The Show Stopper? Keys to victory for Shawn Porter and Errol Spence
By: Kirk Jackson
Fight time has arrived and one of the highly anticipated, action-packed bouts, will ensue this weekend at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Although super middle champions Anthony Dirrell and David Benavidez will attempt to steal the show Saturday night, along with other notable fighters and former champions such as Robert Guerrero, Amon Rashidi, Mario Barrios, Batyr Akhmedov, Joey Spence and many other, the spotlight will definitely be on the main event.
The main event this weekend features a welterweight unification match, featuring the World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter (30-2-1, 17 KO’s) versus the International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (25-0, 19 KO’s).
Spence, operating out of the southpaw stance, possessing power, accuracy, precision and known to deliver devastating punches – particularly towards the body, is listed as the slight favorite.
He describes his style as a passive aggressive fighter; meaning he applies pressure, while remaining defensively responsible behind his high-guard, counter-jabs effectively and maintains proper distance to avoid most offensive assaults.
Spence’s high guard defensive posture is not quite like the same style of Hall of Fame fighter and fellow southpaw Ronald “Winky” Wright, but highly effective thus far in his own right.
The native Texan more so possesses similar traits of ruggedness, grit and maliciousness like Hall of Famer “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.
While not quite the switch-hitter like Hagler, Spence has a lethal right jab, technical skill, versatility as a fight and mean intentions behind his punches.
And if Spence is shadowing the path of Hagler, Porter is a necessary piece to his puzzle.
Porter of course, wants no part of that. The Ohio native aims to play spoiler and wants to carve out his own path of history.
“I respect and admire his dominance. Both of us are supposed to be great that night, punch-for-punch. I’m going to open his eyes,” Porter told BoxingScene.com.
“My energy and presence in the ring on Saturday is going to be one that’s going to be remembered for a long time. There is nothing that’s going to happen to stop me from being successful.”
Some observers view Porter as a micro-sized Mike Tyson, tenacious with his attack, relentless as he lunges to attack the body, head, limbs and at times, the opponent may reel from incidental head-butts and questionable elbows. Essentially, Porter throws everything, including the kitchen sink.
An athletic specimen, equipped with the football pedigree he brings to the ring, Porter is a tough fighter to deal with. By contrast, he’s one of the nicest people you’ll get a chance to interact with outside the ring.
“Errol and I are likeable and respectable guys, but we give it all in the ring. Fights like this are going to help the sport of boxing,” said Porter. “Spence is a tactical fighter. I know they’ll have a good game plan but I’m confident in my abilities and in my corner.”
Same can be said about Spence. Laid back, calm and composed outside the ring and while he maintains a great level of composure, he has a killer instinct necessary to reach the top level.
In the last press conference leading up to their showdown Saturday night, some of Spence’s killer instinct came out in the form of verbal assault.
“Nobody complain about my fights. You wild. You fight like a football player. You an in-shape street fighter. You an in-shape street fighter. That’s what you are. You fight like you drowning. You fight like you drowning, and you don’t know how to swim.”
Porter, for all his naysayers, is never short when it comes to heart and effort. Porter also has skills not always recognizable to the common eye, but skills and traits that enabled him to be effective up to this point in his career.
There are many variables that can make this potential fight of the year candidate difficult to predict.
Keys for Shawn Porter:
Movement and Angles – Porter must use his football acumen to his advantage, and keep Spence on the move and searching for spots to attack. The importance of feints and angles is imperative for Porter to have success. He must keep Spence off balanced and it’s important for Porter to continue to make Spence reset.
Keep a basic game plan – While it is good to have multiple plans on hand, in case one option isn’t working, having too many weapons may cause ineffectiveness. Attempting multiple plans may nullify the effectiveness of what Porter does well because he is spreading himself too thin, trying to implement various styles and tactics.
Consistency: Porter is a consistent fighter as far as effort, but the consistency to stick to a game plan, even if it does not work early on, may pay dividends later. Subtle adjustments to the plan may be applied to effectively create the openings, but consistency and belief in the plan can be beneficial for Porter.
