Errol Spence Jr. and Dominic Wade have so far had a smooth ride on their journey towards contender status.
That smooth ride could become a bit bumpy on Friday, when both unbeaten prospects step up in opposition.
Spence will face Ronald Cruz in the 10-round main event bout at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. In the co-featured bout, Wade will take on Nick Brinson in a 10-round middleweight bout.
Both fights, along with the Marcus Browne-Donta Woods bout, will be part of a ShoBox: The New Generation telecast.
Spence (12-0, 10 KOs), from DeSoto, Tex., is coming off a first-round technical knockout over Raymond Charles on April 18 in San Antonio. Campaigning as a welterweight, Spence is considered one of the top, if not the top prospect from the team that represented the United States at the London Olympics in 2012.
Spence has won seven of his last eight bouts by knockout.
Cruz (20-3, 15 KOs) may be the fighter that can give Spence, who will have a two-inch height advantage, a serious challenge. The Puerto Rican-born fighter has power. Of his three losses, two of them were disputed, including his last fight against ormer welterweight beltholder Kermit Cintron and a split decision loss to Antwone Smith in September of 2012.
If Cruz can take Spence’s punches well, it will be interesting to see if Spence can and will be able to dominate a fighter he is expected to defeat.
Dominic Wade (15-0, 11 KOs) has demonstrated he can punch as a middleweight. He has done it against less than modest opposition, especially those who are stationary. Wade suffered a knockdown in his fight against Dashon Johnson on January 25, a fight that he would eventually win by unanimous decision.
He will face a boxer in Nick Brinson, who is riding a 10-fight unbeaten streak. Brinson (16-1-2, 6 KOs), who is coming off an eight-round unanimous decision over Lester Gonzalez on Oct. 25, has faced better opposition on paper than Wade.
Brinson’s most impressive victory to date was a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision over hard-hitting Jorge Melendez in June of last year, a fight in which both fighters were dropped to the canvas.
Unbeaten light heavyweight Marcus Browne (10-0, 7 KOs) was scheduled to face Yusef Mack, but the former world title challenger failed a pre-fight exam a few days ago. Woods (8-2, 7 KOs) took the fight on less than two days’ notice.
The hard-hitting Browne has won his last two bouts by decision, while Woods has lost his last two bouts.