New IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. said he has Floyd Mayweather to thank for helping him prepare for big fights such as the one he just won.
In an interview with ESPN, Spence said his prior sparring experience with former world champions Floyd Mayweather, Adrien Broner and Lamont Peterson prepared him for fighting world-class caliber opponents.
"I've got this far by getting experience early in my professional career after the 2012 Olympics when I was sparring a lot of big names and learned a lot from it," Spence said. "It helps being in training camps with champions, seeing how they train and handle the build-up to championships fights. You get to pick up things from them and learn different things. I was lucky to be in some good gyms early on. I trained with Mayweather early on in my career after only three fights. It was a great experience for me, just watching him hitting the bag and watching how hard he trained and worked. I sparred with Floyd too, I did great work, it was tit for tat. I never imagined myself sparring with Floyd Mayweather that early on in my career. I've also sparred with Adrien Broner and Lamont Peterson, which were great experiences. When I sparred Floyd, I earned his respect. Now he will call me on Facetime, he will text me to check up on me and see how I'm doing and stuff like that."
Competing in a welterweight division that includes Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, Spence believes beating Brook is the first step in becoming the sport's next great boxer.
"I think so, the names are there for me to fight to become the next great boxer," Spence said. "The weight class is stacked full of great guys, there are a lot of big fights out there for me. You have guys coming up from 140 pounds and there are so many good champions already in the weight class. I could be the next guy if I keep winning."
Spence stopped Brook in the 11th round of their May 27 encounter, which headlined a Showtime-televised card from Sheffield, England.