Undefeated IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. and WBC Welterweight World Champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter squared-off Saturday in Las Vegas to officially announce their welterweight title unification that headlines a Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
Also, in attendance at Saturday’s event was unbeaten former world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez, who will challenge WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell in the co main event of the pay-per-view that begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.
Here is what the fighters had to say Saturday from MGM Grand, plus quotes from Spence’s trainer Derrick James and Porter’s father and trainer Ken Porter:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
“He didn’t want to fight me. I wanted him. I have no choice but to come out on top. I’m the guy that’s going to make the fight on pay-per-view. I’m the guy that’s going to make the most money. So I feel like he didn’t have a choice but to fight me. It just had to happen.
“I want to be the best. I want to be the undisputed welterweight champion of the world and he is in my way. I feel like by the end of next year, you’ll find out who is really the best welterweight in the division.
“I’m used to fighting and sparring aggressive guys that come forward. He’s not a fighter that just likes to come forward, but he likes to use his angles and use his legs. I’m expecting a Shawn Porter that is going to try to get on the inside for the fight.
“This is a fight that I have been asking for, for a long time. If you follow me on social media, you can see that since I was 14-0, I have been calling out the big name fighters and they decided not to fight me. All to keep me out. You all wanted to fight each other. Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, even Shawn Porter. I had to get in the ring and ask for this fight, saying I will fight you anytime, anyplace. Now it’s finally happening.
“I guarantee you, I will become the undisputed welterweight champion of the world, but I have to get through Shawn Porter first and become unified. This is going to be a tough fight. Shawn is a dog and he has amazing heart. I am not going to say he has all the skills in the world, but he does have talent. He’s a guy that’s going to come to fight and give it his all. But I believe I do have the skills and talent and the dog and the heart to not only make this an easy fight but I can stop him and that’s what I am looking to do.
“You saw a different fight when I fought Mikey Garcia. Everybody said I didn’t have the boxing IQ or the boxing intellect to keep up with Mikey Garcia, or to box him on the outside and to show that I was sharp. I am not just a guy who will just maul you and run through you and beat you up. In this fight I will get back to my old self and you’ll see a guy who is going to push the pace, look for the fight and try to go for the stoppage or the knockout to score an impressive one-sided victory.
“Everybody tune in to the fight. It’s going to be a great fight, action packed fight and it can be the Fight of the Year.
“I feel like there’s no way he’s going to be fighting me on the outside. So he’s going to be a guy that’s going to try to come forward and try to set the pace and rough me up. He’s going to try to show me things that have never been brought out of me, that I’m going to have to prove.”
“When I fought Keith Thurman in 2016, he was considered to be the most dangerous guy in the division. I wanted to take that away from him. I wanted to take that title away from him. So yes, in a lot of ways, I’ve been down this road before. I think I’m more prepared this time around.
“When you talk about the new monster in the division as Errol Spence Jr., I’m not foreign to taking on those challenges, or being prepared for this kind of challenge. I’m not foreign to understanding what a fighter can do and what skills he possesses. I’m willing and able to come out on top of the challenge. That’s why he was selected. Once he got a belt, I needed to get a belt. There’s nothing but excitement around this.
“My natural mentality is to be more aggressive. But, we have a guy right here in Errol Spence Jr. that likes to be aggressive too and dictate the pace and be the general of the ring. I like to do the same thing. So our skills are really going to be a big part of this fight.
“By the beginning of next year, we will know who is the best. It’s not just going to be who is the most aggressive in our fight that will determine who is going to win, but also who has the most skill and who is the most talented fighter. If there is any fight that can prove I’m the biggest dog in the welterweight division, it will be this one versus Errol Spence Jr.
“This guy right here calls himself ‘The Truth’, so I felt it was fitting that today I tell the truth. The truth is that you guys are in for a treat. The truth is that this going to be a fantastic fight. The truth is that this dude has skill, he has power and speed. He has everything, but the truth is, I have all those things as well.
