Tonight, one of boxing’s transcendent talents looks to continue to greatness.
Ever since he turned pro seven years ago, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence has been dominant in just about every fight of his pro career. From his fourth or fifth fight on, Spence has faced calls to fight tougher opposition, but the problem was, tougher opposition would have been near impossible to find. With a unique combination of size for the weight class, balance, hand speed, and immeasurable calm, Spence remained relatively unchallenged as his pro career progressed. When that challenge finally came against Kell Brook in England, Spence preserved, knocking out the more experienced Englishmen to win his first world title.
Now, in his fourth defense of the title, Spence latest challenge is current WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter of Cleveland, Ohio, who meets Spence tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on PBC on Fox PPV, with both men’s titles on the line.
Ideally, Porter is just the kind of opponent you need to fight against Spence, a technically sound pressure fighter who is at his best gets in his opponents faces breaks them down physically and mentally throughout the fight. That’s what Porter did when he lifted the title off Danny Garcia last September.
But Spence is a different animal. The Dallas native is coming a massive win, outclassing three division world champion Mikey Garcia last March in front of over 40,000 people in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Spence landed a hundred sixty more punches than Garcia, landing at a clip of thirteen more punches a round! He never let the undefeated Garcia get into the fight, establishing his pace with movement and punches.
Meanwhile, Porter is coming off a tough battle with Cuban Yordenis Ugas in his last fight in February, where he needed a late rally to get a split decision victory in a fight than many thought Ugas won. Porter was out-landed 117 to 110 in that fight, and it seems an indicator that Porter may be a little past his best. That’s not the kind of thing you want against a guy like Spence.
The key to this fight is probably body shots. When Porter took the title from Garcia, he landed 58 body-shots in twelve rounds. Against Ugas, Porter landed a measly twenty body-punches. Not what he needs to win fights. Meanwhile, Spence landed forty-five body-punches against Garcia, which was important to him keeping control the pace and punishing the smaller man.
Porter supporters have to hope the Ugas fight was anomaly, that Porter is the guy who beat Adrien Broner and Garcia, who got robbed in a fight many thought he won against Keith Thurman. He will need to be that guy to have even a remote chance. But likely this is just another step on Errol Spence’s path to greatness.
We just hope Porter gives him the chance to prove it.
The stats here are courtesy of our friends at BoxStat
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