SHAWN Porter vs. Errol Spence for the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Council welterweight belts proved to be a strong Fight of the Year candidate.
Though Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) would emerge victorious via split decision, the stock of both fighters rose with that blistering display of boxing action over the weekend.
EXCITING. This fight had been billed as one involving fighters with contrasting styles.
Porter (30-3, 17 KOs) was the in-your-face, no-nonsense brawler with no reverse in his gearbox, while Spence was the southpaw boxer-counterpuncher who loved to pick his spots to unleash powerful combinations.
As it turned out, Porter was able to initially impose his game-plan on Spence who had no choice but to fight Porter’s fight.
From the start both fighters mustered a frenetic pace, throwing punches actively. The stocky, hulking Porter was able to muscle his way in and make Spence uncomfortable.
It was obvious to all that Spence’s strategy was to avoid a firefight with the rugged Porter but he was sucked into it anyway.
Now this is where it got interesting and this fight showed Spence’s versatility as a fighter.
SPENCE. Unable to wriggle himself free from the constant bombardment, Spence eventually settled down and fought Porter’s fight and acquitted himself quite well.
Though there were times where he was able to extricate himself and place some separation so he could throw his jab and combinations, majority of the fight was fought in close range with both fighters exchanging combinations.
As a testament to Spence’s talent, he was able to beat Porter at his own game, partly due to the fact that Porter smothered his own offense when he stormed his way in.
Spence was wise to this and was able to pick his spots well, landing flush, eye-catching shots.
A beautiful example was the left hook in the 11th round which produced the only knockdown of the fight.
As Porter was about to throw one of his wide punches, Spence beat him to it by landing a short but accurately placed left hook which landed smack on the point of Porter’s chin.
He went down on one knee and wasn’t seriously hurt, but this proved to be pivotal in the scoring.
SCORES. Speaking of the cards (116-111 twice for Spence, 115-112 Porter), I think the judges were on point. Though I had Spence winning by three, it could reasonably be argued that Porter wasn’t too far behind.
However, with the knockdown I think the 115-112 for Porter was a bit generous.
Again, it’s a question of preference. Some judges prefer to give the round to the fighter who dictates the pace and brings the action, while others are partial to those who control the fight and are more effective.
LAST ROUND. It’s on my kumpare Eddy Basa, who celebrates his birthday today. Cheers!