Welterweight world champions collide when IBF Champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. clashes with WBC Champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter in a massive 147-pound title unification match headlining a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View on Saturday, September 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The co-feature of the evening will pit WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell against unbeaten former champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez in an explosive 168-pound showdown.
Tickets for the event go on sale Monday, July 22 at 12 p.m. PT and can be purchased at AXS.com.
“Errol Spence Jr. versus Shawn Porter in a welterweight unification match brings to mind some of the great 147-pound clashes of the past – Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Kid Gavilan, Leonard vs. Hearns or Whitaker vs. Chavez,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Both men are in their primes and both like to apply pressure. With that clash of styles, something has to give. In the co-feature, Anthony Dirrell doesn’t want to give up the title and David Benavidez wants it back. Played out before an electric crowd at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and headlining a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View, this show has instant classic written all over it.”
Spence vs. Porter represents a major step forward in the quest to find the best 147-pound boxer on the planet. Spence has declared that anyone who wants to make that claim will have to come through him. Porter has already faced the some of the biggest names in the division, including Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, and will make Spence back up his boast.
The unbeaten Spence (25-0, 21 KOs) is a young, powerful welterweight who vaulted to the top of the welterweight scene with a punishing 11th round knockout victory over Kell Brook for the IBF championship in front of Brook’s hometown fans in Sheffield, England in 2017. Fighting out of Desoto, Texas, Spence has successfully defended the title three times. Most recently he scored a unanimous decision victory over three-division world champion Mikey Garcia in a PBC on FOX Pay-Per-View show before a hometown crowd at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on March 16.
“It’s going to be a very exciting fight,” said Spence. “Shawn is never in a boring fight and I always entertain. It will be a ‘Fight of the Year’ type fight because our styles mesh. Shawn Porter is a guy who tries to rough you up. That’s what he’s always done. With Yordenis Ugas he tried to box and he said he didn’t like that style. He said he is going back to his original style. If he brings that style to me, it’s going to be a great fight because I’m going to bring it right back to him.”
The 31-year-old Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) is a two-time welterweight champion whose high-pressure style has served him well in his rise in the 147-pound division. Born in Akron, Ohio and now living in Las Vegas, Porter won the IBF welterweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Devon Alexander in 2013. He lost the title, which Spence now has, to Kell Brook by a majority decision in 2014. Porter moved back into the championship ranks with a unanimous decision victory over Danny Garcia for the vacant WBC title in 2018. He successfully defended the title with a split decision victory over Yordenis Ugas in March on FOX.
“There haven’t been too many fights as a professional that I’ve been this excited about,” said Porter. “I was really excited about the Danny Garcia fight and I’m really excited about this one. Ever since Spence got a belt, I really circled this fight on my calendar. Preparation is the key. I think I have everything it takes to beat Errol Spence. I’m very confident and my team is confident in what I have to do on September 28. We’ll be ready.”
Dirrell vs. Benavidez promises to be a hotly contested battle for the WBC Super Middleweight title. Dirrell is a two-time WBC 168-pound world champion and will bring experience, while Benavidez will bring his high-octane style.
The 34-year-old Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) won the WBC title for the first time with a unanimous decision over Sakio Bika in 2014. The native of Flint, Michigan lost the title the next year to Badou Jack by majority decision. He put together six straight victories after that loss to get back into position to fight for the championship again. He won the title with a technical decision victory over Avni Yildirim in February on FS1. Dirrell is the younger brother of Andre Dirrell, who won a bronze medal as a member of the U.S. Olympic boxing team in 2004.
“I’m going to work my butt off, putting in extra hours in the gym, because this is one of the toughest opponents I’ve ever fought,” Dirrell said. “He’s young and he’s tough. But I’m more than ready for anything that he can bring. I bring an exciting fight. He knows that. The world knows that. He can talk, but nothing matters but what happens in the ring. I wanted this fight to be out west because I will fight anybody anywhere. It’s only two people in the ring and we’re going to give a good entertaining fight for the fans.”
Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs) won the WBC title with a split decision victory over Ronald Gavril in 2017. Fighting out of Phoenix, Arizona, Benavidez successfully defended the title with a more convincing unanimous decision over Gavril in the rematch four months later. The 22-year-old returned to the ring to score an impressive knockout victory over veteran J’Leon Love in March on the Spence vs. Garcia PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View.
“I’m looking forward to reclaiming my WBC belt in my next fight against Anthony Dirrell,” said Benavidez. “This fight is overdue and I guarantee I will be ready for whatever he brings to the ring. The fans are really going to enjoy this one.”
Final Press Conference Quotes
ERROL SPENCE JR.
“I feel like all of my fights prepared me for this moment. Porter is not like Mikey Garcia. They have different styles and different mentalities. But there are a lot of distractions fighting at home and I feel like I overcame that to lead me to this point.
“I don’t make anything of the words he’s saying. We train hard and we’re focused and prepared for anything he brings Saturday night.
He’s been talking a lot, his dad’s been talking a lot and I’m going to shut him up. They’re going to call me the “show stopper’ after Saturday night.
