Spence vs Porter: The Fight City Picks

You can make the case that this match-up should have happened a while ago. You can also point out that one of the two combatants didn’t look very good his last time out. And you can be a total killjoy and remind us how the duel we really want to see at welterweight isn’t Spence vs Porter, but Spence vs Terence “Bud” Crawford. But even so, no one can dispute the fact that “Showtime Shawn” vs “The Truth” is still a top-shelf match-up and any fight fan worth his or her salt is going to be checking it out.

After all, has Spence faced anyone with the combination of strength, heart, and experience that Porter represents? “Showtime” may be the underdog, but make no mistake: he’s a live dog. And he surely must know that this is a do-or-die moment for his career and any hopes of getting a rematch with Keith Thurman or a huge payday against fellow PBC welterweight Manny Pacquiao. In short, it’s a high-stakes clash with the winner arguably the top dog at 147. Herewith our picks:

If Porter tries to box at range and use angles, Spence will pick him apart with his longer, more educated jab, especially since Spence won’t have any difficulty landing his right jab over the top of Porter’s left jab. And should Porter try to push Spence back and fight off his chest, Spence’s tight uppercuts and hooks will get inside Porter’s wider punches and render his mauling tactics ineffective. Most importantly, “Showtime” will soon feel the effects of some vicious body punches coming from a physically stronger and more polished inside fighter (watch for Spence using his forearms to create space and control Porter’s head at close quarters). If Spence can consistently plant his feet and dig the body, there is a good chance he becomes the first man to stop Porter. But I’ll play it safe and go with Spence by decision in a fight that turns out to be yet another showcase performance for “The Truth.”          — Lee Wylie

Spence humbles Mikey Garcia.

Errol Spence vs Shawn Porter is a good welterweight fight with the potential to be a very good welterweight fight. But even in 2019 it’s not a pay-per-view fight. It’s Premier Boxing Champions’ best welterweight taking on one of their second-tier guys who few are giving a good chance to win. And it’s not that Porter is that bad, but rather that Spence is that good. Realistically, and I’ve said this before about a PBC welterweight extravaganza mega-event ultra-fight: it’s really just two welterweight contenders squaring off. Neither is popular enough to warrant charging fans major dollars to watch what is otherwise a match that should simply happen. Porter will give an honest effort and possibly even stun Spence once or twice, but ultimately Spence is going to show he’s not only bigger and the heavier puncher, but more skilled. “The Truth” by one-sided decision or late-round stoppage.          — Patrick Connor

My heart says Porter, who is about as gutsy and tough as they come. My mind, on the other hand, thinks Spence gets the nod from the judges after twelve high octane rounds. When things are tight, look for the more marketable fighter to get the decision, fair or not. Spence by unanimous decision.                 — Sean Crose

Spence will box Porter’s ears off. “The Truth” by decision.        — Eliott McCormick 

Porter vanquishes Berto.

Best case scenario, Shawn Porter gives Errol Spence and fight fans a scare, exposing Spence as human and vulnerable to quick handed, agile fighters. Unlike Kell Brook, Mikey Garcia, and Lamont Peterson, Porter is a shifty fighter with solid boxing ability, but if he’s going to be successful, he will have to use his speed to get in and out of and out-hustle Spence. If he can do that and force Spence to dig deep, we might have quite a fight on our hands.

Worst case scenario, fans come out of it feeling like Porter was just another placeholder for the fighter we all want to see Spence face: Terence Crawford. If Spence can keep “Showtime” at bay, it’s only a matter of time before Errol sets up some devastating work to the head and body. Spence is open about the fact that he is looking for a knockout, which for some reason eluded him as he punished an undersized Mikey Garcia for 12 long rounds. I think Spence will hurt Porter early, fend off a spirited comeback in the middle rounds, and eventually close the show with something emphatic in the late going.       — Alden Chodash

I think Porter is a bit underrated by some hardcore fans. His mauling style can be ugly to watch, but it’s effective. Even in his losses, he’s always been competitive. That said, it’s difficult for me to pick him for the upset here. If Porter does go full caveman, I could see him disrupting Errol’s rhythm and frustrating him for a time and there’s a slim chance Spence could struggle against the mauling for long enough to lose a decision. But Porter has fought more cautiously as of late, and he’ll get picked apart trying to box with Spence. So his best chance is to go back to the rough stuff, but eventually, I think Shawn will get caught and hurt. I’ll say Spence by clear decision, possibly scoring a late knockdown or two.                            — Hunter Breckenridge

Ugas (right) gave Porter all he could handle last March.

