Published July 23, 2012
When most residents of the city of Dallas are fast asleep, Errol Spence Jr. can be found sprinting through the streets. Spence, a Lone Star State native who knows just how sweltering Texas mornings can be, steps out as early – or late – as 1 a.m. to get in his workout.
"In the summertime, it gets real hot. Like a hundred and something degrees," Spence , whose nickname is "The Truth," told NBC, noting that his habit of staying up late playing video games makes it difficult to get up in the morning. So the 22-year-old night owl hits the road in the cool, late-night hours, usually running a six-mile course.
While Spence's nickname may sound solemn, its meaning is fairly simple. "I just win a lot," he explained. "I've been winning for a long time and somebody just called me that."
Before Spence took up boxing at age 15, his only fighting experience was outside the ring, having brawled in several street fights as a youth. Errol Spence Sr. often watched Saturday night fights with his son in a barber shop and played a key role in encouraging his son to stick with the sport.
"At first I didn't like it. I wanted to quit. But he wouldn't let me quit," the younger Spence told NBC. "He told me if you're quitting this when it's hard, then you''l quit anything in life. So I stuck with it and I got good. And now I'm an Olympian."
Spence Sr., a truck driver, also took the graveyard shift in order to be able to drive his son to the gym.
"My father making that sacrifice, it means everything," the younger Spence said. "I would love to put a gold medal around his neck for what he's done for me."
Spence Jr. didn't always have Olympic dreams.
"When I first picked up the gloves, I was more thinking about going pro and getting that world title, winning the world title," Spence told FOX Sports Southwest. "As I got more into it and learned more about amateur boxing, one of my dreams was getting the gold medal."
Spence won three consecutive U.S. amateur welterweight championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011. While he won the welterweight title at the Olympic Trials, he lost in the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Boxing Championships in Azerbaijan to Serik Sapiyev, according to FOX Sports. Still, Spence finished among the top 10 in his weight class, earning him a ticket to London.
Spence told FOX Sports that walking with Team USA in the Opening Ceremony is one of the events in London he's most looking forward to.
"A lot of people tell me it's one of the best parts of going to the Olympics, being with other athletes," he said. "Being with some of the basketball players from around the world should be a great experience."