Spence Jr.: I’m looking for the stoppage

By Jeff Zimmerman
Photos: Stacey Verbeek

Undefeated IBF Welterweight Champ Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs) entertained his hometown fans Thursday night outside at Texas Live in Arlington, Texas, as he wraps up camp to face WBC champ Shawn Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Saturday, Sept. 28 in a mega unification bout. Spence Jr. looked in tip-top shape as he snapped the mitts of trainer Derrick James in a light workout.
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“I feel good. I already trained earlier today. I feel good, I’m hungry. I’m ready to fight. I’m glad it’s only a week and some change to my fight.”

Trainer Derrick James echoed that sentiment as he believes Spence Jr. is as good as ever.

“He’s great. He’s rotating on the punches. You’ll see, I am looking forward to it as it has been a really good training camp, he’s very focused, poised, very precise. He’s ready.”

Spence Jr. and James, one of the best trainer, fighter combos in the game today have typically stuck to what has worked to this point, which means not making drastic changes to their preparation. Although they are always looking to add new wrinkles to their arsenal, they have usually relied on the same sparring partners to prepare Spence Jr, but for this camp, they brought in some new blood.

Both Spence Jr. and James like the work they got from it.

“It helped me a lot, a kid named Miguel, who is really good,” said Spence Jr. “He can really fight, tough, strong and can throw combinations and everything, so he helped me out a lot.

“I got some good sparring sessions in and I enjoyed sparring him a lot. It’s something fresh too, instead of sparring the same guy over and over again. It’s something different, so it got me more excited to spar.”

“We brought in a new guy to spar with him, a tough, really skilled young guy,” James said.

“He’s a phenomenal fighter and someone to look out for. He’s from Mexico and when I say great, he put a lot of pressure on EJ, boxed, backed him up. We didn’t have to mimic Shawn, we let him be himself.”

Spence Jr. and Porter have both shared the ring with former champion Kell Brook. Brook outboxed Porter for the IBF welterweight title back in 2014 and eventually lost it to Spence Jr. in 2017, giving Spence Jr. his first world title.

Spence Jr. took a few notes from the Porter-Brook clash but isn’t relying on it for his battle next Saturday night.

“I take a little bit from it, but I got my own style, my own gameplan, so I’m not going to take too much from it,” stated Spence Jr.

“Kell did outbox him, outpointed him and beat him up, but we got something else going, something else cooking, something else in the works that’s going to blow your mind.”

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James is more concerned on what he has seen of late and not so interested in what happened in Porter-Brook.

“I haven’t watched it one time,” James said. “I think he has probably gotten better since he fought Kell Brook, so I watch the more recent fights.”

And now that Porter has shown a tendency to box more of late, James is preparing Spence Jr. for multiple styles.

“We prepare for both styles, boxing or brawling. You see me moving around, EJ cutting the ring off and doing everything else. Porter may get a couple of shots in boxing, but we focus on what the probabilities are, that’s what we are thinking about.”

For all of Spence Jr. accomplishments, a U.S. Olympian, world champion and considered one of the top 5 pound for pound boxers in the world, there still seems to be doubters out there on whether he is “The Truth” or not. Spence Jr., to his credit, takes it all in stride and lets his fists do the talking.

“People just don’t believe it, so I just got to keep punching, keep making it look easy,” Spence Jr. explained. “I don’t know, you have to ask them. I guess they feel like it’s not true and I’m not the real deal, so they want to keep doubting me, so when something happens, they can say I told you so.

“I am going to keep dominating, keep looking good, keep winning in spectacular fashion and later on they may give me my credit, we’ll see.”

James shared his thoughts on the doubters of his prized pupil.

“You can’t worry about that,” stated James. “People are going to doubt him until the end of his career, so I think you just got to stay focused on who you are, keep trying to be better, keep working towards your personal goals and not worry about what the people say.”

And although the Spence Jr. fight with Garcia got a little heated at times, for the most part, both fighters showed their respect. However, Spence Jr. and Porter pre-fight banter has been amped up a bit more and seems to be more personal with Porter than it was with Garcia.

“A little bit. It’s definitely personal,” said Spence Jr. “For me, I just do my part, put on a devastating performance where I just shut him out, I just beat him up and get the stoppage so I’m just going to be calculating in there, smart in there, not do anything crazy.

“I’m looking for the stoppage, definitely.”

And in the world of Spence Jr., Porter is just another stepping stone in his quest for greatness. Spence has stated in the past his goal was to clean out the welterweight division and then move up to 154 and do the same. A victory on Saturday, Sept 28th in Los Angeles, Spence Jr. will be halfway there at 147.

“My goal is to be undisputed welterweight champion of the world, so hopefully I can make that happen next year.”

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  • Spence, you could not even handle your business with an overblown featherweight. How do you expect to knock out a natural welterweight?

    Yes, you will win this fight. But, not by knock out or TKO. It will be by decision.

    • True! The main thing for me is that it’s hard for me to envision Porter winning. Unfortunately, makes it somewhat of a boring fight for me, even though I like both fighters individually. Don’t think I’m going to buy this PPV.

      • Good points, Ajay, Jonathan.

        Porter is tough as nails and has never been KOs, so a KO by Spence is not very likely.

