By Matt Richardson at ringside
Photos: Emily Harney
Errol Spence Jr. continued to make his case as one of the hottest young stars in boxing Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with yet another impressive knockout performance.
This time the IBF welterweight title-holder showcased his growing set of skills against veteran Lamont Peterson. The former two-division belt-holder, fighting for the first time in 11 months, was perceived as a real test for Spence but the fight only further illustrated the disparity between most boxers and Spence.
Spence (23-0, 20 KO’s) dominated the fight from start to finish. He slammed Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KO’s) with combinations to the head and body. He knocked him down in the fifth. And he almost completely shut both of Peterson’s eyes with a series of hard, quick combinations to the face.
Finally, by the start of the eighth, Peterson’s team had witnessed enough and they held their boxer back in the corner, giving Spence the well-earned TKO win.
The fight started tentatively with both men feeling out the other.
The pace continued into the second as Spence came forward while Peterson largely retreated. A left hook momentarily appeared to stun Peterson in the final minute of the round but Spence patiently stalked his opponent in search of another clear opening. Spence banged Peterson to the head and body in the third, scoring well with clean, concise punching. Peterson temporarily fought back but by the end of the frame Spence was back to connecting with lefts to the head and body.
Referee Harvey Dock admonished Spence for hitting low in the fourth after a series of shots appeared to hit Peterson in his purple trunks. The warning only inspired Spence to punch Peterson in the head instead and by the end of the round he seemed to rock Peterson on a combination.
An uppercut-left hook combination dropped Peterson onto the canvas in the fifth. Peterson beat the count but took a lot of punishment in all four corners of the ring for the remainder of the round. An attempt by Peterson to slow Spence’s momentum by winging two low blows failed to do anything but earn a warning from Doc. Peterson did successfully end the round on his feet, though. By the mid-way point of the fight Peterson’s face looked noticeably swollen (his right eye was partially closed shut) and Spence took advantage by picking Peterson apart with an array of carefully-placed shots.
The ringside doctor briefly examined Peterson’s eye at the start of the seventh round, slightly delaying the resumption of action. But when the boxing restarted it was more of the same: Spence dominating Peterson, who, now partially blinded, largely remained in retreat. By round’s end Peterson appeared physically and mentally beaten and his corner seemed conflicted about letting him go on. The bell rang for the eighth but Peterson’s team made up their mind and kept Peterson back in the corner, bruised, swollen and thoroughly dominated by one of the sport’s new great talents.
Time of the stoppage was one second of the eighth. Attendance at the card was announced as 12,107 – an impressive number for a card held in the middle of the winter in New York City.