If Shawn Porter upsets Errol Spence Jr., he would want the exact fight Spence plans to pursue next.
“Manny Pacquiao,” Porter said during the most recent episode of “The PBC Podcast” on premierboxingchampions.com. “That’s who everyone’s targeting.”
The 40-year-old Pacquiao proved in his last fight that he’s still an elite welterweight, even at this advanced age. The Filipino legend knocked down Keith Thurman in the first round and edged the previously unbeaten former WBA welterweight champion by split decision in their 12-rounder July 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) has been mentioned prominently as a potential opponent for Spence, who’s been installed as at least a 9-1 favorite to top Porter in their welterweight title unification fight September 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. There’s considerable concern among media and fans for Pacquiao if he were to box Spence because the 5-feet-10 southpaw is so much bigger, stronger and younger than Pacquiao.
The 30-year-old Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) was thought to have those advantages over Pacquiao as well, but Spence is widely viewed as the best welterweight within Al Haymon’s PBC organization. Regardless, they’d all make more money for fighting Pacquiao than any other PBC welterweight.
“He’s the biggest name out there, the biggest draw out there,” Porter said. “He’s the legend. He’s the one that’s old, but still unbeatable. So, that’s the one we all want.”
Pacquiao, a full-time senator in the Philippines, isn’t expected to fight again until January or February.
Porter, meanwhile, hasn’t given much thought to who he’d fight next if Spence beats him.
“Right now, I don’t have a No. 2 guy,” Porter said. “I think we would be looking at rematches at this point – Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, maybe even Yordenis Ugas. He is the mandatory for the WBC championship belt again. So, we’re definitely more than likely looking at rematches.”
Porter dropped a close, 12-round unanimous decision to Thurman in June 2016 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Las Vegas resident defeated Philadelphia’s Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) by unanimous decision to win the then-vacant WBC title in another 12-rounder a year ago at Barclays Center.
In his first title defense, Porter edged Cuba’s Ugas (24-4, 11 KOs) by split decision March 9 in Carson, California.
The 29-year-old Spence (25-0, 21 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, and the 31-year-old Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs), of Akron, Ohio, will fight for Spence’s IBF welterweight title and Porter’s WBC crown two weeks from Saturday night. Their scheduled 12-round, 147-pound championship bout will headline a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.