Leonard Bundu is north of 40 and was never an elite welterweight to begin with. But he is a world-class fighter. The Italian had lost just once in 36 professional fights, coming into his fight with Errol Spence Jr. Sunday night at Coney Island. That loss had come in December 2014 by unanimous decision against Keith Thurman, the undefeated WBA champion and one of the three or four top welterweights in the world.
Thurman dropped Bundu in the first and won every round, but he was unable to finish him off. Bundu is a very rugged fighter, with an erratic style and tricky rhythm. After hurting him early, Thurman found himself unable to work his way into position to land any more serious damage.
Spence had some difficulty early, though I’d argue he won both of the first two rounds. But Bundu came out switching stances and presenting tough, mobile targets. It was a good test for a rising star like Spence. And he passed.
By Round 4, Spence was in solid control of the fight, knocking out Bundu’s mouth piece with his first truly damaging blow. The knockout that ended the fight in Round 6 was brutal, yet clinical.
Spence dropped Bundu and had him in bad trouble. He then closed range with a perfect combination of patience and risk-taking. Spence brushed off a desperation overhand right from Bundu and finished him off with a barrage that sent him crumbling through the ring ropes, detached from his senses.
This was Spence’s second straight fight that leave him looking very good in comparison to other major stars. In April he smashed Chris Algieri, a fighter who had gone the distance with Manny Pacquiao and fought on competitive terms with Amir Khan. Now he has demolished a fighter that Thurman could not put away.
None of this proves that Spence would necessarily beat Pacquiao, Thurman or even Khan. Maybe he’s a talented front-runner, who can crush second-tier contenders.
But I’m inclined to believe he’s the real deal.