Errol Spence Jr. (born March 3, 1990) is an American professional boxer who is a unified welterweight champion, having held the IBF title since May 2017, and the WBC title since September 2019. As an amateur in the welterweight division, he won three consecutive United States national championships and represented the U.S.
In 2009, Spence won the U.S. National Golden Gloves, and also won three consecutive national amateur welterweight championships from 2009 to 2011, all in the welterweight division. Spence reached the quarter-finals at the 2011 World Championships, losing to Serik Sapiyev.
On 9 November 2012, a 22 year old Spence made his professional debut at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California in a scheduled 4 round bout against 19 year old Jonathan Garcia. Spence knocked Garcia down and out in the 3rd round. In December 2012, Spence knocked out Richard Andrews at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California, which was part of undercard for Amir Khan's comeback fight against Carlos Molina.
Spence fought eight times in 2013, being victorious in all of them, winning six inside the distance. He was taken the distance in an eight-round bout in October by Emmanuel Lartei Lartey. The fight was rather one-sided, with all judges scoring the fight 79-73 in favor of Spence. By the end of 2013, Spence had won all of his 10 professional fights, 8 of them by way of knockout.
Spence made his Showtime television debut on 27 June 2014 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas in a 10-round fight against Ronald Cruz. Spence was taken the distance and won a shutout unanimous decision.
On 13 December 2014, Spence beat Javier Castro by TKO in the 5th round at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
On 11 April 2015, Spence defeated Samuel Vargas by TKO in Round 4 of 10 in a Premier Boxing Champions fight card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, bringing his record to 16-0. On May 16, it was announced that Spence would feature on the undercard of Shawn Porter vs. Adrien Broner on June 20 at the MGM Grand Arena. Spence defeated Phil Lo Greco (26-1, 14 KOs) via 3rd-round TKO. Spence was originally scheduled to fight Roberto García. García backed out of the fight three days before the card due to weight issues. Spence landed 73 of 142 punched thrown (51%) and Lo Greco landed 19 of 132 (14%).
In October 2015 it was announced that Spence would fight at The Bomb Factory in Dallas on November 28 against Mexican boxer Alejandro Barrera (28-2, 18 KOs). Spence defeated Barrera via 5th-round TKO. This was an IBF eliminator for the number 2 spot in their welterweight contender rankings. Spence was ahead on all three judges scorecards (40-36, 3 times).
On 10 March 2016, it was announced that Spence would fight former light welterweight titlist Chris Algieri at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on 16 April, his biggest fight to date. The fight was scheduled for 10 rounds. In front of a pro-Algieri 7,628 crowd, Spence became the first boxer to stop Algieri. This was Spence's seventh straight knockout. The end came when Spence delivered a left hook to Algieri’s face. The hard shot sent Algieri straight to the canvas and referee Benjy Esteves waived the count. After the bout, Spence said "Kell Brook knows what time it is. We got to get in the ring and fight.". IBF later stated that Spence must have a final eliminator before he is declared mandatory challenger. . For the fight, Spence earned $225,000 whilst Algieri earned $325,000. CompuBox punch statistics showed that Spence landed 96 of 311 punches (31%), whereas Algieri landed 36 of 114 thrown (32%). The fight averaged 1.482 million viewers on NBC.
On 16 May 2016, Spence denied that his team turned down a fight against Brook, which had been previously insinuated by Eddie Hearn, Brook's promoter. Spence said that the IBF had ordered him to fight their #3 contender Konstantin Ponomarev in order to become the mandatory challenger to Brook. Although there were no agreements to fight, on June 9, Ponomarev injured his hand, forcing him out of the eliminator. Instead, it was confirmed that Spence Jr. would fight IBF #7 Leonard Bundu (33-1-2, 12 KOs) in the eliminator on August 21 at the Ford Amphitheater. The fight would be aired on a Sunday night edition of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC.
In January 2017, IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook and his team were in talks with Amir Khan over a potential fight, whilst also keeping the mandatory fight with Spence as second choice. During negotiations, Khan urged Brook to fight Spence first and eventually talks broke down between Brook and Khan. Brook's promoter Eddie Hearn mentioned talks were already ongoing with Spence's manager Al Haymon for a fight to take place possibly in the UK in May. Hearn received an extension from the IBF for negotiations between himself and TGB Promotions boss Tom Brown, as they were progressing. The purse bids for the fight was set for 7 February by the IBF. On February 1, Hearn claimed that Brook will be keeping his title and make the defense against Spence and that he had reached out to Spence's team, to no reply. He assumed that they wanted the fight to go to purse bids. Spence said that he had no problem travelling to the UK for the fight, regardless of negotiations. With a deal close to being reached a day before the purse bids, the IBF granted a week extension, pushing the purse bid back 7 days. On February 13, a deal was reached for the fight to take place in Sheffield on 20 May 2017. At a press conference at Bramall Lane, Sheffield on March 22, the fight was officially announced to take place on May 27, 2017 live on Sky Box Office in the UK and Showtime in the US.
