By Manouk Akopyan (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Errol Spence Jr. can be a buzzsaw. Of his 25 career fights, 21 have ended with a knockout finish. His last fight against Mikey Garcia was a landslide decision win where he landed a career high 345 punches, but missed the mark on a highlight-reel finish.
When Shawn Porter, Spence Jr.’s next opponent for their Sept. 28 clash at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, was asked how he will withstand his adversary’s power, he was quick to shut down any notion that it could present a problem.
“I’m a lot stronger than most people think I am. Physically, not only have I shown it, but I have proven it to myself,” Porter told Boxing Scene. “That man over there, Errol, is definitely going to find out how strong I am.”
But could Porter, who has a 52 percent career knockout rate compared to Spence’s 84 percent, deliver punishment better than taking it?
“I’m preparing for it all with all of the pressure style he brings as a southpaw. This fight will not be defined by one style,” said Porter.
Porter, the WBC champion, will have both a 2 ½ inch height and reach disadvantage against Spence Jr.. He’s also nearly 2 ½ years older and has been knocked down before against Adrien Broner courtesy of a powerful left hook, a fight Porter ended up winning unanimous on the cards.
Porter’s lone two losses have been by decision, and most observers believe he lost his third in his last fight against Yordenis Ugas in March, a disputed decision awarded to Porter. The fight was Porter’s first since nearly edging out Danny Garcia for the title, and his paltry performance is largely a reason why pugilistic pundits are not giving him much of a chance against Spence Jr., who’s also a heavy favorite from oddsmakers.
Heading into the Ugas fight, Porter nearly missed weight and had to cut his braids on the scales in order to meet the 147 pound limit. He admitted the scale snafu was due to a minor hiccup.
“Everything will be fixed for the Spence fight,” said Porter. “It wasn’t about me slipping up. It was just about me not 100 percent following the protocol as it was scripted in the past.”
Spence Jr. has his sights set on clearing the welterweight division and making a run at 154. Porter will surely present a tough task as both fighters look to unify the division.
If Porter can draw a blueprint better than the smaller Garcia did and not just take punches all night, but rather, show his strength by delivering it with shots to Spence Jr., he’ll be better for it, and surely increase his chances of pulling off a stunning upset.
Manouk Akopyan has been a member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011 and has written for the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Guardian and Philadelphia Inquirer. He can reached on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].