Errol Spence had never been tested at this degree of difficulty. Shawn Porter pressured, prodded and exposed him during a title bout that stretched every bit of Spence’s vaunted boxing skill.
The budding welterweight superstar emerged with two championship belts after he figured out the answers to this test just in time
Spence added the WBC welterweight title to his IBF strap with a thrilling split-decision victory over Shawn Porter on Saturday night.
Spence (26-0) persevered through the biggest challenge of his ascendant career from Porter (30-3-1), a veteran brawler who forced Spence into uncomfortable situations in nearly every round. Spence matched Porter’s pace and landed more punches, and the Texan punctuated the win by knocking down Porter in the 11th round with a left hand.
“This is a lifetime dream,” Spence said. “It shows hard work pays off. … Shawn Porter is a rough and awkward fighter. I didn’t get off what I wanted to. He’s a true champion. He made it tough … (but) all my punches have bad intentions.”
Two judges scored it 116-111 for Spence, and a third scored it 115-112 for Porter.
Porter’s unorthodox, pugnacious style baited the favored Spence into many wild exchanges, starting with a thrilling stretch of the third and fourth rounds. The pace rarely waned for the rest of the bout, with Porter constantly forcing a tough fight.
But Spence knocked down Porter with a spectacular left hand to the head with a minute left in the 11th round. The punch staggered Porter and rolled his eyes back, but he barely touched the canvas and went right back into the fight.
“He’s a strong kid,” Porter said. “We both came in to do the job. I think I had a little more than what he expected, but he handled it. Congratulations to him and his team. We’re proud of what we did.”
The Staples Center crowd of 16,702 in downtown Los Angeles was on its feet throughout the 12th round, roaring for both fighters when they embraced after the final bell.
Spence threw 745 punches to Porter’s 744, a remarkable measure of the fight’s evenness. But Spence landed 221 of those punches – 49 more than Porter. Spence also landed 44% of his power punches to just 25.7% for Porter, whose inaccuracy has been a problem in an otherwise stellar career.
“Porter was throwing a lot,” Spence said. “I wanted to show I was the bigger and stronger welterweight.”