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SPORTS SHORTS 174: WHO IS ERROL SPENCE? THE UNIFIED CHAMPION AFTER BEATING WBC TITLIST SHAWN PORTER AND DANNY GARCIA (FIFTH OF A SERIES)

By Maloney L. Samaco
PhilBoxing.com
Tue, 20 Jul 2021



Errol Spence battled two-time welterweight world champion Shawn Porter on September 28, 2019 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California in a unification bout with his IBF and Porter's WBC welterweight titles at stake.

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Porter of Cleveland, Ohio became WBC world champion after defeating Danny García of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania via unanimous decision at the Barclays Center on September 8, 2018 before a crowd of 13,058 in attendance. The official scores were 116-112, 115-113, 115-113 in Porter's favor.

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Porter defended the WBC title against Yordenis Ugás of Santiago de Cuba, Cuba by split decision on March 9, 2019 at the Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California.

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During the much anticipated unification fight, Spence knocked Porter down in the eleventh round en route to a split decision victory, with the scores of 116–111, 116–111, 112–115.

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Spence and Porter participated in a frenzied fight from the opening to the final bell. It was considered by experts a fight of the year candidate. Porter started swiftly and overpowered Spence at the start.

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Spence targeted Porter with body punches and began to pick up on the scorecards. It was a real close fight as Spence gained leverage by planting a staggering left hook on Porter's chin in round eleven, outbalancing Porter and his glove touched the mat. Porter stood on his feet as referee Jack Reiss did a mandatory eight-count.

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It was the only knockdown of the match. Porter was able to resume the match as he finished the round, and retaliating and regaining composure in a pulsating twelfth and final round.

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Spence was awarded a split decision victory by the judges' scorecards, with Filipino judge Rey Danseco and Steve Weisfeld of New Jersey favoring him 116–111 while Larry Hazzard Jr. also of New Jersey saw it 115–112 for Porter. Spence grabbed Porter's WBC title and defended his IBF title for the fourth time.

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In his first fight since encountering a car crash in October 2019, Spence clashed with former two-weight world champion Danny Garcia on December 5, 2020 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas for Spence's IBF and WBC welterweight titles. He won by a unanimous decision with scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 117-111.

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Spence retained his IBF and WBC welterweight titles after several months of speculation about his physical condition. He had not encountered major problems in his fight against the former light welterweight and welterweight champion Garcia.

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"I was smiling because it was a long, long road to come back," said Spence who was grinning before the fight. "It was a lot of sacrifice and buckling down and staying focused and trials and tribulations to get to this point tonight. I got to that point, and it paid off."

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Spence's jabs took its toll on Garcia, who used his counterpunching to the hilt. Spence's jabs caused a swell on Garcia's left eye. Per CompuBox statistics, Spence threw 419 jabs of his 707 total punches. Altogether, Spence landed 187 of 707 punches thrown, and Garcia connected 117 of 700.

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"I always had a great jab, so that's what we were working on," Spence said in the postfight news conference. "We were working on using the jab, setting everything up with the jab and basically just outpointing him."

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Garcia was not able to land any hurting blow on Spence. His father and trainer, Angel Garcia persuaded him not to give Spence too much respect in the fight and throw those punches when the champ is within his range.

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Garcia said Spence used his jabs effectively due to its proper timing and sheer power. He said he tried to surmount Spence's solid jabs to connect punches to the body, but could not just penetrate.

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During the news conference, Angel showed his dismay on how Danny handled Spence's jabs. "He didn't kill you with that jab," Angel Garcia said. "You just didn't counter with that jab. You'd seen everything. You'd seen everything."

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EJ Obiena became the first Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Philippines' number one pole vaulter is a favorite to win a medal in the Summer Games as he breaks the national pole vault record twice.

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Obiena's trip to Tokyo 2020 was full of challenges as he suffered an ACL injury just before flying to the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Malaysia. He finally won a gold medal in the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines.

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Obiena resides in Formia, Italy since 2014 to train with legendary coach Vitaly Petrov and 2016 Rio Olympic gold medalist Thiago Braz. In the Tokyo Olympics, Obiena is considered a medal contender as he battles with his perennial competitors led by Swedish-American Armand Duplantis and American Sam Kendricks.

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Carlos Yulo has a strong chance to win some Olympic medals. Yulo qualified for the Olympics by virtue of his ranking in the individual all-around qualifiers.

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He claimed the historic gold medal in the men’s floor exercises, becoming the Philippines' first world gymnastics champion in 2019. Not only did Yulo dominate the event, his coach Munehiro Kugimiya projected that he also has the chance to win medals in the vault and parallel bars.

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In the 2019 Manila SEA Games, Yulo became the country’s most bemedalled athlete winning two gold and five silver medals.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo became the fourth NBA player to average 30 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 60% shooting in a five-game span within a single postseason, joining Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But Antetokounmpo is the only one who has done the feat during the NBA Finals.

* * *

Jrue Holiday gave the Milwaukee Bucks the lead in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. His steal and alley-oop pass to Antetokounmpo for a dunk assured a frenetic Bucks' 123-119 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night. And for the first time in 50 years, the Bucks have a chance to be champions again.

* * *

Antetokounmpo had 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Khris Middleton added 29 points, and Holiday had 27 points and 13 assists. The Bucks rallied from an early 16-point deficit with the best-shooting and a gigantic defensive play.

* * *

Conor McGregor suffered a fractured tibia and fibia after a freak loss to Dustin Poirier in UFC 264 declared as a first-round TKO win for Poirier. McGregor has undergone a 3-hour surgery to repair his leg. According to UFC president Dana White, "It's going to take a year for him to recover from this one before he can come back."

* * *

San Antonio Spurs swingman Keldon Johnson shone bright in the United States men’s basketball team's final exhibition game against Spain before traveling to the Tokyo Olympics. With 15 points on 7-9 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and one amazing block, he was instrumental in the team’s 83-76 comeback win.



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.

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