Former Olympian Errol Spence thoroughly dominated Chris van Heerden in the co-feature of PBC on Spike. The welterweight bout scheduled for 10 rounds took place at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Spence and van Heerden are both southpaw fighters, which isn’t the same kind of fight presented by two orthodox fighters and is usually a bit awkward to start. Spence had no issues adapting and beat on his opponent like any other fighter with any other stance.
Spence was impressive with the left hand and he set it up well. The mark of a great fighter is that he can do the simplest things in boxing, day-1 things, at such a high level that even an experienced fighter like Van Heerden cannot fully deal with it. For Spence, that was the basic one-two combination. It worked well and he landed enough of those lefts in the early going that van Heerden’s face was marked up in the first couple rounds.
In the 3rd round, Spence started to mix in the body attack a little more, which added to his opponent’s frustrations.
Van Heerden wouldn’t go the whole fight without at least some notable offense to speak of as he was able to back Spence off in the 4th round with a pair of body shots. At the time, van Heerden was trapped in the corner and Spence was teeing off, so it was impressive to see the South African born fighter actually fight his way out of trouble.
The problem for Van Heerden is that he was deducted a point in that same round for spitting his mouth piece out. The point deduction seemed abrupt because it hadn’t been a huge problem to that point and it hadn’t eaten up a bunch of time. However, I’m guessing the referee felt it was intentional and wanted to quickly stop the antics. To be fair, van Heerden was nowhere near up in the 4th and he was clearly losing the round despite some brief, albeit impressive, body work.
Spence resumed the beating and managed to up his body work game by sinking his upper body low and getting great power out of his hips when he threw the lead right hook to the body. The most impressive part of the body attack down the stretch was Spence’s ability to get the most out of his punches in a variety of ways. He wasn’t just pounding his opponent’s body with hooks, he was delivering hard shots to the body with straight lefts and jabs.
The jabs from Spence were a big part of this fight. While jabs are rarely the sexiest part of a fighter’s arsenal, Spence did a lot of work with the punch and used in a variety of ways. He wasn’t just setting his other punches up with the jab, he was connecting with it in a way that made a real impact on his opponent.
By the 5th round, van Heerden’s left eye was practically shut. He tried to initiate his fight, but he was just too overmatched.
van Heerden saw the canvas for the first time in his career in the 7th round after being swarmed by Spence. He went down a second time in that round following a devastating body shot from Spence.
The fight was eventually stopped in the 8th as Spence continued to land hard shots.
In the post-fight, Spence said he wants the biggest fights that can be made and he wants the best fighters in the welterweight division. Much has been made of whether or not Spence is deserving of a big fight at such an early point in his career, but it cannot be denied that he is a special talent, and if he is ready than who are any of us to doubt his skills.
I doubt we will see him against the likes of Thurman, Porter or Khan in his next outing, which is scheduled for November in Dallas, but I’m guessing 2016 will be a huge year for the former Olympian from Texas.