A dangerous southpaw who had success as an amateur and stepped his game up even further after turning pro, Errol Spence Jr has that rare combination of natural physical talent, technical skills and a strong work ethic. Born on March 3, 1990 in Brentwood, New York, Spence started training at a boxing gym as a 15-year-old living in Texas. He didn’t want to stick with it, but his father encouraged him not to quit, and even switched to the graveyard shift so he’d be able to drive his son to the gym during the day.
By 2009, Spence Jr had become the best amateur welterweight in the nation, as he won the U.S. National Championship at the Olympic Training Center. He followed that up with two more wins in 2010 and 2011, on his way to the 2012 Olympics in London. He ended up reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Andrey Zamkovoy, and then decided to start his professional career.
He demonstrated his power from the very beginning, knocking out his first opponent, Jonathan Garcia, in three rounds. Two TKOs followed before he recorded his first unanimous decision win in his four-round fight against Luis Torres.
As most young professional boxers do, Spence faced quite a few lesser opponents in the early stages of his career. However, he also demonstrated sharp boxing skills, able to attack from a variety of different angles and land power punches without compromising his own defense. He’s definitely a knockout artist, but he’s not a brawler who simply gets by on his power or “takes one to give one.” He typically takes very few and gives quite a bit more, eventually resulting in either a TKO or a KO.
Errol Spence Jr continued to collect finishes for the majority of his fights over the first two years of his career, and he got to announce himself in a big way when he fought Francisco Javier Castro at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 13, 2014. In a one-sided beat down, he scored a fifth-round TKO. He then had a step up in competition when he fought Samuel Vargas, who he put down in four rounds.
After two more dominant TKO victories, he got a chance to fight in front of his hometown fans when he took on Alejandro Barrera at the Bomb Factory in Dallas, Texas. He put on another spectacular show, winning the first four rounds and then picking up a TKO in round five.
His next fight was even more impressive because of the level of completion. He faced off against Chris Algieri, who had a record of 21-2 at the time, but had only lost to top-level fighters in Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan. Algieri took both of those fighters 12 rounds and lost on the scorecards. He didn’t get that far this time around. Spence completely battered Algieri, finishing him off with a left hook for a fifth-round TKO. A few months later, on August 21, 2016, he followed up with a six-round KO over Leonard Bundu.