Porter’s sole chance of scoring the upset relies on him making it a dog fight. He needs to get inside and stay there, by any means necessary. Throw elbows, wrestle, use the head as a battering ram. And don’t be afraid to lose a point or two. He’s not out-boxing Spence so he should go for broke. But ultimately, I see Spence being too skilled, slick, and savvy for the Ohio native. Spence by decision.       — Jamie Rebner

I like Shawn Porter a lot, and few fighters have shown more heart, but I can’t see him beating Spence. Porter looked vulnerable against Ugas, which may have been him underestimating the Cuban, but while he clearly beat Danny Garcia, as a younger and fresher fighter he lost to Keith Thurman and Kell Brook. Spence is the best fighter he’s faced, a guy who literally broke Brook’s face. To me all signs point to a Spence win, probably by late-round stoppage.      — Joshua Isard

I think most are both underrating Porter after his last outing, while overrating Spence. Make no mistake, “The Truth” is an excellent boxer, but he’s also human and, more to the point, he hasn’t faced anyone quite like “Showtime.” I wasn’t overly impressed by his showing against Garcia, while Porter represents the stiffest challenge of his career so far. I think it will be a close, grueling fight with both guys taking their share of punishment, but Porter’s going to have a bounce-back performance and he’ll have that extra bit of energy and urgency that comes from being in a fight he knows he can’t afford to lose. Look for Spence to be on the defensive and taking shots as Porter gives him no room to operate and no time to breathe. Porter by close decision.             — Robert Portis 

Spence batters Kell Brook.

I can only see Spence winning this one. Kell Brook showed how to handle Porter’s rough style, by staying composed and timing him with straighter, more accurate shots, something Spence should excel at. Meanwhile, Spence showed in his own fight against Brook that he can grind out a win and break down a world-class opponent if needed. Porter’s determination and physicality should keep things interesting, but he doesn’t have the skill-set to outbox Spence and his aggression will just force Errol to unleash his full repertoire of shots – out-jabbing him from the outside, whacking him around and through the guard with right hooks and straight lefts, and whipping in hurtful hooks to the body up close. Porter’s toughness should see him to the final bell, but Spence wins a unanimous decision.      — Matt O’Brien

Spence by close decision.     — Jeffrey Fuss 

For me, this welterweight clash papers over the cracks. Shawn Porter has recaptured a portion of the world title displaying dogged tenacity and depth of character. He’ll fight anyone and he’ll look pretty good doing it. But Errol Spence is a notch above and I think that’ll show when they lock eyes on fight night. Spence Jr is bigger, fresher and has an ability to switch his tactics, fighting on the back foot or roughing up Porter with work to the body on the inside. I’d imagine it goes the distance, but Errol Spence wins by five rounds or more.        — Craig Scott

Can Porter succeed where Lamont Peterson failed? Few think so.

This will be a test for Spence, facing off against Porter’s relentless pressure and roughhouse tactics, but he should have the size, skills and tactical nous to take a comfortable decision. Porter has an impressive resume, certainly an underrated one, but Spence is a different beast. He’s simply too smart, too technically sound and too unerringly focused on becoming the undisputed top dog in the division to slip up here. Porter has done well since the Thurman loss, but this could be a test too far for, arguably, the weakest of the champions at 147 pounds. Spence by clear unanimous decision, with the possibility of Porter quitting on his stool as we head into the championship rounds.             — Rob Lownie

Porter brings to the ring his trademark physicality designed to compensate for his deficits in skill and punching power and that has sufficed for most opponents lesser than Spence. But in “The Truth,” Porter has a Gordian knot he can’t untie. While he’s on a four-fight win streak, he has to knock Spence out to win this but his record shows he’s decidedly not a knockout puncher. Styles make fights: Porter is known for his high work rate, throwing big hooks and uppercuts, but he misses many of those big shots, leaving himself open to counters, which both Adrien Broner and Yordenis Ugas were able to land. Porter can’t outbox Spence (ask Kell Brooke about that one) and if he goes after Spence in his lunging-from-the-rafters brawler style, Spence might well win by knockout. Bottom line: “The Truth” will weather Porter’s lunging attacks, may even time Porter and take him down. He will land more clean, scoring punches, especially power punches. And he will win. Spence by unanimous decision or knockout.           — Ralph M. Semien

Like most, I find it extremely difficult to envision a Porter victory. If Spence sustains an injury or has an off-night, and at the same time Porter has the best performance of his career, then an upset is possible. Which, by the way, would be a welcome dose of the unexpected and set up an intriguing rivalry. But that won’t happen. I foresee a routine and not very inspiring points win for “The Truth,” the kind of fight that leaves  us all shrugging our shoulders and asking, “Can we just get Spence vs Crawford already?” But that won’t happen either. Will we instead have to see a 41-year-old Manny Pacquiao get battered by Spence? Count on it.         — Michael Carbert 

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