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In Back and Forth Rumble, Spence Edges Porter, Gets Split Decision Victory

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Errol Spence came to the ring at Staples Center as the more heralded boxer, the man with more buzz aura over his head. Shawn Porter came in respected for his willingness to take on all comers, but most figured his rumbler style would be too rudimentary for a man combining technique and power as the Texan possesses…

After twelve rounds, we heard the cards, after this welterweight unification contest, which screened for the masses on the FOX PPV platform…A majority of fans came in thinking that Spence would snag that KO he coveted, they weren’t expecting the dramatics of waiting for the scorecards. They’d underestimated Shawn Porter….

The arbiters call:  116-111 for Spence…115-112 for Porter..and the tie breaker score was 116-111…for Spence.

I thought Porter, in no way rudimentary,  fought a splendid fight, and was quite happy with the card that saw Porter win.

But these were tight as heck rounds, so we can debate this tango forever. “I didn’t look how I wanted to look,” Spence admitted, calling his effort “sloppy.”

Yes, he did manage a knockdown..but he gave credit to the rumbler Porter. “He was strong,” he said, but he credited Porters’ heart. Then Danny Garcia was brought in, to be announced as the next foe for Spence.

Porter then spoke; he thanked Spence for a great fight. “Did y’all enjoy that,” he shouted. Porter didn’t bitch and bless him, for acting like pure class. “We are proud of the job we did tonight,” he said. “I think the knockdown was the difference,” he admitted. Again, the class he showed after losing has to make anyone like him more.

Spence, age 29, took to the ring with a 25-0 mark, and holding the IBF 147 strap, while Porter (30-2-1), age 31, owned the WBC 147 strap.

In the first, Porter used his legs, and slid left, mostly, and used the whole ring. Spence edged forward, looked to cut the ring off. Porter tried to feint, to keep the Texan at bay. “Let him have the body shot,” said trainer Kenny Porter to Shawn after the round, meaning don’t try and block it. Derrick James told Spence not to fall for feints.

In the second, we saw flurries on both sides to start. Spence got backed up, was it the right hand thrown by Porter? He had Spence on the defensive. The Ohio born Porter was the more active, he told the judges he wanted the round more. A Spence left landed clean, solid power shot, replay showed.

In the third, the lefty Spence tried to pump a jab to keep the rumbler Porter from rushing in when he wanted. Ref Jack Reiss told Porter not to push Spences’ neck down. Porter was swarming, then Spence got warned, for going low. The Spence left was dialing in better now. It was a chippy fight, already.

In the fourth, before the round started, ref Jack Reiss told both to settle. Porter was the volume guy, then Spence came underneath with the left. A Porter hook had the crowd jazzed. Solid work from each man here. Shawn swarmed effectively, and he used his feet smartly, to get better angles and to help make Spence miss. Did Porter get a tired late in the round?

In round five, we heard Kenny Porter say he’d called for “straighter punches.” Porter again used his mobility, to get himself openings. And he seemed to be more aggressive, work harder than Spence.

In the sixth, Shawn stalked, backed Errol up, then stood his ground as Spence sought to edge forward. They went back and forth in tight, and then we saw Porter bob and weave, make his head scarce to Errol. Tight round, coin flip round.

In the seventh, Porter wanted to be first, send the judges that message, that he wanted it more. More smart and confident work from Porter…He’d stand toe to toe with Spence, no fear in him.

In the eighth, Porter got up off his stool early and then started fighting. Spence was in another mode. But Porter wouldn’t be fading, not yet or maybe ever. They had a rest session for more portions of this round than others.

In the ninth, we saw Porter keep turning. Spence landed a left to the body which had Porter trip. A Porter uppercut had the crowd wowed. He threw a pile of jabs, not clean but showing his stamina was aces. Spence was strafing, his power edge was apparent here.

In the tenth, Porter kept winging even as Spence threw nuclear heat at him. Porter’s chin was as per usual stellar. We saw a cut from a butt on Errol’s right eye. Then, round 11…A “Porter” chant started, and Shawn’s legs helped him escape punches. Spence landed some power shots but Porters’ chin held up. Then it didn’t….A knockdown, Porter got caught. Porter fired back and was the aggressor. A left hook, as Porter was frozen, put him down. It was on his chin, and he had a glove touch the mat.

To round 12…Porter looked OK, his eyes and legs fine. A winging left landed on Spence, and the Texan was loading up, missing a good deal. Then Porter maybe buzzed Errol. The Porter chin, it is A grade….No KOs, we’d go to the cards.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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