Fighters tense as big fight draws closer
By Jason Gonzalez from Los Angeles
The stage is set for welterweight world champions Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter to lock horns in the main event at Staples Center tomorrow night.
The welterweight unification bout will be distributed by FOX Sports PPV for a price of $74.95. The winner of the contest doesn’t only walk away with two straps [IBF & WBC], but will be crowned king of one of the deepest and enriched division in boxing.
The PBC [Premier Boxing Champions] stablemates have both attained a great level of success in their careers. The 29-year-old Spence sports a record of 25-0, (21) – while the soon to be 32-year-old Porter has only lost twice in 33 career bouts, scoring 17 knockouts.
Spence, a native of DeSoto, Texas will be making the fourth defense of his IBF championship. He was last seen dominating four division champion Mikey Garcia.
Porter will be making the second defense of his WBC belt. Throughout the promotion of the fight, Porter had expressed that he was going to make Spence uncomfortable and, “Take him into deep waters and drown him.” Spence responded with, “You fight like your drowning, but you don’t know how to swim. Wind milling and all kinds of stuff.”
Not taking kindly to what had been said, Spence continued to voice his feelings and sentiment.
"I don’t make anything of the words he’s saying. We train hard, and we’re focused and prepared for anything he brings Saturday night.”
"He says he’ll break me, he’s gonna stop me, he’s gonna beat me up. Keep that same energy come Saturday night. He’s been talking a lot, his dad [and trainer, Ken Porter] has been talking a lot, and I want to knock him out. After Saturday night they’re going to call me the ’showstopper,’ I can promise you that."
Originally from Brentwood, Long Island, the southpaw Spence has been vocal about wanting to knock Porter out.
"It’s important to me to get the knockout," he said. "It’s a goal of mine to stop him, and I hope to get it done. If I can’t get it done, then I’m just going to be comfortable with the victory. But you know I’m looking for the stoppage."
Porter has never been stopped before. He immediately dismissed Spence’s knockout prediction.
"He didn’t knockout 135-pound Mikey Garcia, He ain’t knocking out 147 ’Showtime’ Shawn Porter.”
And speaking of Garcia, oddly enough, Porter is an even bigger underdog against Spence than the much smaller Garcia was back in March. When Garcia fought Spence, he walked into the ring as a 4-1 underdog. As the Spence-Porter showdown looms, Porter is now a 10-1 underdog.
"Being in the underdog position is literally where I come from. Northeast Ohio is always an underdog," said Porter, who is originally from Akron, Ohio. "Everybody works where I come from. We always do the best we can."
Who knows what the oddsmakers see, but considering that Porter’s only losses were close decisions to Keith Thurman and Kell Brook, 10-1 odds feels extreme.
Porter has beaten Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner, Devon Alexander and Andre Berto. Granted, none of the fighters mentioned are as good as Spence, but still good wins, nonetheless. The victories should have enough merit to at least tighten those odds substantially.
Makes you wonder if Porter may be on a decline and possibly heading in the direction of being a shot fighter. In his last three fights against Adrian Granados, Danny Garcia, and Yordenis Ugas, each performance looked worse than the other. An argument can be made that Porter may have lost the fight to Ugas.
Lastly, we should take into consideration that Porter initially failed to make weight for the fight with Ugas.
But Porter isn’t concerned with this narrative at all.
"I expected it to get heated today. I know that if I fire at Errol, he’s going to fire back. That’s how the fight’s going to be as well. Everyone got a good taste of what you’ll see Saturday."