boxer and great counterpuncher. He is very well-rounded, just like Errol,” James said. “He’s not fast but he’s very precise and he had great reaction time.”
Shawn Porter will encourage this kind of talk just days from meeting Spence in Los Angeles, if only because often it is a sign of a champion overlooking an opponent and taking their eye off the immediate.
Equally, though, it is sometimes a mark of a fighter’s confidence and ambition. Ask Errol Spence and he’ll tell you that’s precisely what it is.
Undisputed female middleweight champion Claressa Shields wants more time to work and more money for doing more work.
The talented two-time Olympic gold medallist faces Ivana Habazin on October 5 at the Dort Federal Event Center, Flint, Michigan, and, while she’s happy with the opponent, the venue (her hometown) and the vacant WBO junior-middleweight title on the line, Shields would rather she and Habazin had a little more room to breathe.
“Me and my team have been trying to figure out what’s the best way to go to the organisations about it,” Shields told reporters. “We don’t know if we want to go over and tell them, “Hey, maybe we could start off with 10 three-minute rounds, or maybe we can start off with 12 two-minute rounds.
“We’re just still going to try to figure it out and try to go with the best way to where it’s safe for the other world champions and also see what they agree with.
“I’m going to have a talk with all the girls who are world champions to kind of like have a vote on what they want to do because this is not just about me. I want it to about the other women, too, and what they’re comfortable with.
“I think the thing to understand is that women will always get paid less than the men unless we fight the same amount of time. So, with that, one of the changes that got to be made is either 12 two-minute rounds or 10 three-minute rounds.”
At 24 years of age, Shields has achieved a great deal in a short space of time (and with shorter rounds). Just nine fights into her pro career, she has won WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO world titles as a middleweight, WBC and IBF world titles as a super-middleweight, and now looks to secure a world championship in a third weight class on October 5.
More than that, though, she is speaking up, making her voice heard and leaving her mark on the women’s game. Forget titles and knockouts. That’s the real victory for any female fighter in 2019.