Errol Spence Jr unified the IBF and WBC welterweight titles with a rugged, hard-fought win over Shawn Porter tonight in the FOX pay-per-view main event, and as soon as it was over, it was announced that Spence would make his next defense against former two-division titleholder Danny Garcia.
Spence (26-0, 21 KO) and Porter (30-3-1, 17 KO) went back-and-forth for much of the fight, and while Spence had the statistical edges, it was a fight that went far beyond the number of punches counted by CompuBox.
Porter, 31, brought his true A-game to this fight. On paper, he couldn’t box with Spence, and he never tried, roughing up the 29-year-old Texan from the get-go and making it as much a pure brawl as he could throughout.
Spence, however, has to be credited for showing a great chin and also the engine to go a full and exhausting 12 rounds, largely fought at Porter’s pace. Porter, too, deserves incredible credit for his dogged approach and toughness and stamina, particularly because he took a lot of really good body shots from Spence and rarely showed any ill effects.
Spence did drop Porter in the 11th round, catching him with a nasty, clean left hand on the jaw. A lot of fighters may well have been knocked out cold on that shot, but Porter dropped to a knee, popped back up, and went back to the fight.
In the end, it was a split decision. One judge had it 115-112 for Porter, while the other two scored the fight 116-111 for Spence. Bad Left Hook had it 115-112 and 115-113 for Spence on two separate cards.
“Shawn Porter is a rough, awkward fighter. He made it real awkward fighter. I didn’t look how I wanted to look, I looked a little sloppy in there, but that’s a credit to Shawn Porter,” Spence said.
Speaking of the 11th round knockdown, Spence said, “All my punches had bad intentions tonight. I wanted to show I can sit there and bang with one of the roughest, toughest fighters in the welterweight division, and that’s what I did.”
“He’s a strong kid. We both came in here to do the job, and he got the split decision. I take nothing from him,” Porter said. “I knew it was gonna be a dogfight and so did he. He got a bit more than he expected, but the dog in him came out, as well.”
As for the future fight between Spence and Garcia, no date or location was given, but it’s clear that’s next. Porter will go back to the drawing board, but there’s no doubt a big fight out there for him, too. He probably surprised a lot of people tonight with just how hard he made this for the celebrated Spence, and this is even a fight I think we could see again in about a year. There are only so many top-level matchups out there, and this fight delivered.