Fights Picks: Errol Spence vs. Shawn Porter
On Saturday, Errol Spence Jr. will put his IBF welterweight title on the line against WBC counterpart Shawn Porter in an intriguing unification matchup at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on FS1 Pay-per-view at 9 p.m. PT/ 6 p.m. ET.
Spence, who is rated No. 1 by The Ring at 147 pounds, was a standout amateur who represented the U.S. at the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics. Since turning professional in the fall of 2012, “The Truth”, has risen to prominence, ripping the IBF title from Kell Brook in thrilling fashion in May 2017. Since then, the 29-year-old southpaw has defended the title on three occasions.
Porter, who is rated No. 5 by The Ring, was also a top amateur before turning professional in 2008. The 31-year-old Las Vegas resident outpointed Devon Alexander to claim the IBF title in 2013 but lost it the following year to Brook. “Showtime” rebounded well and narrowly edged Danny Garcia to claim the vacant WBC title in August 2018. He has made one successful defense.
How will Spence (25-0, 21 knockouts) deal with the marauding pressure Porter brings? Will Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) be able to off-set the more skilled Texan? Can Spence win ugly, or will he be dragged into a dogfight? If Porter’s roughhouse tactics don’t work, will he have a Plan B?
Online gambling group William Hill lists Spence as a 1-9 (-900) favorite, while Porter is priced at 5-1 (+500). The draw is 22-1 (+2200).
Here’s how the experts see it:
THE RING MAGAZINE/RINGTV.COM
TOM GRAY: SPENCE UD
It’s all but impossible for Porter to outbox Spence, so he’ll be bringing the heat. However, “Showtime” knows he can’t attack with abandon, otherwise he opens himself up to Spence’s counter punching weaponry. Porter will therefore try to make his raids energy-filled and hard to read, but I think he gets caught on the way in. “The Truth” might not be Thomas Hearns, but he hits hard enough to do damage and that will turn Porter’s game plan upside down. After he’s been hit a few times, I expect Porter to stay outside more than he should, and Spence will cruise to a wide decision victory.
RON BORGES: SPENCE UD
Although Porter is strong and will have his moments if he can force his way inside, in the end Errol Spence has too much of everything. Spence wins a unanimous decision.
MICHAEL WOODS: SPENCE UD
Not going bravely against the flow here. Shawn Porter will be the bulldog, press, get in the face of Errol Spence. But unless he’s landing… I don’t wanna say a LUCKY punch, but unless he lands something so cleverly timed and placed as to discombobulate the Texan, then he gets outboxed by someone a full notch better than him. Spence is a Top 5 fighter, overall, against a man who is Top 5 in his stacked division. Folks thinking along my lines will have more so a different question, not who wins, but how? Can Spence be the first to stop Porter? I say no… Porter’s pride and chin make it so this one goes the distance. Spence wins 8-3-1 or so.
MARTY MULCAHEY: SPENCE UD
My hope is Shawn Porter forces Errol Spence into a higher gear than Mikey Garcia did, but I don’t see Porter being able to trap or muscle Spence into mistakes. Porter is very good at everything but lacks that one elite weapon to propel him over the top against a top 10 pound-for-pound boxer. I enjoy Porter’s volume-based bullying style, and he will set a good pace in the first four rounds, winning a couple. However, Spence’s timing as well as his height and reach advantages will negate Porter, just as they did against Garcia. Spence wins every round from the fifth on, using his jab and feet to keep Porter at a distance, walking into punches, for a comfortable unanimous decision win. Fans will bemoan that Spence was not pushed again, building demand for a showdown with Terence Crawford even more.
ANSON WAINWRIGHT: SPENCE UD
Excellent match up, really looking forward to this one. Porter is the kind of fighter who always brings it and will never give an opponent a moments rest. I expect him to work, but I think the greater technician is Spence. Spence has to be on point because Porter will be there trying to rough him up. From looking at the odds, the bookies aren’t giving any value, making Spence a heavy favorite. However, this is exactly the type of fight Spence needs to further ascend his star. I expect Spence’s class to tell and win him a unanimous decision. Something like 116-112 or 117-111.
GARETH A. DAVIES: SPENCE UD
Spence needs the gamest of opponents and Porter is exactly that, but the lefty will outwit the power and ring wisdom of the Las Vegas based fighter, and hand him his third career defeat. Unanimous points decision, by precision, for 29-year-old Spence, whom I would like to see more active than he is. Victory to Spence, 116-112 all round.
NORM FRAUENHEIM: SPENCE UD
It’s classic, both the fight and how to pick it. To wit: In a match of two good fighters, pick the bigger guy. That means Spence, who looks as if he’ll be moving up the scale to junior middleweight and middleweight before long. He’s a very big welterweight and he’ll employ all of his advantages in virtually every dimension to beat Porter. Porter might score as he steps inside, but he might walk straight into Spence’s notable power when he does. Porter’s ring skill and over all IQ figures to keep him upright. But Spence will score, repeatedly, in what could be punishing 12 rounds.
