Jason Gonzalez was ringside for the exciting Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter fight.
He filled this report.
A few days before the big fight at Staples Center, Shawn Porter stated that he had the “right combination” as well as the “right recipe” to make Errol Spence uncomfortable.
When Porter was asked by the media to elaborate on his claim, Porter suggested that by being aggressive and mixing it up with Spence could potentially give him a lot of problems.
“Countering him [Spence] effectively, will be a cause for it to linger in the back of his mind," said Porter.
There was some merit to what Porter was saying, now 30-3-1, (17). Sadly, he was on the losing end of a split decision. Porter was sure right about one thing, Spence was very uncomfortable.
Spence was relegated to fight Porter’s type of fight in order to secure the “W”. A pair of scorecards read 116-111 for Spence, while the third official scorer gave the nod to Porter with a score of 115-112. Maxboxing had it 115-112 for Spence.
The telling point was the 11th round knockdown Spence earned over his rugged counterpart. The raucous crowd of 16,702 would concur. With the victory Spence now adds the WBC welterweight title alongside his IBF strap that he took from Kell Brook two years ago.
“It feels good to win," Spence said afterward. "This is a lifetime dream. It shows hard work pays off. "
"Shawn Porter is a rough and awkward fighter. He made it real awkward for me and I looked kind of sloppy in there and didn’t look how I wanted to look," he said. "That’s a credit to Shawn Porter. He’s a rough, rugged fighter."
The fistic fury between both combatants caused for multiple shifts in momentum. Porter entered the contest as a significant underdog. However, he demonstrated that there is more to his arsenal than just his physical mauling style. Porter’s intelligent aggression prevented Spence from dictating the terms of the scrap. Spence tried working the jab and then going to the body of Porter. However, Spence was forced to abandon his game plan every time Porter would feint his way inside and land solid punches on the head and body of his opponent.
"I’ve said this before, I’ve had a lot of experience in the boxing ring. Did you enjoy that fight?" Porter asked, to a massive ovation from the fans.
The southpaw Spence, who improved to 26-0, (21) dodged some rocky moments in the contest by connecting regularly with a short-left hand to the head of Porter on the inside. In all fairness, both fighters traded hard shots over the course of 12 rounds.
Fight fans saw Porter make his way inside and then outhustle Spence in the middle rounds. But to Spence’s credit he was just as relentless. Spence retaliated with some heavy artillery of his own. The dynamic of the fight drastically altered in the 11th round. Spence connected with a picture perfect short left hook on Porter’s jaw that caused his opponent’s glove to touch the canvas. The resilient Porter immediately rose to his feet, unfortunately for him it was too late. His fate had been sealed. The two-point deficit was a lot to overcome in such a close fight.
No matter what happens moving forward, Porter is always one fight away from getting right back into the mix of things.
"I’ve been on Shawn Porter for a long time. I know how he comes to fight. He doesn’t quit," said Spence following his fourth successful defense of his title. "He’s like a pit bull, going to keep coming making it awkward. I wanted to put his will to the test. I out-willed the stronger guy."
The 29-year-old Spence, who is nicknamed “The Truth”, well the truth be told he had trouble with Porter’s grueling and frenetic style. Porter’s ability to vary his attack, combined with footspeed and lots of fakes was reminiscent of players on the gridiron. Porter was a former football player in his younger days. He fights like just like a football player folks.
"I think the knockdown was the difference," said Porter, 31, originally from Cleveland, Ohio now fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada. "I just hope everyone enjoyed this. This is what we came for and we definitely put on a show."
"He’s a strong kid," said the very gracious Porter. "We both came in here to do the job. He got the split decision. I take nothing away from him I knew it was going to be a dog fight. I think he knew it was going to be a dog fight. He was victorious and I congratulate him and his team."
You didn’t need 20/20 vision to see that Spence had difficulty keeping Porter off him for the duration of the bout. Spence started to slowly chop away with short hard shots on the inside of Porter. In the second half of the fight, Spence responded by meeting Porter with the same aggression he was dishing out.
"All my punches had bad intentions tonight," said Spence of Desoto, Texas. "I boxed against Mikey Garcia, but I wanted to show I could sit down and punch with one of the roughest fighters in the welterweight division and that’s what I did. All credit to Shawn for showing tremendous heart."
If Spence is a man of his word, and there is no reason to believe that he’s not, a fight with the WBA champion Manny Pacquiao is next. For quite some time now Spence has vowed to “clean his side of the street first” [meaning the PBC side] before ever contemplating a showdown with the WBO champion Terence Crawford. With these two names now in the equation, there are two components that factor in. One, is the soon to be 41-year-old Pacquiao willing to fight Spence?
The consensus is a resounding no. But until Pacquaio says otherwise, it’s a possibility.
As for Crawford, who is promoted by Top Rank, don’t expect a truce being called between Bob Arum and Premier Boxing Champions head honcho Al Haymon in the foreseeable future. Remember it’s boxing and the sport is never practical. In the welterweight division, the only fight that matters is between Spence and Crawford. Regrettably it doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to happen, yet fans alike have been clamoring for this fight for the past two years.
Spence’s glory in the ring was short lived. After the decision was announced, former WBC champion Danny Garcia climbed into the ring to crash the party. The Puerto Rican native of Philadelphia challenged the victor. Garcia’s only losses have come to Keith Thurman and Porter.
"It was a tough fight like I said it would be, but Spence is a top dog. Let’s get it on," Garcia said. "It was a 50/50 fight and a split decision and Shawn Porter is a tough guy to look good against. So, I’m here to tell Errol Spence, I want you next, baby. Let’s get it on."
Spence acknowledged Garcia, ensuring to give him his props. Spence also made sure to call out Pacquiao too.
"I’m the only unified champion. The next fight I do want is Manny Pacquiao. But if not, I’ll go against my man Danny Garcia," Spence said. "Just like I tell Al Haymon, you line them up and I will knock them down."
Considering that Garcia and Spence are stablemates, you would be foolish to think that they aren’t fighting each other next.
In the co-feature bout of the evening, super middleweight David Benavidez pummeled Anthony Dirrell. Benavidez opened a massive cut on the former champion’s eyebrow. Dirrell was bleeding profusely, prompting his corner to call a halt to the bout in the ninth round. With the victory, Benavidez recaptured the title that he was once forced to relinquish after testing positive for cocaine one year ago.