Lamont Peterson will face the IBF World Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr in a tough fight this Saturday. Both fighters are fairly complete fighters with excellent punching technique, movement, combinations, defense, and pace. Spence has great power, excellent body punching, and an ability to cut off the ring a la Golovkin. Peterson always maintains a good enough distance from his opponent to ensure he can defend and land combinations when an opening presents itself. Below are the keys to victory for each fighter.
Spence is a fighter to watch in the coming years, in short he is a phenom and an anomaly. For being a 147 pounder he has the frame of a 160 pounder. When he punches it sounds like gunshots going off. He has the confidence of a veteran in the ring despite his very young age. The key to this fight comes down to three things:
Start Fast and Pump the Jab
Lamont Peterson has a tendency to start slow as he wants to figure out his opponent in the early rounds then step on the gas. This holds true with more complete fighters like Danny Garcia in which he lost the bout. Spence can take advantage of this quirk and and come out guns blazing. He can pump his jab to push Peterson back and execute the next key to victory.
Work the Body
Spence has prodigious punching power and he knows how to put punches together. If he can land solid body punches early in the fight while keeping Peterson on his back-foot he can set up a knockout in the middle or late rounds. Spence definitely has the power to knock out any welterweight with a well placed body punch. The reason body punching is so important for Spence is that it will confuse Peterson while also wearing him down in the later rounds. If Spence attacks the body enough Peterson will start to wonder whether to drop his hands to protect his body or raise them to protect his head. Spence can throw any number of combinations that will take advantage of this confusion and set him up for the next key to victory.
Get in the Phonebooth and Finish
Spence is incredibly dangerous in close quarters. He can cut off the ring well and throw any number of permutations of punches with great power. Spence can seal a TKO or KO victory if he gets in close quarters and lets his hands go. Peterson is not particularly good in the Phonebooth and he has shown that he can be a little chinny. He was knocked out by Lucas Matthysse which illustrates that he can definitely be knocked out particularly against fast starters who are also aggressive. If Spence can cut off the ring after vicious body attacks anticipate a KO or TKO victory this Saturday.
Peterson has a tendency to frustrate fighters with his control of the distance between his opponent and himself. He is always in a position to either defend or counter-punch. Peterson can control the pace of the fight and limit Spence from connecting punches while collecting data on how to solve the elusive Spence Puzzle. If Peterson limits Spence from connecting and remains in control of the fight he can frustrate Spence and shift the fight in his favor. Also stay off the ropes!
Peterson has to be effective at pot-shotting Spence. Combined with his control of distance this could be the magic formula to defeating Spence. Spence is not used to being outclassed which is why he looked a bit befuddled when Brook drove him back and he was even able to stun him. An effective accumulation of counter-punches would set the stage for history to repeat itself in this fight with Peterson delivering the punishment.
Weather the Storm and Be in Control
In Spence’s fight against Kell Brook, Spence seemed to be a little lost in the rounds leading up the championship rounds (7th, 8th, 9th…). I firmly believe this is a result of him knocking everyone out prior to stopping Brook in the 11th. Spence wasn’t used to fighting elite competition in the late rounds prior to that. You can train all you want in the gym but there’s nothing like actually being in the championship rounds in a live fight against top opposition. Peterson can take advantage of this inexperience and ink out a victory on the cards or like Brook did force Spence back and unload on him on the ropes. Patience is key here.
What a Victory would mean for both
Spence defeating Peterson would mean a continuation to his legacy. A fight against Keith Thurman could be next. This is an opportunity for Spence to show that he can consistently fight the best and be able to outclass them. He’s beyond fighting substandard competition at this point.
Peterson Defeating Spence would mean a career revival. Peterson would be added to the list of top dogs of the welterweight division and would be the new IBF Welterweight Champion of the World.
Spence is a prodigy that has all the tools to carry Floyd Mayweather’s legacy and even surpass it as the top welterweight in this era. I believe he may be too much for Peterson and I see him stopping him in the later rounds due to an accumulation of punishment.
Prediction: Spence wins via TKO in the 8th or 9th round
I must also add that Peterson pulling off the upset is not as far-fetched as you may think he’s a wily veteran that can be a scientist in the ring. if he controls the pace and fights the perfect fight he may also pull off the upset.