Spence Jr v Porter Unificiation Bout Highlights America’s Strength in Depth at Welterweight
— ShowtimeShawn Porter (@ShowtimeShawnP) August 28, 2019
Three of the four world welterweight championships in pro boxing are held by Americans and two of those will be unified in the Staples Center on September 28 when IBF champ Errol Spence Jr clashes with WBC counterpart Shawn Porter.
Title unification bouts like this one are becoming en vogue in the sport. The US also has WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford and, until this summer, laid claim to a clean sweep of the belts in the division.
Keith Thurman lost the WBA (Super) strap to regular champ and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao on points in July. What the bout between the unbeaten Spence Jr and Porter highlights, however, is how this weight class is dominated by Americans.
Going into their fight in LA, respected industry magazine The Ring has US boxers occupying five of the top six spots in their world rankings for welterweights. Spence Jr tops the chart ahead of Crawford, then Pacquiao, Thurman and Porter down in fifth place – just ahead of Danny Garcia.
These rankings, which each individual boxing authority or organisation draws up for themselves too, help shape the betting on fights. Given he’s won all of his previous 25 matches, Spence Jr v Porter odds from Paddy Power have “The Truth” as a hot favourite.
Besides using industry ratings, there’s also a key form line to consider around this all-American bout. Spence Jr and Porter have both battled the UK’s Kell Brook in recent years but with very different outcomes.
Porter used to be the IBF welterweight champion but lost the title on points to the British boxer by a majority decision after 2014 encounter when the full 12 rounds. Brook would later lose the strap when knocked out in the 11th round on his side of the Atlantic by Spence Jr
Defeat by Brook was Porter’s first in the paid ranks and he lost again on points to then-WBA welterweight champ Thurman three fights later. Although he has since got his career back on track by beating Garcia for the WBC belt and defending it against Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas, Porter is still regarding as an underdog in this fight as a 9/2 outsider.
With a pro record 30 wins, two defeats and a draw, Ohio native Porter lacks the undefeated sequence that Spence Jr brings to the table. That leaves “Showtime” with it all to prove in their bout.
Since dethroning Brook in his hometown of Sheffield, England, Spence Jr has made three successful defences of the IBF welterweight title. Two of those have been against fellow Americans no longer prominent in the ranking in Lamont Peterson and Mikey Garcia.
The latter took Spence Jr to the judges after 11 consecutive stoppages of previous opponents. That prior run of knockouts and retirements also makes him a worthy favourite over Porter.
Whoever’s hand gets raised at the end of their bout, one thing is for sure. Welterweight boxing is in terrific shape in the US with genuine strength-in-depth to the division with future all-American bouts for belts assured.