Tuesday, March 21, 2023  |



Errol Spence, Shawn Porter cut the nice guy act at final press conference


After a respectable build-up to fight night, Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter both dropped the nice guy act and let their feelings be known at Wednesday’s final press conference.

The welterweight title unification fight, which takes place Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, will be the second straight outing on a pay-per-view distributed by Fox for the IBF belt holder Spence (25-0, 21 knockouts), while the WBC titleholder Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) is making his PPV headlining debut.

After a cold opening, things heated up when the press conference host asked about both fighters’ promises to win by knockout.

“I make nothing of it. It sounds good but he’s gotta make that happen. We trained hard, very focused and I’m ready for anything he can bring to the table,” said Spence. “He says he can break me, he’s gonna stop me, he’s gonna beat me up, keep that same energy come Saturday night.”

“The energy ain’t changed, I got the energy right now,” said Porter, who brought up Spence’s last fight, a dominant decision against the much smaller Mikey Garcia. “He said the same things, he want to knock me out, he’s gonna hurt me, so on and so forth. He didn’t knock out 135 Mikey Garcia, he ain’t knocking out 147 pound ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter.”

Spence, who is two years younger than Porter at 29, said that the talking done by Porter and his father/trainer Kenny was the reason why he’s changed his approach, and said they’ll call him the “Show Stopper” after Saturday night. He then jibed at Porter’s style, saying he fights like a football player (Porter played running back for Stow-Munroe Falls High School in Ohio).

“You’re an in-shape street fighter,” Spence continued. “You fight like you drowning. You fight like you drowning and you don’t know how to swim.”

Porter dismissed Spence’s assertions that the closeness of his decisions wins meant he wasn’t a top fighter, saying “When you’re in the ring with a top level opponent, that’s what you’re supposed to do.” But he got a little more testy when asked whether he was a dirty fighter.

“I’m not a dirty boxer,” said Porter, adding that it’s been said of him “because I’m aggressive and guys can’t handle it.”

“Everybody knows you’re dirty, there’s nothing wrong with it,” Spence shot back.

Porter says he’s on track to make weight after struggling mightily before his last bout, a split decision over Yordenis Ugas and needing a haircut to get to 147 pounds. He says he intends to eat breakfast on Friday morning before the weigh-in.

As fired up as the two main eventers were, they were matched by the animosity that WBC super middleweight titleholder Anthony Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) and David Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs) showed for each other on stage ahead of their co-main event bout. Benavidez, who had previously held that belt before being stripped for failing a drug test and missing over a year in 2018, said he intended to be the first to knock out Dirrell, while Dirrell dismissed his power.