By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Errol Spence Jr. laughed awkwardly after delivering his departing message to Shawn Porter early Sunday morning.
The unbeaten IBF welterweight champion might’ve been uneasy saying something so brash publicly to someone he respects, but he obviously isn’t completely convinced Porter wants to fight him next. Just before they left the interview room at Barclays Center, Spence told Porter, “Don’t duck me, son.”
Porter looked directly at Spence once he said that, yet didn’t respond specifically to Spence’s taunt. They embraced a few seconds later on the stage and went their separate ways.
During the press conference, Porter noted that the WBC could order the newly crowned champion to make his first WBC welterweight title defense versus Cuban contender Yordenis Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs), his mandatory challenger.
Spence entered the ring and challenged Porter after he was announced as a unanimous-decision winner over Danny Garcia on Saturday night in Brooklyn.
“I’ll be honest, I’m not sure,” Porter said regarding whether he’ll fight Spence next. “I don’t think him getting in the ring was for show and I know that, you know, again the words that we exchanged in the ring wasn’t for show. So I really don’t know. Like I said, I know the WBC has some plans and we’ll see if they’re willing to, you know, go a different route.”
The 28-year-old Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) might fight Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) in his next bout if he can’t secure a welterweight title unification fight with Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs), who’ll turn 31 next month. Even if they don’t meet next, Spence appreciates Porter’s resume because the Akron, Ohio, native has beaten Danny Garcia (35-2, 20 KOs) and his lone losses have come against Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) and Kell Brook (37-2, 26 KOs), who Spence knocked out in the 11th round 15 months ago to win the IBF welterweight title.
“Shawn’s a great fighter,” Spence said. “You know, Shawn’s a fighter who will fight anybody. He’s an old-school fighter. You know, he’s just like myself. So I don’t have to hate a fighter just to fight a fighter, or to beat a fighter. So I’ve got nothing but respect for Shawn and Kenny [Porter, Shawn’s dad and trainer]. I’ve got nothing but respect for their system. I’ve got nothing but respect for their father-and-son [relationship]. But, you know, like I said, I have a dream on my hands, too. I wanna be a unified champion. I wanna be undisputed champion, so I have to go through them doors, and that’s Shawn Porter.
“So I definitely want that fight and I definitely think it can happen. Hopefully it happens sooner than later. And hopefully it’ll happen the first quarter of next year. So it’s definitely a fight I want. It can be made because we both fight on the same network [Showtime], we both have the same management [Al Haymon]. And like I said, I’m an old-school fighter. He’s an old-school fighter, too. We’re all about glory. We’re all about the money, too. And it’s definitely a money fight. And definitely, the money’s in the pot, with the new announcement that Al Haymon made and PBC made [to broadcast fights on Showtime and FOX]. The money’s there, so it’s gonna happen.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.