“I’ve prepared for everything. It’s all about adjustments. I make them fast in the ring. People thought Kell Brook’s experience would help him but it didn’t at all. I can adjust to my opponent’s style and we will show it Saturday.
“I’m ready to go. I never missed weight and I’m always professional. It’s just hard work and dedication. I’m going to be even more ripped and ready than I was against Mikey Garcia.
“This is going to be an amazing event come Saturday night. I will be the unified champion of the world. Shawn comes to fight and I embrace that. I can’t wait because I promise this is going to be one for the history books.
“I just have to do what I’ve been doing. I don’t care about the rounds as long as it doesn’t go 12.
I’m going to win and do it in dominating fashion.
“It’s important to me to get the knockout. It’s a goal of mine to stop him and I hope to get it done. If can’t get it done, then I’m just going to be comfortable with the victory. But you know I’m looking for the stoppage.”
“It’s the competitor in me to get at him any way I can. Until that bell rings, we’ll do whatever we need to do to let him know we’re really here to fight him.
“When you’re in there with a top level opponent, it’s supposed to be a close action packed fight. I have everything it takes to make each fight exciting when I step into the ring.
“Everyone has seen everything what I’ve done in my career. Everyone knows I can take a punch and I’ll be there from the first round to the last round. We’ll see what happens to Errol as the fight goes on.
“This is the best camp I’ve ever had. The nutrition and everything has been spot on. I’m ahead of schedule and that’s where I plan to stay. I expect to be eating Friday morning.
“I’m aggressive and I’m strong and guys can’t handle it. There are things that happen in the ring and you just have to move with it. I’m always ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
“I expected it to get heated today. I know that if I fire at Errol, he’s going to fire back. That’s how the fights going to be as well. Everyone got a good taste of what you’ll see Saturday.
“Being in the underdog position is literally where I come from. Northeast Ohio is always an underdog. Everybody works where I come from. We always do the best we can.
“The resume is for everyone else to compare and contrast. For me, it’s all about who’s in front of me. I believe I have the right recipe to be the person to get the job done Saturday. I have the style to challenge him physically and mentally.
“We didn’t change too much of our program heading into this fight. For the second time we went down to Washington, D.C. for part of our camp.”
“The underdog or the favorite I’m always going to ”The Dog’ no matter what. People can have their opinion on the odds, but it doesn’t play into my mentality at all for this fight.
“This is a fight that could very well steal the show on this pay-per-view. It’s an honor to be in this position. It’s a dream to be on a card like this defending my title.
“I have to see how it plays out, but age is just a number. You see Manny Pacquiao and fighters like that who went out and beat younger opponents. You have to be determined and still focused on the game.
“Experience is definitely a big key in this fight. I think that he has holes in his game and I’m going to expose it on Saturday night.
“The cut from my last fight won’t be an issue for this one. That fight was over six months ago, so if it’s going to heal, it should be healed. It doesn’t affect anything I’m doing in the ring.
“My training camp in Las Vegas was spectacular. It’s all about taking yourself out of your comfort zone and push yourself to the max to be successful at this elite level.
“I don’t think this fight is going the distance and I know I’m having my hand raised at the end. He got dropped with a jab and I hit harder than Ronald Gavril.”
“I’m very motivated for this fight. I feel like I have another opportunity to not just get a title, but take it from a champion. I’ve worked very hard for this fight. Dirrell has never been knocked out and I’m taking the challenge to be the man who does it.
“This is the perfect time for this fight. I’m getting stronger every day. Dirrell feels like he has a lot to prove to the fans. So it’s going to be a war as long as it lasts.
This is going to be an amazing card. It’s a stacked card from beginning to end. I want to make a statement and steal the show.
“Dirrell is a great fighter and we’re both ready for what we’re going to do. There’s a respect between us, but I’m going for the knockout. If I don’t, he’s going to get a beating.
“I’m definitely going to make this weight class my home. I have no problem at all making weight. There’s a lot of great fights to be made at super middleweight and we’re going to stay here as long as we can get those fights done.
“As of right now, all of my attention is on Anthony Dirrell. We give him the respect he deserves because he’s a champion at the end of the day. It’s going to take my best to beat him and we’re looking forward to doing it.
“Dirrell has experience, plus some speed and power. He can change from orthodox to southpaw and has a lot of tricks in his book. He’s been in there with some good fighters. But what motivates me the most is that he’s never really been hurt and I want to be the first. I know when I put my hands on somebody, I can hurt them.”
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ABOUT SPENCE VS. PORTER
Spence vs. Porter pits unbeaten IBF Welterweight Champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. against WBC Welterweight Champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter in a 147-pound title unification that headlines a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event on Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
The pay-per-view event begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell facing unbeaten former champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez in the co-main event, unbeaten contenders Mario “El Azteca” Barrios and Batyr Akhmedov battling for the WBA Super Lightweight title, and rugged veteran Josesito “The Riverside Rocky” Lopez and brawler John Molina Jr. competing in a 10-round welterweight fight.