By Jake Donovan
The next step towards welterweight clarity is Brooklyn-bound—and free of charge.
A long-discussed unification bout between 147-pound titlists Errol Spence and Shawn Porter will land at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, two sources with intimate knowledge of talks informed BoxingScene.com on Wednesday. A firm date has yet been established—as scheduling within Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) has long been fluid—but the bout is being targeted for August 3 atop a free-to-air PBC on Fox telecast.
Fox Sports boxing insider Mike Coppinger was the first to reveal such plans.
Whether the unification clash lands on August 3 or September 1 remains up in the air. BoxingScene.com has been able to confirm that the absolutes surrounding the affair are Barclays Center serving as the destination and the contest not airing on Pay-Per-View.
Both boxers are coming off successful title defenses in March, albeit through drastically means of victory.
Porter (30-2-1, 17KOs) survived a stiff challenge from mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas to claim a split decision victory in their March 0 bout, which aired live on Fox. The feat marked the first successful title defense for Porter, who claimed the vacant belt in a close but clear 12-round win over former two-division titlist Danny Garcia last September.
The win over Ugas came one week prior to Fox Sports’ first foray into the PPV market, the March 16 event topped by Spence’s virtuoso performance in a 12-round whitewash of previously unbeaten Mikey Garcia, Spence (25-0, 21KOs) registered the third successful defense of a title reign now coming up on its two year anniversary later this month.
Spence’s victory over Garcia—who moved up from lightweight in a failed bid to become a five-division titlist—enjoyed considerable commercial success, especially considering both boxers were headlining a PPV for the first time in their respective careers. The fight topped a PPV event which reportedly sold more than 360,000 units, while playing to a crowd of more than 47,000 at AT&T Stadium—home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys—in Arlington, Tex.
Despite the success, PBC brass were never married to the idea of keeping the unbeaten Texan exclusively in the PPV market. Also factoring into the decision are plans for another welterweight title fight which will in fact come a la carte.
Long reigning unbeaten welterweight titlist Keith Thurman remains on course for a July 20 showdown with eight-division champ Manny Pacquiao, an event which will come a la carte. Their WBA title consolidation clash was once rumored to be Brooklyn-bound, but far more likely to instead land in Las Vegas.
The two bouts running two weeks apart—should the fight settle on August 3, a budgeted Fox prime date—it will only further arouse interest for the winners to square off down the road, whether later this year or at the start of 2020. Such a fight would undoubtedly land on the PPV market.
At least one significant step in the process, however, comes at no additional cost.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox