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Spence talks Pacquiao-Thurman, Porter & Crawford

Errol Spence Jr Keith Thurman Shawn Porter Fox Sports pay-per-view Premier Boxing Champions Spence vs. Porter


By Kenneth Friedman: Errol Spence envisions himself soon unifying the welterweight division by beating Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman winner, and then Terence Crawford. Spence says he would like to be the undisputed welterweight champion by next year, so that he can then move up to 154 to become the unified champion in that weight class.

Spence says he’s on “borrowed time” at 147

Errol admits that he’s on borrowed time at 147, because he’s quickly outgrowing the division, and he needs to move up to 154 as soon as possible. For that reason, Spence says he only wants to fight world champions at 147 until he moves up in weight. Guys like Danny Garcia need not apply for a fight with Spence, because he only wants to fight the belt holders, not contenders. It obviously doesn’t help that Spence eats a lot of fast food in between fights. Eating hamburgers and french fries from fast food establishments is going to make it increasingly harder for Spence to make the 147 pound limit. Once he moves up, Spence might even eat his way out of the 154 pound weight class if he doesn’t change his diet.


Spence analyzes Porter’s fighting style

“Shawn Porter is balls to the wall. He can be very aggressive,” said Spence to Premier Boxing Champions podcast. “He’s a guy that tries to box at times, but it’s a little bit out of his character. I think naturally, he’s a guy that comes forward, beats you up, and is awkward. He does anything it takes to win,” said Spence.

IBF 147 pound champion Spence (25-0, 21 KOs) and WBC welterweight champion Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) still don’t have an official date for their unification fight, but they’re expected to face each other in September on Fox Sports pay-per-view. It’s a big ask in putting that fight on PPV, considering that Porter isn’t a popular fighter, and Spence has only once in his career fought on pay-per-view. That was against Mikey Garcia, who obviously helped a great deal in bringing in a lot of buys due to his huge fan base.

Porter, 31, looked lost in trying to box in his last fight against Yordenis Ugas last March. He was eating punches from Ugas the entire fight when he was on the outside. Although Porter ended up winning the fight by a 12 round split decision, he looked like the loser by a long shot. Porter cannot fight like that against Spence if he doesn’t want to get totally embarrassed by him.


Spence expects to dominate Porter

“I think Shawn’s game plan for that fight [Yordenis Ugas] was to box, and it doesn’t come natural to him being a boxer,” said Spence. “He kind of forced a little bit. I don’t think he has any choice but to be aggressive. It’s not going to turn out well for him. For me, any fighter that is coming forward trying to trying to throw a lot of punches at me, I think it’s going to work in my advantage if he tries that or tries to box. I’ll just be ready for anything he brings to the table,” said Spence.

Porter’s fighting style is made to order for a puncher like Spence, and there’s really not much he can do about it. The aggressive come forward style of fighting that Porter uses is the type of style that Spence has always done well against during his amateur and pro career. Spence eats up fighters that come at him looking to slug. Porter doesn’t have the outside game to make adjustments to beat Spence from range.

The type of guys that Spence had problems with during his amateur days were the Eastern block fighters Andrey Zamkovey [Russia] and Serik Sapiyev [Kazakhstan]. Those guys were quick, elusive and used a lot of head movement to give Spence problems. However, Spence figured them out, and had both on the run by the third round. If those fighters had turned pro, Spence would likely easily beat them with pressure. Unfortunately, Porter can’t fight like those guys, because he’s not as fast, and he doesn’t move well around the ring. Porter wins his fights by mugging his opponents on the inside, and roughing them up. He’s normally stronger than his opponents, but he struggles against movers like Thurman.

Errol says he dislikes Thurman more than Porter

“I dislike Keith Thurman more than I dislike him,” said Spence about in talking about Porter’s recent comments about how he believes that Spence dislikes him. “I don’t care anything about Shawn Porter. I don’t know where he got that from [that he doesn’t like him]. I’m not jealous of him. I’ve fought on pay-per-view. He hasn’t fought on pay-per-view yet,” said Spence.

Something about Thurman’s personalty bugs Spence. It’s unclear what in particular about Thurman’s personality that Spence sees as annoying, but it might be his confidence. Thurman is incredibly confident to the point where he comes across as egotistical at times. But in boxing, fighters need a big ego for them to be successful in the sport. You can argue that Thurman takes it to another level when he talks about how he’s still the #1 welterweight in the division after two years out of the ring.

Thurman clearly has lost a major portion of his game due to inactivity, soft living and the natural aging that occurs over time. In Thurman’s comeback fight against fringe contender Josesito Lopez last January, he barely looked better than him, and he’s not one of the elite level fighters. If Thurman’s physical skills have deteriorated to the point where he’s close to the same level as Josesito, he’s not going to do well against Pacquiao on July 20th.

“He’s a guy that I’ve wanted to fight for a long time,” Spence said about Thurman. “Even when I was 14-0, I wanted to fight him. I just think he’s corny overall. He’s a corny individual.”

You can argue Thurman tries to sound cool when he talks, but he comes off as old fashioned in a way. He’s not as hip as he’s trying to portray. He’s a good boxer, and one gets the sense that Thurman has focused on boxing much of his life, and not had a lot of time to experience other things.

Spence believes that Thurman will perform a lot better against Pacquiao than he did in his previous fight against Josesito. For that reason, Spence is predicting that Thurman will win a close decision, but he’s not ruling out a victory for Manny if he brings his A-game.

Thurman beats Pacquiao predicts Spence

“It depends on which Pacquiao shows up. I think Keith Thurman will be a lot sharper than he was in his last fight,” said Spence in discussing the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight. “He [Thurman] had a long layoff. Keith is a lot tougher than a lot of people think. He took a lot of punches in that fight [against Josesito Lopez]. Even in the Shawn Porter fight, he took a lot of punches. He’s tough. He might be a boxer, but he’s tough. I think he’s going to win a split decision or he’s going to blow him out, because it depends on what Pacquiao comes out. If he can turn the tables, I think he can win. The Pacquiao that fought Broner, I think Thurman edges him out or outpoints him,” said Spence.

What Spence isn’t saying is that Pacquiao will be better than what he showed in his last fight against Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner last January. That fight was so one-sided that Pacquiao looked sloppy at times, because he didn’t have to worry about much coming back at him from Adrien. We didn’t see all the movement and the angles from Pacquiao that he’s shown in the past against other fighters. Thurman has gotten Pacquiao riled up with his talk of wanting to embarrass him and send him into retirement. There’s a good chance that Pacquiao will be a lot better in this fight than he was against Broner. In looking at Pacquiao and Thurman train for their upcoming fight, Pacquiao looks in better shape, more powerful and faster than the 30-year-old Keith.

Spence wants Thurman fight in early 2020

“Keith will get on his bicycle, move around and pot shot him,” said Spence in analyzing the Pacquiao-Thurman fight. “I think Keith Thurman will edge it out. If he gets passed Pacquiao, and I get passed Porter, I have two belts, and he has one, that’s a huge fight on pay-per-view. That’s definitely a fight that I want after that. We’re both fighting this year. I think we can fight in the first quarter of next year. Why wait? Me meeting Keith Thurman is the biggest fight out there for me. After beating Porter and him beating Pacquiao, that’s a huge fight. An even bigger fight than me fighting Thurman is me fighting Pacquiao, if Pacquiao can beat Thurman,” said Spence.

Thurman will need to make a decision which direction he wants to go in if he beats Pacquiao. There’s going to be a great deal of pressure on Thurman to make the fight with Spence, and it’s going to look bad if he insists on taking rematches with Danny Garcia and Porter. There’s a lot of interest in Thurman fighting Garcia and Porter again, but not as much as there would in a fight against Spence. Thurman has become easy to predict when it comes to Spence. One Time will probably choose to continue to delay the Spence fight until after he faces Danny and Porter again, and that could back fire on him. Those fighters might beat Thurman, and ruin a fight with Spence. In an ideal world, Thurman will agree to fight Spence in early 2020. However, given that Spence has been trying to get a fight against Thurman since 2016, it’s probable that One Time will continue to dodge a fight with Errol until 2021 or later. We might not see Spence and Thurman fight until after Errol makes the move up to 154.

Errol wants Crawford soon

Yeah, definitely,” said Spence when asked if he’s interested in fighting Terence Crawford. “That’s a fight that I definitely want after I clean up my side with Porter, Thurman and Pacquiao or Danny Garcia. But I’d probably fight Crawford before Danny Garcia. Terence has a belt. So if I have it my way, I’ll fight Shawn and the winner of Keith and Pacquiao, and then have a huge clash with Terence Crawford for the undisputed [welterweight] championship of the world, and then after that, move up. That would be my dream,” said Spence.

The safe bet for Spence is for him to setup the unification fight against Crawford before he faces Thurman, because it’ll be an easier match for him to make. Crawford actually wants to fight Spence. You can’t say that about Thurman, who has shown repeatedly that he prefers to fight other guys like Josesito, Danny Garcia and Porter over Spence. Spence cannot afford to waste anymore time chasing a reluctant Thurman to try and get him to agree to face him. Thurman has shown over the years that he doesn’t want to fight Spence. Spence might end up fighting for Thurman’s belt after someone beats him.

Spence wants welterweight titles as soon as possible

“He’s top five at welterweight,” said Spence in talking about Danny Garcia. “He hasn’t really said my name. The same thing with Porter. Only now he’s just starting to mention my name. Keith still doesn’t mention my name. I’d rather go after belts than a big name, because I’m on borrowed time in the 147 pound division,” said Spence in ruling out the likelihood of a future fight with Danny Garcia.

You can argue that Danny Garcia is in the same boat as Thurman in not being eager to fight Spence. Garcia has never shown much of a desire to share the ring with Spence. Now that Garcia has lost to both Porter and Thurman, there’s even less of a reason for him to try and fight Spence. That would be a bad career move for Garcia to face Spence.

“I want to get those belts as quick as possible, and do my ultimate goal, and that’s to be the undisputed welterweight champion of the world,” said Spence. “I feel like I got it right here with Shawn Porter, and then Thurman-Pacquiao, and then I can get Terence Crawford. Then I’ll just move up [to 154], and become undisputed champion. I’d like to get all the belts at 154 too. I think it would be great for the undisputed welterweight champion to move up to fight the undisputed 154 pound champion,” said Spence.

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