On 3 October 2017, Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) vacated his WBA (Regular) title in hopes of challenging Spence for the latter's IBF title. Dan Rafael revealed that Spence was promised a $3.5 million purse from his manager Al Haymon for his next fight. On October 13, it was reported that terms would be finalised within a week. The fight was tentatively scheduled for Spence's 28th birthday, 13 January 2018 against Peterson. The event would be aired on Showtime. Peterson last saw action when he dethroned David Avanesyan in February 2017. The fight was confirmed on 14 October, with Barclays Center the front-runner to land the fight. At a presser, Spence spoke fondly of Peterson, "He's somebody I looked up to in the amateurs and I learned a lot from. I had a training camp with him at the Olympic training center. So he's a guy I really look up to. He's one of my favorite fighters. He'll fight anybody. I've never known him to say no to a fight. I'm looking forward to it. He's got true grit. He's a real fighter. He's a guy who gives it his all and has a big heart." On November 5, it was reported the fight was confirmed to take place at the Barclays Center in Brookyn on January 20, 2018.
On January 23, 2018 the IBF sent a letter to TGB Promotions ordering Spence to make a mandatory defence against unbeaten prospect Carlos Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs) next. Zanfer Promotions, who promote Ocampo were also notified and were given until February 22 to reach a deal before purse bids take place. Because Ocampo was not rated in the top 2 in the IBF rankings at the time, at purse bids, he would be entitled to 15% rather than the 25% that a mandatory challenger receives. On January 24, Showtime announced that Spence would next fight on June 16 in Dallas, Texas. On February 24, according to ESPN, the IBF ordered purse bids to take place on March 6. Four days later, it was revealed that both sides had reached a deal. On April 30, an official press release confirmed the bout would take place at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. In front of a sellout crowd of 12,604, Spence knocked Ocampo out in round 1 to retain his IBF title. In response to some body shots from Ocampo, Spence hit back with a hard left to the body that sent Ocampo to the canvas. Referee Lawrence Cole made the 10 count as Ocampo tried to get up, but was in too much pain. The time of the stoppage was at 3:00 of round 1. The knockout for Spence was his 11th consecutive stoppage since 2014. Spence stated he wanted to unify the division by going after the winner of the Shawn Porter vs. Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman and Terence Crawford. After the bout, Spence said, "I was a little disappointed. I wanted to give the crowd their money's worth. I wanted him to sustain a bit and give him some punishment, but the body shot got him and I dropped him." Spence wanted to go at least 5 rounds. According to Ocampo, it was overconfidence that caught up to him and ended his world title challenge. For the fight, Spence made $1.2 million and Ocampo was given a $75,000 purse. Numerous Cowboys players were in attendance, including quarterback Dak Prescott. The fight averaged 683,000 viewers and peaked at 726,000 viewers on Showtime, an increase from his previous bout.
On October 25, 2018 BoxingScene.com reported that negotiations between Spence and Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) were progressing, with the fight likely to take place in February 2019 on Showtime PPV. Garcia first began to call out Spence for a fight before he defeated and unified the lightweight division in July. On October 30, Garcia vacated his IBF lightweight title and the purse bid for the potential Richard Commey fight was cancelled. On November 13, PBC made an official announcement for their 2019 schedule. It was announced the fight between Garcia and Spence would take place at the welterweight limit at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on March 16, 2019 exclusively on FOX PPV. Many fans reacted to fight being announced. Some welcoming the fight and praising Garcia for 'daring to be great' and some fans believed the size difference would be too much as Spence is considered a big welterweight. .
Spence fought Shawn Porter on September 28, 2019 with the IBF and WBC welterweight titles on the line. Spence won by split decision with the judges scoring it 116–111, 116–111, 112–115. It was arguably a fight of the year candidate.
Spence was involved in a single-vehicle accident at 2:53 AM on October 10, 2019, and was hospitalized in the intensive care unit. According to Dallas police, Spence's Ferrari 488 Spider was "traveling at a high rate of speed" and then "veered left over the center median onto the southbound lanes and flipped multiple times, ejecting the driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt." Spence sustained facial lacerations, but no broken bones. Earlier in the night, he had been drinking alcohol. He was released from hospital 6 days later and was charged with a DWI, a class-B misdemeanor by the Dallas Police Department. Spence posted on Instagram "No broken bones I'm a savage!!" but deleted this post after receiving backlash, as fans believed he was lucky to be alive and stated that he could have seriously hurt others due to his drink driving.