MIKE ALTAMURA (MANAGER): SPENCE UD
I see a bruising, physical encounter with Porter managing to smother Spence’s distance and offsetting his rhythm in spurts early. However, I think Spence finds his range in the mid-rounds, and scores regularly enough with the jab to control tighter rounds. I see a 117-111, 116-112 score line.
BRAD GOODMAN: (MATCHMAKER, TOP RANK): SPENCE
I like Spence by a late stoppage or decision. Porter is so game and will make a fight of it, but I think the overall skill of Spence wins him the fight. Great fight that I’m really looking forward to seeing.
DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER THREE-WEIGHT WORLD TITLEHOLDER/TV ANALYST): SPENCE UD
This is an A grade match up. Can Porter make the slick punching Spence fight his fight? The shorter more aggressive Porter surely only has one chance at winning this fight – on the inside. He cannot outbox Spence. Is Porter a better fighter than (Mikey) Garcia, who took Spence the distance? Absolutely, yes. This is a step up for the gifted Spence and as we all know, class is permanent, form is temporary. I expect Spence to raise his game and show his adoring fans yet another side of his brilliance. He should not be drawn into a dog fight but tame the beast. Keep Porter on a long leash and win this fight via a split decision. I don’t see any controversy in this fight as Spence’s sheer class will overcome Porter’s will and resilience.
JOLENE MIZZONE (MATCHMAKER, MAIN EVENTS): SPENCE TKO 10
I think Spence is going to beat Porter down to the body and will eventually stop him.
KATHY DUVA (PROMOTER, MAIN EVENTS): SPENCE UD
I’ve got to go with Spence, he is simply the better fighter. I imagine that Porter will do his best to test Spence, but Spence’s accuracy will win the day. Porter may be able to go the distance, but Spence wins a comfortable decision.
RICKY HATTON (FORMER TWO-DIVISION WORLD TITLEHOLDER/ TRAINER): SPENCE TKO
Spence versus Porter is a good fight. I think Spence is strong at the weight, he’s a skillful southpaw, who’d be wrong for anyone, so I’m going Spence by late stoppage.
PAULIE MALIGNAGGI (FORMER TWO-DIVISION WORLD TITLEHOLDER/ TV ANALYST, SHOWTIME): SPENCE TKO
My pick is Spence by late stoppage. Porter is intense and he will bring it, but I’m not sure he can match Spence in boxing ability or power. On top of that, Porter has shown some vulnerability to body punching and Spence is a wicked body puncher.
RUDY HERNANDEZ (TRAINER): SPENCE UD
Spence will try to fight on the outside while Porter will pressure and try to make it an inside fight. Once Spence figures Porter out, the fight will shift in his favor. Porter will try his very best but will be neutralized by Spence’s better boxing. I don’t see it being a great fight because of styles. Spence wins a unanimous decision in a competitive fight.
BARRY JONES (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/COMMENTATOR): SPENCE UD
Porter is massively underrated. His style might not seem scientific but it’s highly effective. When you’re in against someone like Porter, discipline and composure are paramount and Spence has both traits in spades. It might be a relatively close affair in the first half, but that southpaw jab and the occasional solid left hand will, I feel, start to effect Porter’s rhythm and with that make him easier to hit. That’s where I see Spence taking over and becoming dominant. Porter will still have his moments in the later stages, but he will be chasing the fight and might even have to get off the floor to finish. I’m picking Spence on points.
CORNELIUS BOZA EDWARDS (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/TRAINER): SPENCE PTS
I pick Errol. He surprised me when he chose to outbox Mikey Garcia when I had picked him to stop him. Well, the same as he surprised me by outboxing Mikey, I think he will do the same when the tough Shawn Porter keeps coming like a tank. It will turn out to be a dog fight, then Errol, being smart, will stick to his boxing ability and win on points.
CAMILLE ESTEPHAN (PROMOTER, EYE OF THE TIGER): SPENCE UD
I believe it to be an excellent fight for Spence where he will shine and establish himself as top three pound-for-pound and a real threat to the number one. I believe it will be a unanimous victory without a shadow of a doubt.
NISSE SAUERLAND (PROMOTER, SAUERLAND EVENT): SPENCE UD
Spence too slick and skilled a boxer for Porter, who will run out of ideas. Spence wide points victory.
JOHN SCULLY (FIGHTER/TRAINER): PORTER PTS
I think Shawn is going to bring everything he’s got and he’s going to make Spence very uncomfortable. If Spence cannot keep Shawn at a safe distance and pick his shots from the outside, he will lose the decision. I can go either way on an eventual winner. It all depends on Shawn’s ability to get Spence to fight his fight. If I was willing to bet a little bit of money, I would put some on Shawn to pull the upset.
TONY TOLJ (MANAGER): SPENCE UD
I believe it will be a competitive one-sided fight, if that makes sense. I see many flaws in Porter. Having seen the class and the rise of Spence, I see nothing but a Spence win by shutout and him adding another belt to his collection.
20-1 in favor of Spence