Spence: ‘I’ll smoke Porter if Pacquiao doesn’t want it’
By Jeff Aranow: IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs) is already looking to line up his next fight against WBA ‘regular’ belt holder Manny Pacquiao or WBC 147 lb. champion ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter following his masterful shutout 12 round unanimous decision against the highly motivated but limited Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) last Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Spence and Pacquiao met inside the ring last Saturday night following Spence’s one-sided drubbing of Garcia. Although Pacquiao said, “Why not?” when asked by Spence if he’d be willing to fight him next, the way he said it didn’t instill confidence that the Filipino star actually wants the fight, and that he would be looking to make it happen.
Pacquiao sounded like he really seem all that interested in facing Spence next. It’s possible that if Pacquiao gets a better offer from Floyd Mayweather Jr., who posed for pictures with him last night, he would take that fight instead. If Pacquiao chooses not to face Spence, then Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) would be an option for him if he’s willing to take the fight.
“Manny Pacquiao would definitely be a good fighter,” Spence said. “I’ll definitely give him that retirement check that he needs. I’m ready in July,” Spence said when told that Pacquiao will be fighting in July.
Pacquiao probably won’t retire even if he loses to Pacquiao. There’s money for Pacquiao to be made fighting the other top welterweights like Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. Even a fight against Amir Khan would make Pacquiao money. A loss to Spence won’t hurt Pacquiao’s career, because he’s perceived to be the #1 fighter in the welterweight division. Pacquiao can lose to those type of fighters without having his popularity hurt.
Spence saying that he’ll give Pacquiao a retirement payday by fighting him was met with laughter by the boxing media. Spence is serious though. He feels that the money that a fight between him and Pacquiao would generate would be a nice retirement payday for the 40-year-old Filipino star. Right now, Spence is probably the biggest payday out there for Pacquiao at 147. Pacquiao could make more money obviously if he chose to fight one of the top middleweights like Saul Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin, but he’s not going to do that. Those fighters are too big for Pacquiao, and he could get hurt.
Lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko would be a good option for Pacquiao if he doesn’t want to fight Spence, but that would be a hard fight to put together due to two fighters competing in different divisions. If Lomachenko insists that Manny come down all the way to lightweight for the fight to be made, it would likely be the deal breaker. Pacquiao vs. Lomachenko might not be a bigger fight than Pacquiao-Spence. Lomachenko is a smaller fighter, and he hasn’t yet been involved in a huge money fight like we saw with Spence v. Garcia last Saturday night.
“I’ll smoke Shawn Porter too,” Spence said when asked who he’ll fight if Pacquiao doesn’t want to face him. “I went into the ring and called out Shawn Porter when he fought Danny Garcia. He said it was an easy fight to be made, and then the next thing you know he’s fighting his mandatory [Yordenis Ugas]. Ugas is a tough fighter, he’s a tough Cuban fighter, but he could have bypassed that and unified, but he didn’t want that. So I fought Mikey Garcia, which turned out to be good. So if Manny Pacquiao don’t want to fight, I’ll give him [Shawn Porter] that smoke he’s been asking for. They said they were not fighting in 2020, so I don’t know,” Spence said.
There would be no reason for Porter to not fight Spence next unless Porter wasn’t serious when said he wanted to fight the winner of the Spence-Garcia fight. In that case, it would mean that Porter was only willing to fight Mikey if he won, but not Spence. It did sound strange how Porter said this week that Spence vs. Garcia was “50-50” fight, one that could go either way. Porter even admitted that he was hoping that Mikey, the underdog, would win the fight. Now that Mikey didn’t win the fight, Porter will need to make up his mind whether he wants the “smoke” that Spence will bring him if he can’t get the fight with Pacquiao.
Porter, 31, had said tat he was going into the ring and challenge the winner of the Spence vs. Garcia fight, but for some reason, he didn’t do so. Whether that was because Spence won the fight rather than Mikey is unclear. Porter might have heard that Spence was going to call out Pacquiao after the fight, so it would have made things uncomfortable for him if he’d gotten in Spence’s face inside the ring moments after the fight. Porter made a mistake of fighting his mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas on March 9 instead of taking the unification fight with Spence. As Spence pointed out, Porter could have bypassed his WBC mandatory challenger Ugas and faced him, but he chose to take that fight.
The World Boxing Council usually allows their champions to take unification fights, so it was strange to hear Porter saying this week that he HAD to make a defense against his mandatory challenger Ugas instead of fighting Spence. What made it all the worse for Porter is he didn’t beat Ugas in a convincing fashion. The fight was controversial with Porter winning a 12 round split decision.
While Porter has said that he clearly won, the boxing public disagreed, and they see Ugas as the true winner of that fight. This could have been avoided if Porter had simply fought Spence instead of Ugas. If the Spence-Pacquiao can’t be made, then Porter should try and take the fight with Spence next if he feels confident that he can win it. It might not be a good idea for Porter to take the fight with Spence. Porter is too short at 5’7″, and he would be in the same situation as Mikey was in last Saturday night in not being able to reach Spence with his shots.