As long as Manny Pacquiao is active and can comfortably make weight, he will naturally remain the first choice of opponent for any welterweight in the world—including the very best welterweight today.
Unbeaten 147-pound titlist Errol Spence Jr. doesn’t make it a point to call out other boxers but had no problem making his thoughts known that he craved a superfight with boxing’s only-ever eight-division titlist. That clash could very well come one day, but not before Spence first collides with Shawn Porter. Their Sept. 28 welterweight title unification bout headlines a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event, live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
The bout comes six months after Spence’s PPV debut, a 12-round shutout of former four-division titlist Mikey Garcia in a March pairing of pound-for-pound entrants in Arlington, Texas. Pacquiao joined Spence in the ring that night, teasing the possibility of a head-on collision down the road although most—including the night’s big winner–knew to not hold their breath.
“I knew there was a chance I wasn’t gonna get Pacquiao,” Spence (25-0, 21KOs) admitted during a recent media conference call in discussing his upcoming clash with Porter (30-2-1, 17KOs). “I mean, Pacquiao was the bigger name and the bigger fight, so of course I wanted that fight.”
“Shawn Porter is a champion, too. He has a belt, so I definitely wanted to unify the titles. I always knew that if I couldn’t get Pacquiao that there was a good chance I was going to get Shawn Porter.”
It was all but confirmed when Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs) went on to select unbeaten titlist Keith Thurman, whom he outpointed over 12 rounds this past July in Las Vegas, Nev. The bout was preceded by the official confirmation of Spence-Porter, a fight that was agreed upon relatively quickly, but just in need of a destination and firm fight date before being made available to the public.
Having fought just three times in the two years since stopping Kell Brook to win his welterweight title in May 2017, there was no time like the present in making his next move.
“I was just looking for the next available guy,” notes Spence, a 2012 U.S Olympian who attempts his fourth welterweight title defense. “I wanted a unification fight. Shawn Porter was the easiest fight to make and the quickest fight to make.
“That’s why I decided to go with the fight with Shawn Porter.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox