ERROL SPENCE, SHAWN PORTER MEET IN HIGH-STAKES UNIFICATION FIGHT
On Saturday night, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter will attempt to unify their respective titles in one of the biggest welterweight matchups of the year. The fight will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View.
Spence (25-0, 21 KO) is coming off of a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Mikey
Garcia in March. Garcia—who was unbeaten going into the bout and had been a world champion in four different weight classes—was outclassed by Spence over the course of the fight.
WBA welterweight champion and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao looms as a potential opponent for the winner of Spence-Porter. Spence has expressed interest in a fight with Pacquiao down the line in the lead-up to his upcoming fight with Porter.
Not to be overlooked is Porter (30-2-1, 17 KO), who is currently riding a four-fight win streak, looking to extend it to five on Saturday night. Porter captured his WBC world title when he upset former two-division world champion Danny Garcia via unanimous decision in September of 2018.
In his first defense of the WBC title, Porter barely slipped by Yordenis Ugas in March, winning a controversial split decision. While Porter was awarded the decision officially, many observers felt as though Ugas should have gotten the nod on the scorecards.
In the co-main event, WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell will defend his title against former titleholder David Benavidez.
Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KO) won the vacant WBC title in February when he outpointed Avni Yildirim via a technical decision. That night, Dirrell won the same belt that was stripped from Benavidez because of a drug test he failed in September of 2018. In addition to being stripped of the title for testing positive for cocaine, Benavidez was placed on a short four-month suspension by the WBC.
In his first fight following the suspension, Benavidez (21-0, 18 KO) stopped J’Leon Love in just two rounds in March of this year. Benavidez first won the WBC belt in September of 2017 when he defeated Ronald Gavril via split decision. He successfully defended the belt when he outpointed Gavril in a rematch in February of 2018.
Also on Saturday night’s card are super lightweights Mario Barrios and Batyr Akhmedov fighting for the vacant secondary WBA “world” super lightweight title. Regis Prograis—who will be fighting Josh Taylor in the World Boxing Super Series Final on October 26—is currently the WBA “super” world champion in that division.
Barrios (24-0, 16 KO) last fought in May, when he knocked out Juan Jose Velasco in two rounds on the undercard of the Jarrett Hurd-Julian Williams fight in Fairfax, VA. He will be fighting on the biggest stage so far in his career when he faces Akhmedov at Staples Center on Saturday.
Akhmedov (7-0, 6 KO) stopped journeyman Francisco Gabriel Pina after five rounds in his most recent bout in May. Though limited in professional experience, Akhmedov has had an extensive amateur career, even representing Turkey in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.