Johannesburg - Does Errol Spence Jr’s entry into the International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight kingdom pronounce him as the real deal in a division regarded as an enclave of top fighters?
The 27-year-old American registered his 22nd victory in an unbeaten run as a prized fighter by dethroning the fancied Englishman Kell Brook in an 11th round stoppage in front of a partisan crowd at Bramall Lane Football Ground in Sheffield, England, two weeks ago.
In doing so, Spence, who joined the professional ranks in 2012, recorded his 19th stoppage victory in his brief career.
He also brought to a halt Brook’s reign after 1 015 days as titleholder.
Spence’s win earned him the moniker “Terminator” because of his awesome ring talent.
And his win begs the question of whether he is the best fighter to so far uphold the status of this weight category.
Longest reigning titleholder
This class has been dominated by US boxers and boasted top-class kingpins who ruled with distinction.
Some of them include Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr, Zab Judah, Shawn Porter and Cory Spinks, the son of former world heavyweight champion Leon.
South Africa’s Isaac “Angel” Hlatshwayo is also the erstwhile kingpin, who defended his diadem once when he was champion for 132 days.
Puerto Rican Félix Trinidad, who lifted the belt on June 9 1993, stands out as the longest reigning titleholder, having been in charge of the crown for 2 449 days.
He made 15 successful defences.
This comparison excludes fighters who fought before Trinidad won the title.
Can Terminator add more punch in the league by keeping the home fires burning and become the division’s best ruler?
He is a quick mover inside the ring and uses his left jabs and hooks effectively to floor his foes.
Spence’s punching power was evident when he floored Leonard Bundu in the sixth round in a non-title scrap in New York in August.
That was before his majestic showing against Brook.
Having been at the IBF helm for 15 days now, Terminator’s star may rise and enhance his status as the governing body’s best welterweight.