They banged the drums Thursday afternoon at the Dream Hotel in Manhattan for the Saturday night fight card to unfold at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, select portions of which will run on Showtime.
The main event pits Errol Spence, actively craving and aiming toward all-time great status, against rock-solid Lamont Peterson, seeking to elevate his legacy two notches, by taking down someone regarded as a near-future superstar by many pundits and fans.
Lou Dibella, the promoter of the Barclays clashes, presided over the presser, which had a most civil tone to it. Spence and Peterson are cut from similar cloth, texture and tone. Both are soft spoken, just about never talk shit. They didn’t on this occasion, either, about their welterweight tussle.
The sharpest points were made by Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza, who told the assembled that he loves his job, because he deals with men of character, like the lads on stage. Also, Showtime wants to and succeeds at giving people not showcase fights but more so the best fighting the best tangoes. You don’t have to Google the B side names, was his assertion, not on our cards. Shot fired at HBO. “Let’s not group it all together,” he requested, when people are talking about having so much televised fare.
Later, Spence took aim at Keith Thurman, not not being an active fighter. He’s going to fight three times this year and won’t be wasting time on begging Thurman to rumble. Real champions fight the other champs, the potential rivals and he noted that Thurman and Danny Garcia haven’t shown the same desire to be as active as he. “I’m not gonna wait,” Spence asserted.
Peterson is never pointed. He’s among the sports gentlest spirits, to my mind. He allowed that he needs to win this fight, and then win some other coin-flip fights against A siders, and then he could make it into the Hall of Fame, which is his desire.
—Spence and Barry Hunter, trainer to Lamont Peterson, both predicted there’d be early tactical rounds, and then rumbling.
—Spence is setting himself up as an old school style pugilist. Yes, it’s a business…but a sport and a matter of pride more so. He said he wants to clean out 147 and “be the last man standing.” He has a POV that people young and old can look up to.
–Two bouts, a light heavyweight, and a heavyweight tango, will be streamed by Showtime before their main card. Marcus Browne v France Ntetu is a 175 battle, and Adam Kownacki versus Iago Kilajdze, trained by Freddie Roach is the heavyweight scrap.