On Saturday night, one of the biggest fights of the year is finally set to take place, as IBF Welterweight titleholder Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs) is scheduled to meet WBA champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) in a highly-anticipated 147-pound title unification bout.
The bout, which will take place from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, will be broadcast live on FOX Pay-Per-View presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
A former United States Olympian, with a perfect professional record, Spence is considered by many to be amongst the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
With notable victories over the likes of Chris Algieri, Kell Brook, Lamont Peterson, and Mikey Garcia, The Truth will not only be looking to add another title to his collection this weekend, but he’ll be looking to successfully defend his IBF strap for the fourth-straight time.
As the consensus favorite heading into the bout, many expect the 29-year-old Spence to come out on top over the veteran Porter, but it’s also important to note that Showtime represents the toughest test of Spence’s career.
With the bout now just days away, let’s take a look at three keys to victory for Spence.
No. 1 Keep the Distance
From a physical standpoint alone, Errol Spence holds noticeable advantages in both height and reach over Shawn Porter.
Standing 5’10” tall and possessing a 72-inch reach, Spence will be the longer and taller fighter as opposed to Porter, who stands 5’7″ tall and owns a 69.5-inch reach.
To be successful on fight night, Spence will need to be sure that he uses his height and reach advantage correctly, especially given the fact that Porter is a known pressure fighter who will almost assuredly be looking to close the distance and make it a rough-and-dirty fight on the inside.
Because of that, Spence should look to use his height-and-reach advantages to keep the fight at a distance that favors him.
In doing so, he’ll be able to avoid the dangers that could potentially come with fighting Porter in close quarters. He’ll also allow himself to work behind his jab, which is one of his best weapons, while also allowing himself to set up combinations.
No. 2 Gain Respect Early
As mentioned above, Shawn Porter’s game plan is thought to be quite obvious. As an aggressive pressure fighter who looks to use his physicality to maul opponents on the inside, Showtime will likely be looking to close the distance and begin to land big shots on Errol Spence.
It’s for that reason that Spence must keep his distance and fight at his range, but he should also look to gain Porter’s respect early on. With 21 knockouts to his credit, Spence certainly has power. In fact, he possesses solid power in both hands.
In the opening rounds, he should look to make Porter feel this power. If he’s successful in landing a big shot or two early on, he may have Porter second-guessing when to charge in and close the distance, which will only benefit him in keeping the fight at a range he’s comfortable fighting at.
No. 3 Mix it Up
Aside from his strong jab and pure athleticism, Errol Spence has found success thanks to the fact that he’s an incredibly dynamic boxer who can win a fight in multiple different ways.
Working behind his long and sharp jab, Spence has been able to utilize combinations to pick apart and ultimately break down opponents.
What he’s also known for, however, is his ability to mix things up and creatively attack both the head and the body of those standing in front of him. And against Porter, The Truth will need to put a focus on mixing up his attack.
In addition to maintaining his range, Spence will need to throw combinations and keep Porter in check by attacking all areas.
Specifically, Spence should look to target the body. Porter is coming off of a win over Yordenis Ugas, though it was far from his best performance and he experienced a difficult weight cut prior to the bout.
If he once again has trouble making weight or comes in even slightly out of shape, a strong body attack by Spence could turn out to be his Achilles’ heel.