The Spence vs Porter Unification Fight Card Is the Reason Boxing Fans Love Boxing
By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
At Staples Center on Saturday night, boxing fans around the globe were treated to another tremendous fight sponsored by PBC and FOX Sports. From start to finish this fight in downtown Los Angeles was action packed not only for the 16,702 fans in attendance but the millions of fans watching around the world. Though fight fans tuned in to see Errol Spence Jr and Shawn Porter unify their belts, there were great fights on the undercard for them to enjoy as well.
The PBC on FS1 telecast began with Linden, Mi., rising star Joey Spencer, in his fourth fight of this year, dispensing of Revere, MA., Travis Gambardella rather quickly. This fight was scheduled for 4 rounds though Gambardella was knocked down 4 times in the first couple rounds before the fight was stopped in the third round. The 19-year-old Spencer will try to fight once more time before the year concludes.
In his own words, Spencer says post-fight, “The body shots weren’t really the plan going in. I started off with headshots and he was taking those well. I put one downstairs and I instantly saw it affected him badly. I knew it was a wrap. I was going to keep going to the body. I thought the referee was going to stop it in the second round. When he let him go, I took a deep breath and made sure not to punch myself out. I stuck to my jab and let the rest take care of itself.” “I’m so happy with the improvements that I was able to show tonight on the big stage. I’m really excited for what’s to come.”
The following bout was much more competitive as Gilroy, CA. (36-6-1) Robert Guerrero took on Covina, CA., (14-1-1) Jerry Thomas as all judges had Guerrero winning this fight convincingly. “I got some rounds in tonight, which was valuable. We got what we needed and boxed our way to victory.”
Guerrero went on to say, “I want to get back into those bigger fights. I moved around and stayed smart in there tonight. The goal was to stick to the game plan and I did until the end of the fight, but then I got right back on it. You just have to keep working out the kinks and that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”
In the final undercard of the evening, 36-8 (19 K0’s) Josesito Lopez took on the 20-8 (24 KO’s) John Molina Jr. in a 10 round Welterweight bout. This match-up of two sluggers promised to be a slugfest with the toughest guy to remain standing. After an early knockdown of Molina Jr., it was obvious that Lopez would have the advantage in this bout. Though this fight lasted 8 rounds, Lopez was never in trouble during this fight.
“John Molina is a warrior for sure. It was a pleasure to be in the ring with Molina. I want to thank Robert Garcia and my whole team for turning my career around. I’m the ‘Riverside Rocky’ and I’m here to challenge all champions. I knew he wasn’t going to quit. He’s a warrior. I had to keep on the pressure. I was thinking that hopefully the ref and the team made the right call to finish it at the right time.”
Josesito Lopez continued in to say, “There’s a lot more ‘Riverside Rocky. Robert Garcia has turned my career around. I’m a race car and like NASCAR, I’ve got a whole team behind me. We both carry power in our hands so it wasn’t a surprise someone went down. It easily could have happened to me with the power he has. I was able to catch him early, find openings and get the finish. I’m a top 10-level fighter. I’m going to give any fighter and any world champion a run for their money. I want memorable fights and I want the best. It was an honor to fight Keith Thurman’s last fight and I’d love to fight him again. I want all big challenges and all the titles.”
In the opening fight of the FOX Pay-Per-View, young San Antonio native Mario Barrios took on Russian bred Batry Akhmedoz. Each of their lead boxing fans to expect a war in the ring. That’s just what the fans got! The WBA Super-Lightweight Championship was on the line and neither of these men wanted to go home without that belt. From the first round to the last, these men left everything in the ring. Though I was rooting for Mario Barrios I, like most fans in the building, had no idea who won this fight and was anxiously awaiting to hear how the judges scored this fight.
This fight could’ve been called, either way, it was just that a close a fight. The crowd erupted once the judges announced that Mario Barrios was the new WBA Super Lightweight Champion. Evidence of how close this fight was seen in the judges’ scorecards, as they scored this fight 111-116, 111-115, 112-114.
In the post-fight press conference, Batyr explained his thoughts on the fight, “The judges see better than I can from the ring. I did everything I could. I thought I won the fight. They decided that he won the fight. When I watch the fight, I’ll be able to tell you what it looked like. My job is to do everything to win. The judges are supposed to judge correctly. I knew that I had to win by a wide margin. The plan was to gradually grow the activity, but after the first knockdown, I knew that I had to add more than I had planned. So, I started being more aggressive. I did everything I could to try to stop him.”
Akhmedov followed up by stating, “The knockdowns didn’t hurt me but I didn’t see the punches coming. I took a little bit of time and I felt okay. I tried to do everything I could. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to handle his experience, but he was on the ropes most of the fight. I beat him up and I thought I won the fight.”
In elated fashion, Mario Barrios said, “I promised my city of San Antonio that I would bring this title back home and I did it. I knew this was going to be a war. He was getting dirty in there but the Mexican warrior in me was not going to let this opportunity pass me by. I dug deep and got the victory.”
The Co-Main Event pitted then WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony Dirrell against former WBC Super Middleweight Champion David Benavidez. Having never lost his belt in the ring Benavidez was eager to regain his Championship belt back, though to do so he would have to go through Anthony Dirrell who earned the belt by beating Avni Yildirim in February of 2019 for the vacant title that Benavidez was stripped of.
