Last Saturday, DeSoto-bred boxer Errol Spence Jr. won the world title in the International Boxing Federation welterweight division, taking down a tough Brit named Kell Brook in a packed Sheffield, England, stadium. And maybe “took down” is underplaying it. Spence crushed the dude. In fact, he fractured Brook’s eye socket, which will require surgery not even a year after Brook got titanium around his other ocular cavity. Spence’s professional record now counts 22 wins, 19 by knockout, with zero losses.
So why am I, a 36-year-old mom who’s never previously followed boxing, nor any sport for that matter, on the Errol Spence Jr. fanwagon? You can read a little about my history with the boxer here, which all has to do with the Spence profile that appeared in our May issue. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Spence has puppy-dog eyes and 8-pack abs. Just saying. Let me expound, however, on a few specific post-match thoughts about why I heart Errol Spence Jr.:
1. That gold fringe getup. You know that flirty line of fringe running along the bottom of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders’ snug mini-vests? Yeah, that’s real cute, but on Saturday, Spence managed to out-Dallas the DCC. He arrived in the ring wearing a white robe-and-trunk set lined with gold lamé and trimmed with seven rows of gold fringe. An excellent choice. There’s a time to steer clear of clichés, but when you’re a Texas-bred boxer walking into a Sheffield stadium full of 27,000 booing Brits, you just have to lean into it.
2. He’s got style. The Saturday fight was a nail-biter, a “will he or won’t he” situation for almost 10 rounds until Brook finally broke in the 11th. Why didn’t Spence unleash some powerful eye-socket crushers early in the match? As I’ve found reading about the fighter since, this is all part of Spence’s style. He’s known for delivering body shots that weaken his opponent, and then he’s able to pinpoint and go after their vulnerabilities. All of which is to say, it made for a good show.
3. He’s silent but savvy. One of the major reasons I took a liking to Spence is that he’s a quiet guy. As Joe DePaolo wrote in his D mag profile, Spence hardly spoke with his trainer during their first three years together. But just because Spence is more reserved than the over-the-top De La Hoya-types, doesn’t mean he can’t mock his opponents like the best of them. The night after his fight, Spence posted an Instagram Story, a video of himself, not saying a single word, just eating a chocolate brownie—a pretty clever troll considering “chocolate brownies” is the nickname Kell Brook has given his fists, which he threatened Spence with in the days leading up to the fight.
4. He has a stellar nickname. While boxing nicknames can sometimes dig deep in the well of overtly aggressive tough-guy tropes (take the The Destroyer or The Executioner, for example), Spence’s nickname is pure and simple: The Truth. Now, the DMN’s Kevin Sherrington, in an otherwise interesting column, suggested Spence lose the name, arguing that it was previously used by a boxer in the ’80s whom he once saw in Atlantic City. Oh, c’mon. None of that matters. This is 2017, Kev. There’s a whole new generation of boxing fans cropping up (this mom, for one, and also Dez Bryant). I say stick with it. It’s strong yet not barbaric, just like Spence. But most importantly it makes for a great hashtag: #TheTruthhurts.
5. “He wouldn’t take a knee.” That’s what Spence’s trainer wrote when I texted, asking how bad off Spence would have to be to surrender a fight like Kell Brook did (citing impaired vision). And, yeah, no boxing team is going to admit weakness. But I choose to believe, in my heart of hearts, that The Truth never bends. (I’m telling you, Sherrington, that nickname’s got legs!)