        Its quite possible that the fight will be a snooze because both will be very careful. If any of the two takes too much risk, there could be a KO though.

        I also don’t think this should be a PPV fight.

    • Did you not see him stop Kell Brook? Did you not see him stop the guy that Pac-Man couldn’t stop? I think he let Mikey off the hook because he was trying to bait Pac-Man

      • One can’t take anything away from Kell Brook – he’s a very good fighter, but also susceptible to KO’s (GGG, Spence).

        Porter, however, has never been stopped, despite fighting good opposition for years already. (He also fought Brook and lost by MD).

        I don’t think there will be a KO in this fight, except if one of the two gets careless or over-confident. But Porter should be too experienced to fall into these kind of traps. That’s why I think the most likely outcome is a UD win by Spence. A KO is always possible – in practically any fight, but its always a matter of likelihood. Can Spence be the first guy who stops Porter? Sure, but the probability is not very high. Can Porter beat Spence? Sure, but the probability is slim. We will know more soon :))

      • He didn’t stop Brook, Brook was forced to quit because of the eye injury he sustained. Which fight were you watching?

  • When he gong to feel that greedy to fight a real Champion Terrence Crawford ,boxing isn’t the same ,the best don’t fight the best.U can’t leave other champion out because they fight for different promoters boxing getting boring to us.At least H.B.O. show all the boxers

  • Should be a decent fight if both fight as well as they’re talking. To be fair to them both, they’re usually in good fights and don’t why away from getting stuck in.

    Feel Spence has the edge, be interesting to see how he deals with Porters roughhouse tactics.

  • I hear the comments about Arum saying the punishment Pacquiao took against Thurman will be with him for the rest of his life, and he shouldn’t fight anymore with guys like Spence. Spence is going to get offered fights to defend his WBC belt. He goes through Porter, that much he has to do. But if he has the WBC belt, the IBF belt, who is Arum to say not to fight Pacquiao. Why didn’t Arum tell Pacquiao to stop after the 4th Marquez fight? He just lined him up easy fights on pay per view. Arum/and his matchmakers are about the money. Keep the top fighters with Top Rank winning, not matching them well in fights they might lose. He doesn’t want to see Pacquiao take away the Spence vs Crawford thing. Even though it is just an imaginary fight for at least 2 or 3 years. Spence should go with Pacquiao, even if it is just for the WBC and WBA belts, he can vacate the IBF belt for Crawford to fight the winner of Kudratillo Abdukakhorov and maybe Custio Clayton. Spence can fight guys like Pacquiao, Danny Garcia, and Lipinents back to back. I don’t see Crawford in unification fights at 147. He could so easily fight Carlos Adames for top ratings in the IBF and WBO at 154, all he has to do is tell Arum that is the fight he wants, but he won’t. Crawford will fight Kavaliauskas and just hold onto his WBO belt until at least late 2020. If Crawford really want to fight Spence, he should start asking for fights in Texas to build interest in Spence vs Crawford in Texas.

    • @Tom: as usual, so many valid points in your comment…but I too think that Pacquiao should quit while he is ahead. He has nothing to prove anymore, and each and every fight from now on will be incomparably more risk to his health than any of his previous fights. Although I always loved to watch his fights, and would still watch any future fight, I think that it would be best for his health and legacy to retire now. He will be 41 in December and he has been through more tough battles than most active boxers. To fight someone like Spence at his age + wear & tear is almost suicidal.

      • Well my brother that comes with the fight game man want to make money shouldn’t matter who we fight one said they great and feel that they the best then they should get in the ring with those who are coming up saying that they’re the best did a showboating fighting these low class and hurt Fighters Keith Thurman really didn’t look like himself he was rushing it to me it was a lay down fight so if everyone is still in love with Pacquiao then they feel that Mayweather is afraid of him if you going to stay in the game he need not be running fun guys like Spence and Crawford Garcia and a few of us we have learned that Adrien Broner is it real live joke he don’t take nothing for real he needs to get out of the game I used to like the brother but he’s a showboater need to go starting a business somewhere boxing is in his passion I’m done here end of the lesson Errol Spence is the man and of course I love Crawford

  • there is an old saying in boxing.. if you look for the KO, you might be the one KO’d! for those who live by the sword will die by the sword!

    • There may be some truth to this comparison, but also limits to it’s validity. There were fighters who never lost a fight or only very few fights (and not necessarily by KO) although they always went for the KO.

      An inexperienced fighter, or a fighter with low ring IQ may rush in blindly, but elite fighters generally don’t do that – they are usually not just punchers but also excellent boxers.

      Whenever great punchers get knocked out its usually because they underestimated their opponents, weren’t focused, tired, way past their prime, or just ran into a lucky punch. But their getting knocked out rarely ever happened because they were “too focused on knocking their opponents out”.

    • I’m going for Spence I think that he will knock him out he has the power and stamina man look at this boy named Porter he’s nothing but a brawler he can’t really box like that take out contact lens people Spence can box believe that he’s a strong fighter confident he will beat him up Porter will either quit or be knocked out watch and you will see word from the wise peace out

  • Lets get real. Porter doesn’t have a chance in hell at victory. On to more interesting things. Am I the only one who thinks Spencer Jr looks like Radio Raheem?

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