Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions are putting on another Welterweight blockbuster just two months after the superb Pacquiao vs Thurman fight. Shawn "Showtime" Porter vs Errol "The Truth" Spence Jr will unify two of the four major sanctioning bodies belts and move one of the combatants closer to becoming the unified welterweight champion. While Thurman lost to Pacquiao, he remains in the top three or four welterweights in the world, the loss hasn't taken him out of the picture, how could it? He already has wins over Porter and Danny Garcia so he remains a viable contender for the winner of Spence vs Porter, or if the victor goes on to fight Pacquiao next, Thurman will be waiting to fight the winner of that matchup. A loss in any of these matches will not end anyone's career.
The odd man out of course is the excellent Terence "Bud" Crawford who is promoted by Top Rank. It appears that Haymon is in no hurry to allow a non-PBC fighter into the mix, who can blame him, PBC controls the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles. It will probably take a deal where PBC have options on Crawford's next two or three defences to persuade Haymon to do a deal. Bob Arum will never agree to that, and that's the only reason we may never see Spence vs Crawford.
Spence Jr will start a strong favourite against Porter and quite rightly so, but the Las Vegas-based Porter is a formidable opponent for any welterweight in the world. Porter held the IBF title in 2013-2014 when he beat Devon Alexander to win the belt, defended it by stopping Paulie Malignaggi in 4 rounds and then lost it to the then-unbeaten Kell Brook. A point's win over Adrien Broner earned him a fight with WBA champion Turman, but it was Thurman who got the decision, all three judges calling it 115-113.
Wins over contenders Andre Berto and Adrian Granados led to a vacant WBC challenge against Danny Garcia, Porter taking the unanimous decision 116-112, 115-113, and 115-113.
Porter's March defence against Cuban Yordenis Ugas raised a few eyebrows, many believing Ugas did enough to take the win, but two of the judges disagreed, saving Porter's title. The 31-year-old Porter got the nod while outboxing the Cuban instead of using his usual style of intelligent, non-stop pressure fighting, we are unlikely to see him trying to outbox Spence Jr.
Errol Spence Jr is at the centre of an ongoing argument that can only ever be settled inside a boxing ring, "Who is the top dog at welterweight?" Terence Crawford appears to be the majority of fans current No1 but that might change if Spence has his hand raised after this fight and becomes the holder of both belts.
Having watched Spence all through his 25-0 with 21Ko's career, I think at times the lack of any flashy, showboating skills has led fans to think he is a hard puncher but not as entertaining as others. I disagree, the native of Desoto, Texas is an all-round boxer, puncher and defensive master, he just needs the names and belts to move up a notch in the minds of the fans.
The only fight in which we saw any self-doubt was his title-winning effort against Kell Brook. There are Spence fans that had their man winning the fight from wire to wire without losing a second of any round, but watch the fight without sentiment and Brook was probably ahead on points going into the 9th round. It was the only time that Spence has been hit with hard clean punches from a welterweight as big as himself, but he came through it and took over with accurate hard shots of his own to damage Brook's eye enough to bring about the stoppage.
No-one has come close to stopping Porter in his 30-2-1 career but Spence Jr will probably be the biggest puncher he has faced. Porter is a well-schooled fighter so I don't believe Spence's southpaw stance will play a big part in proceedings, Porter won the IBF title against a talented and tricky southpaw in Devon Alexander. How will Spence cope with Porters educated but constant pressure? It is a good matchup, better than some are giving it credit for.
Ultimately this fight will come down to who controls distance. Can Porter take that space away from Spence, will Spence hold when Porter does get inside? Oh, and who wants it more.
Prediction: Spence Jr on points in a tougher than expected battle.