“The truth is I don’t think you all have seen him in the ring with someone like him before. You all have not seen him in the ring before with someone who possesses all of those things. The speed, the quickness, the power, the intelligence, the mental fortitude, the dog, the fight. The truth is that I have all of those things. The truth is that it takes all of those things to beat the guy called ‘The Truth.’ The truth is, I am prepared to do those things to beat this guy and give him his first loss and finally become the unified champion in the welterweight division, which we don’t have right now.
“The truth is, I believe in myself. The truth is, I will be ready September 28 at STAPLES Center. The truth is, I am extremely excited that it will be at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. I have never fought there before. You guys asked me where I wanted to go, I say Las Vegas or Brooklyn because I have been there before. I even said Dallas because it was a great promotion when he did it against Mikey Garcia. But the truth is, I would love to fight in STAPLES and I can’t wait to get there.
“The truth is you all are going to have to wait until September 28 to see what goes down. But I am telling you the truth right now, I will leave that ring as the unified champion.
“He knows I’m a dog and have plenty of heart. I have heart to give and he knows I’m bringing all of it. He’s saying there’s going to be a man down, but I’m not focused on that. I’m focused on being prepared. I know he thinks in some ways he can make it an easy fight, but trust me, me and my team are looking at the exact same thing. No surprises on September 28 when I knock him out, it’s been said.”
“I’m thankful to my team for allowing me to be in this fight. It’s going to be an amazing card with Errol Spence and Shawn Porter, two of the biggest welterweight stars in boxing right now. I get to co-headline the pay-per-view and I also get to go fight for my title back, which is something that I have wanted since I lost it.
“I’ve worked extremely hard to get to this point in my life. I’m only 22 years old and I’m fighting for my second world title, so everyone knows I’m very talented. People want to see me because I have exciting fights. I feel like I could be that next star, because I’m bringing that old school boxing back and knocking people out. If I’m not knocking them out, I’m beating them up the whole fight.
“Anthony is a tough fighter. He’s a fighter that I want to go against to not only show my fans but to show myself I’m the best in the division in the world today. There are so many good fights in my weight division. But right now there’s just a lot of opportunities in front of me, so I’m going to keep working hard and showing the fans and everyone that I am the best.
“I am very excited and motivated. Anthony Dirrell is a rugged tough fighter and a veteran in this sport. I have been watching him since I was 13 years old. This is a fight that I really want and I know I can go in there and really dominate and I am going to do that in spectacular fashion. I will knock Anthony Dirrell out.”
DERRICK JAMES, Spence’s Trainer
“I am very happy to be here on this special occasion. This is one step closer to Errol Spence’s personal goal that I plan to help him get. He wants to be the undisputed welterweight champion of the world and this is another move towards that.
“We have a very formidable champ in Shawn Porter, who is a very tough rugged fighter and we look forward to the challenge. We know what he brings and that he will have a great strategy and game plan. I know that he has a great trainer in his father helping him.
“I look forward to putting together an amazing game plan. It is my goal to help my fighter be the man that he wants to be. He wants to be the IBF world champion as well as the WBC world champion and we are heading towards the WBA and anything else, and my job is to help him do that. That’s what we are in for and we are really happy to be here.”
KEN PORTER, Porter’s Father & Trainer
“It feels good to be here. Shawn has done everything I have asked him to over the course of the last eight or nine weeks. All we needed was a date and location.
“Errol Spence is a great fighter and he has a great trainer. I have been a fan of Errol Spence as long as he’s been boxing. I have been up against him, been with him and I knew one day he would be a world champion. And if he recalls, we had a conversation a few years ago that he and Shawn would probably fight. When Errol is not fighting Shawn Porter, I am the biggest Errol Spence fan.
“They gave him the name ‘The Truth’ but I knew that a long time ago. He is definitely ‘The Truth,’ he always has been. So it’s up to us, Team Porter, my son Shawn Porter, my coaches and all of us to change everything that has already been said. To change the perception of what is going to happen that night. I believe we can do it. We have the team to do it. I have the fighter to do it and it’s a great challenge.
“It’s the biggest challenge of Shawn’s career but this is why we box. This is why we fight. Everybody can say what they want but the only thing that matters is fight night. When it’s over with then we will know.
“I am looking forward to this. We have great fight in front of us. This is what it takes to make great fighters. These guys can make each other great. This is for the legacy.”