Floyd Mayweather is one elite welterweight Errol Spence Jr. is absolutely sure he’ll never fight.
Mayweather is 43, seemingly committed to retirement and wouldn’t consider the 30-year-old Spence as a potential opponent even if boxing’s biggest star did decide to fight again. Hypothetically, however, Spence is confident he would have beaten Mayweather if they could have fought when both boxers were in their physical primes.
Spence was asked about boxing Mayweather by former NBA player Matt Barnes as part of Showtime’s “All The Smoke” podcast, which Barnes co-hosts with another retired NBA player, Stephen Jackson.
“A hundred-percent focused, in my prime, I think I would beat Floyd,” Spence said in an episode that premiered Tuesday on Showtime’s YouTube channels.
Barnes pressed Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) for reasons why the unbeaten IBF/WBC welterweight champion could’ve beaten Mayweather, who was boxing’s long-reigning pound-for-pound king.
“Floyd is very mentally tough,” Spence said. “He’s very mentally tough. You know, I would cut him off, I would use my jab a lot. A lot of people – like even the Oscar De La Hoya fight – Oscar De La Hoya should’ve used his jab a lot more. I would use my jab, I would throw combinations, I would work the body and then work the head. Because a lot of people, they go to the head and then work the body. But if you go for the head, and then you can’t hit him in the head, and then, you know, you can’t hit him in the head.
“So, I would work the body, then work the head, and then just try to break him down physically because I know [he’s] not breaking down mentally. He’s just like one of those tough fighters, just like Shawn Porter. You’re not gonna break him down mentally. You can break him down physically, but mentally he’s always gonna be there. So, I would just try to break him down physically.”
Mayweather was 30 when he defeated De La Hoya by split decision in their 12-round fight for the WBC 154-pound championship. De La Hoya was 34 when Mayweather beat him in May 2007 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) retired for the third time following his 10th-round, technical-knockout victory over UFC superstar Conor McGregor in August 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The five-division champion sparred against Spence early in Spence’s professional career, but matching them in an official fight was never a serious consideration.
Spence expects to fight in October or November, but the date of his return to the ring hasn’t been determined due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DeSoto, Texas, native hasn’t fought since suffering cuts to his face and damaged teeth during a one-car accident October 10 in Dallas that resulted in Spence being charged with driving while intoxicated.
The 2012 Olympian expects to regain his old form immediately. Spence also has said that he wants to face a top opponent in his first fight since he edged Shawn Porter (30-3-1, 17 KOs) by split decision in their 12-round, 147-pound title unification match September 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.