Use your head – Porter has to uses his head figuratively and literally. Figuratively with applying the right game plan; which may be making this a dogfight, an ultimate scrap, attempting to bully Spence against the ropes and batter his ribcage,, as he is not accustomed to that from what we’ve witnessed thus far across his professional career. Porter can literally use his head to displace Spence in the trenches, maybe even accidentally land a head-butt ala Evander Holyfield or Bernard Hopkins.
On a serious note, head-butts unfortunately, are a part of the sport. Occurrences tend to happen more naturally between the orthodox fighter (Porter) and a southpaw (Spence) due to the positioning of their feet.
Keys for Errol Spence:
The Almighty Jab – The jab is the best punch from Spence and legendary George Foreman refers to the jab as the most important punch in boxing. The jab will serve multiple purposes for Spence; it will function as a range finder, will help set-up his offense as the initiating weapon, it will enable Spence to measure distance and establish proper range for his defense and if the jab is consistently launched towards Porter’s head, body and limbs, it will give “Showtime” something to think about.
Strong Base/Footwork – Spence should maintain his ground and use his solid base to his advantage when facing Porter. Some of Porter’s past opponents freeze up or wilt from Porter’s daunting attack when he lunges forward with aggression.
It’s crucial for Spence to not get swallowed and smothered from the pressure. He cannot allow himself to drown against the ropes and must fight effectively in the trenches when the opportunities occur. Also, to prevent Porter’s effectiveness, Spence must cut the ring off when he is in pursuit of Porter. Shawn displayed the ability in his last couple of fights he can move and box when needed be; Spence should aim to cut the ring off if Porter attempts to move and fight off his back foot.
Keep it Clean – The former Olympian is a highly technical fighter. Leading up to this fight and even leading up to his previous bout against Mikey Garcia, Spence emphasized the importance of skills and technique, stating he has an abundance of both. He is clearly regarded as the more technical fighter between the two, and he has to maintain space to operate and to get off his punches – preferably in bunches. Keep away from head clashes, accidental head butts, roughhousing and unpredictable skirmishes.
Calm and Composed – It’s inevitable a firefight at some point will occur because the fighters have styles that will ultimately mix and lead up to that at some point. Spence will be well served to keep his composure if ever displaced off balance or positioned against the ropes. Remain unruffled and fight his fight – pick spots to get his shots off, create the separation and seize the opportunities when the openings are available as Porter tends to leave many openings.
This fight should go down as one to remember; hopefully for all of the great things boxing has to offer. It’s more than likely there will be plenty of action and no shortage of heart and effort from both fighters.
The stage is set for this historic unification bout, the stars will be out and all that’s left is for the story to unfold as Saturday night looms near. Who will set their mark and be the show stopper?
Boxing Insider Interview with Seanie Monaghan: “This is going to be a real big win on my resume”
Boxing Insider Interview with Seanie Monaghan: “This is going to be a real big win on my resume”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Sean Monaghan is an undefeated (28-0 17KO) light heavyweight from Long Island who has been waiting for his big shot, for the last few years. He is a staple in the NYC fight scene, bringing a dedicated and raucous crowd wherever and whenever he fights. For a while, Monaghan was thought to have finally gotten his big fight chance against current WBC light heavyweight champion, Adonis Stevenson, until the fight was unexpectedly called off. Monaghan then believed that a fight with fellow Long Island fighter Joe Smith Jr. would come to fruition, until Smith took a better deal on the left coast against Sullivan Barrera.
Fortunately for Monaghan a big fight came through in the way of undefeated, Staten Island fighter Marcus Browne. The two will battle it out on July 15th, on Fox primetime television and will be part of the first boxing card at the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum. Seanie took some time away from his training schedule to speak with us at Boxing Insider.
Boxing Insider: How does it feel to be on the first boxing card at the new Nassau Coliseum?
Sean Monaghan: Its beautiful man. I run on Mitchell field, the track is right outside of there. Every Monday and Wednesday morning, I’m doing my laps and I look up at the Coliseum, imagining myself fighting in there. So it’s the perfect fit for me. That’s my home.
Boxing Insider: You are going up against someone you know in this fight. Tell us about your relationship with Marcus Browne.
