Professional Sports

Spence, Porter to fight for two welterweight belts Sept. 28

In a crowded welterweight division, Shawn Porter and Errol Spence Jr. will meet in a title unification fight Sept. 28 at Staples Center.

Over the years, there have been some great welterweight unification battles. Think Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia, Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns, and Felix Trinidad vs. Oscar De La Hoya. This one could join the list of those great fights.

“Southpaws always bring the best out of me,” said Porter, 31, an aggressive orthodox fighter from Akron, Ohio who now resides in Las Vegas. Porter’s record of 30 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw may give him a slight edge in pro experience than Spence. However, some boxing analysis say that Porter barely pulled off the split decision win against welterweight contender Yordenis Ugas (24-4-0) earlier this year.

Porter’s close losses to Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia may likely add to his expertise of adjusting to different styles of fighters. Porter’s wins include 17 by way of knockout.

“This is something that I’ve wanted for a long time. To be a unified champion. To have that WBC belt,” said Spence, who has a record of 25 wins with 21 by knockout. 

The International Boxing Federation welterweight champion, Spence, 29, is a power-punching southpaw from Long Island, New York but has made his home in Desoto, Texas. His last bout defending his IBF belt was against undefeated challenger Mikey Garcia. Spence won by unanimous decision. It was the first time he went the distance.

His performance at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, drew a crowd of more than 47,000, that included likely future opponent WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and boxing fan Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

In one of the biggest pro fights of their careers, knockouts are predicted from both camps.  

“I’m looking to make a statement by being the first person to knock Shawn out,” Spence said. “I showed people that I have the great boxing skills against Mikey Garcia, and now I’m going to remind everyone about my power on September 28.”

Spence added: “The winner of this fight is definitely going to be the best welterweight in the world. There’s no way around it. Being a unified champion and stamping my place in the division makes me even hungrier to win.”

Porter promised a first-round knockout of Spence and added: “It’s still going to be exciting.”

“There’s a combination that comes from me that you can’t get anywhere else,” he said. “It’s the speed, power, agility and intelligence. You have to make a lot of adjustments on the fly and be ready. I’m hard to prepare for.”

The 28 fight card includes the co-main event with WBC Super Middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell facing unbeaten former champion David Benavidez and several undercards. Fox Pay-Per-View is televising the card, starting at 6 p.m.

Marie Y. Lemelle is a freelance journalist in Glendale. She can be reached on Instagram @platinumstarpr or Twitter @platinumstar.