Should Errol Spence Retire?



Should Errol Spence Retire?

The question begged some folks who watched the Terence Crawford decimation of Errol Spence, coming in thought to be a stern rival for the Nebraska man campaigning to be known as The Baddest Man on the Planet…

Should Errol Spence retire?

As the Texan addressed Jim Gray in the post-brutalization center-ring chat, he sounded slurry. Now, he owns a drawl which can add to that perception, but after seeing Crawford’s hammer fist trauma inducing power shots, you had to worry.

Errol Spence is a likable dude, seeing him frolic with his kids during these fight weeks, one can’t see that and hold any bit of enmity toward the 33 year old. For that reason, many fans and openers have been saying they think it would be wise for Spence to retire.

Errol Spence

It's his call, of course! But fans are a bit divided on the subject, many think he should hang up the mitts while lots think he should fight on, at a more suitable weight class

Yes, he’s “only” 33…But in boxing years, hello, it can be like dog years.

For every year spent training and being a boxer, the wear and tear can accumulate and take a toll. OGs especially watched that Crawford whupping and winced: they’ve seen it before, how one specific outing can take all remaining tread of your tires.

“Meldrick Taylor” has been brought up, with fans of that Philly product hoping that Spence’s neurological future is brighter than Taylors.’ (See below, for HBO's handling of Meldrick Taylor's saga, it could be instructive for Spence.)

But of course, this decision belongs to Errol Spence.

He’s his own man, and you heard him with Gray—and had to salute his mettle—saying he wants to fight Crawford again. Yes, at a higher weight class, at 154 instead of the bride-too-far-to-cross welterweight limit. He mentioned November.

To be honest, I reacted with a “no” in my head when he said that.

My Take: I Don't Weigh In Very Often On Retirement Issue

I wasn’t thinking Errol Spence should retire, the older I get the less strident I’ve gotten about calling for fighters to retire, because I know now more about aging, and how competitive fires are not likely to die in a world-class athlete.

So, I messaged Derrick James, trainer of Spence. The Texan is now in London working with Anthony Joshua for AJ’s forthcoming re-match with Dillian Whyte (August 12).

Stephen A Smith had opined that Spence should consider retiring. Did James agree?

“No,” the trainer said. “He had a very bad night. 28 great nights, one bad night.”

Point taken.

Derrick James and Errol Spence

Derrick James at Errol Spence Jr open workout at the World Class Boxing Gym in Dallas, Texas, Thursday, March 31, 2022. James says ES had one bad night, that's all. (Cooper Neill / Showtime)

Taking a longer view/big picture view on the matter is not something this social media age encourages.

James isn’t wrong. That was one bad night, after a string of good/great/superlative ones.

And he is in a position to know, right, some of the reasons as to “why” Spence wasn’t on versus Crawford. My sense is, and I assume many of you readers feel the same, making 147 was excessively draining on Errol. You saw it in his face during fight week, it suggested that those seeing Crawford as the favorite were on the right hunt.

Errol Spence Longterm Health Has To Be A Consideration

That points toward some of the worries that some have about Spence’s health long term. It should go without saying that it’s mandatory for Spence to get the most thorough battery of tests, to make sure his faculties are OK. That slurring has to be examined.

Passing neuro tests, then test those waters at a weight class better suited for a 33 year old body, sounds like a plan. Probably, actually, the plan he will pursue. Because he’s been made for combat, to compete and test himself.

Here’s what some of you all said when I posed this question, Should Errol Spence Retire, to social media:

Here is YES to retirement, a NO, and two HELL NOs.

Got to like Mel's directness. Mel is thinking Errol Spence has more gas left in that tank.

Our guy in Boston wants to see Errol Spence at 154:

Not too many respondents to my question cited Errol Spence brain health/longterm health, for the record:

Mona indicates that Spence is a fighter, fighters fight, hello:

LOL, good wordplay from BBB:

Most respondents did say that they think not going right back in against Bud is a wiser play…


It's 90% of the time too late, rather than “too early.” Human nature, right?

My Three Cents: Opinions, everyone's got one. What many of us tend to not remember is that much the time, we form an opinion without knowing all the pertinent details. In this case, as we ponder Errol Spence perhaps exiting the stage after this beatdown, it's no secret that making 147 at 33 isn't the same as doing at 30…so if anyone was hoping to gain an edge by “allowing” Crawford to “get old,” well, that notion blew up in face.

Bud is a different breed, he looked like he could and would fight 30 rounds on Saturday.

Errol Spence is now in a different place than Crawford, isn't he? My thinking: fighters fight, it's what he knows, it's much of his reason for being. That ain't going away. I think a rest, then a fight at 154 to assess where he's at, then perhaps think about a Crawford rematch.


Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.