The International Boxing Federation welterweight title changed hands on Saturday, May 27th, when Errol Spence Jr. stopped the previously undefeated Kell Brook in the eleventh round in front of Brook’s fellow countrymen at Bramall Lane in Yorkshire, England.
For Spence, claiming the IBF title is something that he’s been hoping to do for his entire life. Shortly after his big victory, Spence stopped by the CBS Local studios to discuss what it means to be champion, the legacy of the late, great Muhammad Ali, and his goals for his career moving forward.
“When you say Errol Spence Jr., IBF champion, that means everything,” Spence told CBS Local. “That’s been something that I’ve wanted my whole life. It’s something that when I first started boxing, that was a dream of mine.”
Spence’s visit to the CBS Local studios came nearly a year to the day since the passing of one of boxing’s biggest legends and the fighter most consider to be the greatest of all-time, Muhammad Ali. Ali was known for his boxing prowess, but perhaps was more widely revered and respected for his work outside of the ring.
“Muhammad Ali, his boxing, he’s the greatest of all-time. But, he’s the greatest of all-time because of what he did outside the ring. He was a revolutionary, he spoke on social issues, even when it was against what other people believed. He still did whatever he believed in regardless of the consequences. He was the people’s champ, everybody loved him no matter where he went. I don’t think we’ll ever have a boxer like that, that impacted boxing and not even just boxing but sports as a whole.”
Now that Spence is the IBF welterweight title holder, the eyes of the boxing world have turned to the next biggest match that can be had within the division: Spence vs. WBA champion Keith Thurman. While a fight with Thurman is on the ledger, Spence has a bigger overall goal in mind as he enters this new stage of his career holding the title belt.
“The key is becoming the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world and becoming that number one guy,” said Spence. “Clearly, timing is everything. I’m going to get my shot at Keith Thurman, it probably won’t be right now, but it will be soon. I’ll have to make the most out of it like I did with Kell Brook. I have to stay focused and keep doing what I’ve been doing. When I beat him, I think it’s undeniable that I’m the best welterweight in the world.”