This weekend International Boxing Federation titlist Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence will engage in a unification bout against World Boxing Council titlist Shawn Porter in a Premier Boxing Champions event from the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Spence has the invariable favorite since the match was announced, with very few banking on Porter as being able to use his aggressive, come forward attack to be the first to defeat the boxer most proclaim as the present, as well as the future of the sport.
The Texas native turned professional on November 9, 2012 in Indio, California, alongside a few of his USA Olympic Boxing teammates, beating Jonathan Garcia via third round knockout. This writer spoke to Spence shortly afterward, and even then it was apparent that both the talent, as well as the Southern hospitality and drawl of the Dallas Cowboys fan was for real.
In the years since, Spence accumulated an 84% knockout ratio and stands as the IBF’s current longest reigning title holder since he lifted the belt from Kell Brook in 2017.
The fight this Saturday, televised by Fox Pay Per View, will represent Spence’s fourth IBF title defense, as well as the first time Spence has entered a unification bout.
What the boxing world also anticipates as an outcome from this weekend’s fight is Spence’s ascension to crossover star status.
The Porter bout takes place in September 2019, meaning Spence will enjoy the holiday season, turn 30 years old on January 13, and just as we as a country will be hotly engaged into the 2020 United States Presidential election next year, the boxing world will be hoping to see more of Spence at, or near, the top of the sports landscape.
Spence himself knows the direction in which the southpaw needs to take.
In speaking with ESPN’s Steve Kim last month in the lead up to Spence-Porter, the fighter spoke of Floyd Mayweather turning into a crossover star after defeating Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, and Manny Pacquiao’s crossover match against De La Hoya the following year in 2008.
It has been 11 years since the ‘Dream Match’, when Pacquiao dominated and stopped DLH, yet the Philippine icon is still fighting at a high level and finds himself the World Boxing Association 147 pound title holder following an impressive decision win over Keith Thurman in July of 2019.
Spence spoke openly to Kim about wanting a fight against Pacquiao, which in 2020 will represent an undisputed welterweight champion status and with a win over an icon of the sport, a mainstream, worldwide appeal that thus far eludes the No. 5 rated fighter in the sport.
So the question is, are you as a boxing fan voting for The Truth in 2020?