Errol Spence Jr. is a heavy favorite. Shawn Porter says he’ll find a way to win.
By John J. Raspanti
I’m no gambling man, but Shawn Porter appears to be in a heap of trouble as he prepares to fight Errol Spence Jr. this Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.
According to the oddsmakers, IBF welterweight champion Spence is favored by as much as 8-1 to defeat WBC titleholder Porter. Some have it closer, but not by much.
The always shy Freddie Roach told www.boxingnews24.com, “Spence kills him. A much better fighter. Different class.”
Jeez! Should Porter even show up? Of course. And he’ll do more than that. He’s like fighting a furious storm at night. Porter stalks, mauls, and attacks. He’s won 28 of 30 fights, with 17 KO’s.
Porter won world championship honors in 2013 by defeating Devon Alexander. Kell Brook took his title a year later by close decision. A draw against Julio Diaz was cleared up a year later with a dominant victory. Porter defeated childhood friend, Adrien Broner-which, in turn, earned him a shot at then-welterweight champion, Keith Thurman. Porter has his moments, roughing Thurman up, and winning some rounds, but Thurman’s quickness was enough to edge Porter’s aggressiveness.
When a rematch with Thurman didn’t materialize, Porter defeated Danny Garcia to capture the WBC welterweight belt.
Porter told Spence during a joint appearance on “PBC Face to Face” last week that his edge in experience and big-fights will pay dividends when they meet in the squared circle.
“I don’t think that you’ve been in the ring with anyone that has made you adapt,” said Porter. “Made you make adjustments; has made you get out of your comfort zone.”
Looking bored, Spence said, “He doesn’t have the skills to beat me. I’m not worried about Shawn boxing like he did with Ugas, or what he did with Danny Garcia. He’s going to have no choice but to come forward.”
Spence’s confidence is understandable. No fighter has been able to make a dent in his 25-fight career. He’s athletic and aggressive. He moves like an assassin in the dark. His bodywork can make an observer watching on television groan. Spence will likely have an edge in strength as well.
He captured the IBF welterweight title by traveling to Sheffield, England, to take on then-champion, and hometown hero, Brook. Spence, ignored the pro-Brook crowd, broke down Brook to win by 11th round stoppage.
Title defenses over former champion, Lamont Peterson, and contender, Carlos Ocampo, followed. In a much anticipated (by some) mega-fight last March, Spence pitched a shutout over much-smaller, Mikey Garcia.
Spence believes that no matter what Porter brings with him into the ring, he’ll have an answer.
“You (Porter) are going to be swinging wildly and you’ll just miss,” said Spence. “I’m going to punish you. Watch.”
“The blessed part about it is, I’m not banking on that to beat you,” retorted Porter. “I’m not banking on my will. I’m not banking on my heart.”
“But the best thing about that is,” Spence said as Porter stared at him. “I know I’ve got more talent than you.”
Not missing a beat, Porter shot back, “Guess we’re going to find out.”
Yes, we are. Spence has advantages in height and reach. He’s at his peak physically and mentally. Porter looked sluggish in his last fight against Ugas. I’m sure he’ll be in tip-top shape Saturday, but unless he can find a way to hurt Spence, I can’t see him winning.
So, I guess the oddsmakers are right. But to me, at least, this is one intriguing fight. The always-determined Porter will make Spence work for it.