Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter Set for Title Unification Bout
IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. will meet WBC champion Shawn Porter in a unification bout in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Updated: Sept. 26, 2019 • 11:16 AM ET
Peter Quillin is looking to regain his status as a world champion.
In the main event of a night littered with title fights this Saturday, undefeated IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. will meet WBC champion Shawn Porter in a welterweight unification bout in Los Angeles.
Spence (25-0, 21 KOs) is coming off his first pay-per-view appearance, a successful title defense against former title holder Mikey Garcia in March. Garcia moved up in weight for the fight, but Spence easily controlled all 12 rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory.
The fight against Garcia was Spence’s third successful title defense after winning the title in 2017 with an 11th-round knockout of Kell Brook. He can silence any critics once again with a win over another elite welterweight champion this weekend, even if Porter wasn’t necessarily his first choice.
After the victory over Garcia, many believed Spence’s next fight would be with boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, who even joined Spence in the ring after the Garcia fight to add a bit of buzz to the possibility. Nevertheless, Spence will have to get by Porter first.
“I’m gonna get the fights that I need to prove that I am the best fighter in the world,” Spence recently said via Premier Boxing Champions. “Getting past Shawn Porter, the performance that I know I can put on against him, and then getting the fight that I want after that and that’s the Manny Pacquiao fight.”
Spence went on to say that he thinks a fight with Pacquiao will happen sometime late next year. Even though he’s highly ranked on pound-for-pound lists and has been tied to big money fights, Spence knows that defeating Porter is crucial if he wants to separate himself from the rest of the top welterweights in the world.
“The winner of this fight is definitely going to be the best welterweight in the world,” Spence recently said via Yahoo Sports. “There's no way around it.”
Porter won the vacant WBC title last September with a unanimous decision victory over Danny Garcia, making him a two-time welterweight title holder. He won his first title in 2013 when he defeated Devon Alexander by unanimous decision for the IBF belt and successfully defended it once before losing the title by majority decision to Brook. The path to becoming a champion again hasn’t been easy for Porter, but he has the chance to regain the belt he lost in 2014.
In his first defense of the WBC belt in March, the 31-year-old Porter secured a split-decision victory over mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but Porter has put it behind him and plans to shock Spence.
“I’m going to go at him like I’ve gone at Keith Thurman, like I’ve gone at Danny Garcia, and the list goes on,” Porter recently said via the New York Post. “If he can’t handle the roughness, then you will find out real soon. We’ll be rough, we’ll be hard, we’ll be rugged, we’ll keep the pressure on him, and we all know pressure bursts pipes.”
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Including Alexander and Garcia, Porter has many key victories in his career, including wins over Alfonso Gomez, Julio Diaz, Paulie Malignaggi, Adrien Broner and Andre Berto.
“I think myself and Errol Spence are the No. 1 and No. 2 guys,” Porter said. “You can decide who you want to be No. 1 and No. 2, but the best part about it is No. 1 is going to fight No. 2 and one is about to get eliminated. The way I beat Errol Spence, I think that will see me as the No. 1 guy in the division.”
Saturday’s co-main event will be for the WBC super middleweight title, as champion Anthony Dirrell will defend the belt against undefeated challenger David Benavidez.
Dirrell became a two-time WBC champion when he won the vacant belt against Avni Yildirim in his last fight in February. He first won the title with a unanimous decision victory over Sakio Bika in 2014, but lost the belt to Badou Jack in his first defense by majority decision, the lone loss on his record (33-1-1, 24 KOs).
This time, however, Dirrell doesn’t intend on losing the title so quickly.
“It’ll be a good fight,” Dirrell recently said at a media workout. “David Benavidez is a warrior. I’m not taking nothing from him, but I think I got all the tools to beat him.”
The 34-year-old non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor also has victories over tough competition who include Caleb Traux, Marco Antonio Rubio and Abraham Han. Dirrell, however, hasn’t finished a fight since 2017, but that won’t stop him from trying this weekend.
”I’m going for it (the knockout),” Dirrell said. “I think I go for the knockout in every fight. It’s not one fight I didn’t try to go for the knockout; but if it don’t happen, it don’t happen. I can still go 12 rounds and come out victorious.”
Coming off a second-round knockout of J’Leon Love in March, Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs) is 12 years Dirrell’s junior. The 22-year-old won the vacant WBC belt via split-decision over Ronald Gavril in 2017 and dominated Gavril in a rematch in February 2018. Benavidez, though, was stripped of the belt after testing positive for cocaine shortly after the fight.
Benavidez feels he’s on track to claim another title, and a fight with Dirrell is the perfect way to begin that trek.
“The last six fighters I’ve faced have all talked about how they have more experience than me, and it’s true, but they’ve all been beat,” Benavidez said via Fightnews.com. “I’m not going to be intimidated by anybody. Nobody scares me.
“I’m just here to do what I do best. I did everything right, and we’ll see the results on September 28. I’m looking to knock Anthony Dirrell out. If we don’t get it, I’m going to give the fans a great fight. Either way, I’m looking to dominate.”
A third title fight will be on the main card, as the vacant WBA super lightweight title will be up for grabs between undefeated fighters Mario Barrios and Batyr Akhmedov.
Barrios (24-0, 16 KOs) is coming off a knockout of Juan Jose Velasco in May and has finished his last eight fights. The 24-year-old believes Saturday’s fight will set the stage for bigger title fights at the top of the division.
“I'm fighting for the WBA 'regular' world title, and it's going to get me that close to current champions, which to me is ultimately what I want,” Barrios told Sporting News. “After the Taylor-Prograis fight, there's only going to be two champions. If everything goes well the way we're planning on it for my fight — not looking past Akhmedov — but I would love an opportunity with either the winner of Regis and Taylor or even a fight with Ramirez.”
The 28-year-old Akhmedov (7-0, 6 KOs) is coming off a TKO win over Francisco Gabriel Pina in May. The Russian could derail Barrios’ hype train if he can find a way to defeat the Texan, but it’s a major step up in competition.
• Start time/how to watch: The main event can be seen on FOX PPV at 9 p.m. this Saturday.