This fight for the WBC Super Middleweight Championship was sure to be a hard-fought and highly contested fight. Benavidez was planning on getting a knockout against Dirrell who was very focused on defending his belt. From round 1 of this championship bout, Benavidez walked down Dirrell with very little respect for his punching power. As the rounds progressed and Dirrell could not hold off Benavidez’s attack, Benavidez continued to apply pressure to the champ even taunting him telling him to hit which would then allow him to counter punch him inflicting more punishment.
Midway through the fight, Benavidez caused an ugly gash just below the eyebrow of the Champion Dirrell. The gash caused some visible discomfort for Dirrell as he began to paw at the gash, even though the Referee asked for the Ring Doctor to look at the gash after the 6th, 7th, and 8th rounds, they allowed the fight to continue. The fight was stopped in the 9th round as Dirrell had trouble locating Benavidez’s punches coming and was not able to retaliate effectively.
Dirrell told us after the fight, “He hit me with a clean shot. That’s my first time ever being cut by a punch. It opened up. There was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t see the whole fight after that. My corner did a good job on it, but I really couldn’t see. I would have kept going in there. I’m not quitting against anybody. Everyone saw I didn’t go down. My legs were still strong, but I couldn’t do anything about it. We’re going back to the drawing board. I’m still fighting. We won’t end on a loss. You can put anybody in there with me.”
Benavidez’s emotions poured out during his post-fight press conference by stating, “There are so many emotions coming at me at once. We put so much hard work into this training camp. We left home and were away from everything. But I had the dream to become the youngest two-time super middleweight world champion and I made my dreams come true. Everything just fell in place perfectly. From the suspension to all the big fights I’ve been in. All of that helped me out in this fight. I did not make a mistake or open myself up more than I needed to. I worked behind my jab and got the stoppage. Things are going to get better and get tougher and I’m ready for the challenge.”
He continued to say, “This was one of the hardest fights I’ve had. It was very tactical. But I worked my jab the whole time. It wasn’t easy. I’m now the youngest two-time world champion, from Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve got a lot of respect for Anthony Dirrell, especially the way he fought tonight.”
Though over 16,700 boxing fans poured into Staples Center to witness the Welterweight Championship Unification fight between IBF Champion Errol Spence and WBC Champion Shawn Porter, they were treated to a great night boxing even before these 2 men stepped into the ring. As you may have expected to the lead up to this title fight has gotten contentious at times and Saturday night was the time for each of their emotions to erupt.
To my surprise, Shawn Porter showed his championship metal by coming out and dominating five of the first six rounds. Porter was able to get inside and stay in Errol’s chest, not allowing Errol to create distance with his jab. All the while landing some punishing body shots on Spence Jr. and taking control of the fight early. Porter landed the most on Spence (172) than any fight of his career to date.
Although the fight was nearly even in punches thrown 744 to 745 in favor of Spence Jr.. Errol did land 44% of his power punches. Spence Jr. also landed 29.7% of his body punches to Porter’s 23.1%. Finding his range in the middle rounds of this fight was key for Spence Jr. as he was able to gain control of the fight by landing the most percentage of his power punches to seemingly wear down Porter.
Errol’s knockdown of Shawn in the 11th round was the difference of the fight on most scorecards, tilting the fight in his favor. However, Porter fought harder in the 12 to attempt to earn that point back, though to no avail. Shawn did land more jabs to the body but Errol landed nearly 20% more power punches 44.2% to 25.7%, this disparity led to the judges scoring the fight in his favor.
Shawn Porter was gracious in defeat by saying, “I’ve said this before, I’ve had a lot of experience in the boxing ring. Did you enjoy that fight? He’s a strong kid. We both came in to do the job. I think I had a little more than what he expected, but he handled it. Congratulations to him and his team. We’re proud of what we did. I think that knockdown was the difference. I couldn’t come back to the corner with my head down after that.”
Boxing fans from Texas came out to support Errol Spence Jr. and were loud and proud once it was announced he was the new WBC and still the IBF Champion in the Welterweight division. Post-fight Spence was elated and stated, “It feels good to win. This is a lifetime dream. It shows hard work pays off. Thanks, Shawn Porter, my whole team and all my Texas people for coming out. Shawn Porter is a rough and awkward fighter. I didn’t get off what I wanted to. He’s a true champion. He made it tough. All my punches have bad intentions. Boxing Mikey Garcia, I wanted to show people I could do it with that style. Porter was throwing a lot. I wanted to show I was the bigger and stronger welterweight.”
This was the fight of the year to this point in 2019 and thankfully it lived up to the hype. This fight was a shining example of boxing fans loves boxing. If you possibly missed this fight for whatever reason, you need to catch the replay of this fight because it is well worth your time investment. Please share your thoughts on this Championship fight card from Staples Center in Los Angeles by commenting in the comment section of this article on www.whatsgoodinsports.com or by following me on Twitter at “Voice of the Fans” for immediate engagement. Additionally, subscribe to our weekly “Voice of the Fans Podcast” which is available for you on Apple and Google Podcasts including Spotify, TunedIn, and iHeart Radio. As always, we certainly appreciate you for making our voice your choice!