By Kenneth Friedman: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter welterweight unification fight will be announced this weekend for September 28, according to Lance Pugmire @pugBoxing. IBF 147 pound champion Spence (25-0, 21 KOs) will be facing WBC welterweight champion Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) on Fox Sports pay-per-view at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Spence-Porter was originally talked about taking place on August 3 on Fox, but Spence wanted the fight on pay-per-view, so it was moved to September 20 on FOX PPV, according to @MikeCoppinger. It’s obviously hard for Spence to return to fighting on regular broadcast TV after he got a taste of the big money in his pay-per-view fight against Mikey Garcia last March. Spence may find out the hard way that some fights aren’t made for pay-per-view.
Anthony Dirrell vs. David Benavidez in co-feature bout
WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell is expected to defend against David Benavidez in the co-feature bout on the card. That fight might be better than the main event.
The venue isn’t ideal for either fighter, as neither of them are from California. Porter was born in Akron, Ohio, and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Spence was born in New York, and resides in Desoto, Texas.
Spence moving to PPV a little early in his career
It might be a little premature for Spence, 29, to be pushing for all of his fights to be shown on pay-per-view. He still hasn’t built a big fan base among the casual Boxing fans for him to be moving to the PPV realm. Floyd Mayweather Jr. didn’t branch out to pay-per-view until he’d been a pro for nine years, and his job was made easier by having great opponents like Artur Gatti, Zab Judah and Ricky Hatton. Porter, 31, isn’t comparable to popularity those fighters had going for them when they fought Mayweather.
Spence moving to PPV this early in his career is like putting the cart before the horse. He’s not been seen enough by the casual Boxing fans on regular Fox Sports to have his fights sold on PPV at this early juncture. Spence can obviously do what he wants, but his PPV numbers will likely be stunted with this move.
The casual Boxing fans aren’t going to want to dump $70 down the drain paying to see someone fight on Fox Sports pay-per-view that they’ve never seen or heard of before. Mayweather got it right by waiting until he’d been a pro for close to 10 years before he moved into pay-per-view, but he also had much better opposition. Spence vs. Porter can’t compete with Mayweather-De La Hoya, Mayweather-Hatton or Maywather-Gatti. Mayweather waited until he had great opponents to fight before he moved over to PPV. He didn’t try and shove lesser fights down the throats of the Boxing public until much, much later.
“The Sept. 28 Errol Spence Jr.-Shawn Porter welterweight unification fight is coming to @STAPLESCenter, @TheAthleticBOX has learned and may be announced by this weekend. Another Cali. win over Vegas,” said @PugBoxing.
Spence vs. Porter winner could face Thurman-Pacquiao victor
The winner of this Saturday’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman could wind up sharing the ring against the winner of the Spence-Porter fight. Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) and Thurman (29-0, 21 KOs) will be fighting with the WBA Super World welterweight title on the line. The winner of that fight will have pressure from the Boxing public to face the Spence-Porter winner with three of the four welterweight titles on the line. Although Pacquiao could wind up facing Amir Khan next on November 8, the fans will be pushing for him to face the Spence vs. Porter winner.
Pacquiao-Thurman will be shown on Fox Sports pay-per-view. However, this is a fight that is worthy of PPV. Pacquiao is a huge star, and Thurman has a large fan base as well. He’s a popular guy that has proven to be quite good at creating interest with his over-the-top trash talking. Spence and Porter are both reserved, and not outgoing like Thurman. They’re not going to be able to talk enough trash to get Boxing fans to want to pay to see their fight. With Spence’s recent fight against Mikey Garcia last March on Fox PPV, Mikey did all the trash talking, and he basically sold the fight by himself. Spence was just there in body with Mikey doing the hard work of selling the fight.
Spence-Porter needs someone that can help promote the fight
Spence, who is quite shy, was little more than a prop in the promotion of the fight. Spence looked sleepy-eyed much of the time, as Mikey did all the heavy lifting with his interviews. In the last few weeks before the fight, Mikey took it to another level in promoting the fight. Spence arguably went along for the ride. For the Spence-Porter promotion, there won’t be anyone that can create interest in that fight. It’ll be too quiet guys that are talking nice about each other. It’s going to be pure poison when it comes to selling the fight.
Porter is coming off of a career worst performance against Yordenis Ugas last March in Carson, California. The 31-year-old Porter won the fight by a 12 round split decision, but the fans didn’t agree with the outcome of the fight. They saw Ugas winning. Boxing News 24 scored it for Ugas by a 117-111 score. The judges had it 116-112, 115-113 for Porter, and 117-111 for Ugas. The fight results were so controversial that it’s hard to get excited about Spence fighting Porter, because he’s facing a guy that was soundly beaten by Ugas. The worst part about it is Porter looked like a shot fighter in that fight.
Porter not showing the same energy he once did
The energy that Porter showed throughout his career was absent against Ugas. It’s not just that fight that Porter looked depleted and old. He struggled in his win over Adrian Granados in November 2017. Porter used movement against Granados, and was getting worked over him on the inside. He appeared to do enough to get the win over Granados, but it wasn’t impressive stuff from him.
Porter looked like the better fighter at the end, but not by much. The judges had Porter winning by the scores 117-111, 117-111 and 117-111. Boxing News 24 scored it 115-113 for Porter. He barely did enough to get the ‘W’. In Porter’s narrow 12 round unanimous decision victory over Danny Garcia last year in September 2018, he looked better. That was the old mugging-Porter that we’d seen in the past from him, and he looked good in that fight.