Coming off of a first round wipeout of unqualified mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo this past Saturday near Dallas, Errol Spence Jr says he’s looking to fight the big names in the division.
Trouble is, there might not be any to fight any time soon.
Spence (24-0, 21 KO) was disinterested in the name of Cuban Yordenis Ugas (22-3, 11 KO) when it was brought up at his post-fight press conference, though he did acknowledge that with Ugas ranked by the IBF, they would eventually likely be fighting.
Instead, he said, he’d rather face Jessie Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KO), but Vargas told ESPN that he’s still looking to make a rematch with Adrien Broner, and that has higher priority for him than fighting IBF titleholder Spence.
The other top names? They’re busy or not interested or the time just isn’t right. WBA titleholder Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KO) been on the shelf a while and though set to come back late this summer, won’t be fighting Spence or any of the other top names when he does.
Terence Crawford (33-0, 24 KO), who recently won the WBO belt from Jeff Horn, is with Top Rank, which makes it hard enough, and that’s a money fight to save for the absolute right time, too. Right now, it’s simply not worth enough for either man’s promoter to risk it, or at least that’s the conventional wisdom.
Danny Garcia (34-1, 20 KO) and Shawn Porter (28-2-1, 17 KO) are lining up to meet one another for the vacant WBC title on August 25, so they’re out for the time being.
Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KO) faces Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KO) on July 15 in Malaysia, and Manny and his team have talked more about moving down in weight to 140 or even 135, potentially to face Vasyl Lomachenko, than they have about fighting other top welterweights going forward.
With even Vargas looking like he’s not an option — though rematch talks with Broner could certainly fall through — it leaves Spence with very little to do right now as far as “legacy-building” fights that he prefers. In the end, someone like Ugas might actually be the best opponent available, for better or worse.
Or, well, there’s always Victor Ortiz, I guess.