Sean Monaghan: Out of all the guys in boxing, he is probably one of my better friends in the boxing game. It is a little unusual for me, I’ve never done this before. We haven’t spoken about it yet, but I’m sure we will be cool when it’s all over. We just have to go do what we gotta do. It’s nothing personal, strictly business.
Boxing Insider: Is he someone that you have trained and sparred with before?
Sean Monaghan: I’ve sparred with Marcus more times than I can remember, I’ve sparred with Marcus a lot.
Boxing Insider: Is this fight “Make or Break” for you?
Sean Monaghan: 100%. I feel like, I’m thinking like none of my fights before this even mattered. This is my chance to prove that I’m one of the best fighters in the world. This is going to be a real big win on my resume.
Boxing Insider: Talks were out there that you were going to fight Adonis Stevenson or Joe Smith Jr. What happened to those fights?
Sean Monaghan: I don’t know what happened with the Adonis thing to be honest with you. I thought it was a go, we trained for five weeks for it and then one day I found out like everybody else. So that sucked. Lou DiBella made me a promise that he would get me a big fight, he gave me his word. They offered me Marcus or this Swedish kid. The money for Marcus was double. I said if I beat this Swedish kid (Erik Skoglund), nobody would care. I knew I would have to fight Marcus, we’ve always known. There were times when you had me, Marcus Browne and Joe Smith all sparring, all doing the round robbing sparring at the same time. We all knew that, sooner or later, we would all have to fight.
We tried to make a fight with Joe Smith and it just wasn’t the time. His promoter thought they had a better gig somewhere else. So that is on hold for now. It’s a fight that I want and I know personally Joe would do it. It’s just a matter of the promoters getting it together.
Boxing Insider: What are your thoughts on the WBC letting a guy like Fonfara getting a crack at Adonis twice, before giving you a shot?
Sean Monaghan: With boxing, Fonfara has been in there with tough guys, but no way does he deserve a shot over me. And as much as I don’t like to say it, Joe Smith really deserved the title fight, he knocked Fonfara out in one round. I mean we’re all here scratching our heads thinking how does this thing happen. I think boxing fans have to take a stand and demand better fights, because these sanctioning bodies work in mysterious ways. I think they are hurting the sport, with whatever private deals they make. Like if you look at the UFC, those guys have to fight a tough guy right away, and if you beat him then you get an even better fight. If you get knocked out you aren’t getting a title fight your next fight, it doesn’t happen like that. I don’t know. I’m just focused on this fight, I was pissed off about the Fonfara thing, but I don’t even care about it anymore, I got bigger fish to fry. Marcus is going to be a very tough fight. Stevenson is a killer puncher with his left hand, but Marcus has a very difficult style to deal with, he’s got power in both hands, he’s slick, he’s fast. These are the kind of fights I’ve been looking for and I’m super excited about it.
Boxing Insider: This is a big show, you will be primetime televised on FOX. If you win this fight, you will have a huge audience watching, will you be calling out any names?
Sean Monaghan: I still want Adonis Stevenson. I’m not sure if it really matters to call out names at this point. It doesn’t seem to do anything. Right now I’d have to imagine that the winner of this fight would be next in line for a title shot.
Keith Thurman – Self Promoter
Keith Thurman – Self Promoter
By: Sean Crose
Make no mistake about it – self promotion is BIG in today’s society. Oh, it’s always been big, but it seems to be particularly popular in this era. This, of course, is an age where people are famous…just cuz. Sure enough, talent and ability often take a back seat when personality and showmanship is in play (as anyone who has spent any time in the workplace can attest). When a person has some talent to at least somewhat back up his or her self-promotion, however, it can prove to be a formidable combination indeed. Enter one Keith Thurman.
An undefeated welterweight with a powerful shot, speed and a strong ability to put his punches together, the WBA world welterweight champion is certainly worth paying attention to in this (supposedly) post Mayweather-Pacquiao era. Thurman has another weapon at his disposal, though, one that can greatly fatten his wallet if not his ring record. That weapon? A gift for self-promotion. Although Thurman has nowhere near the fan base of a Canelo Alvarez, or even perhaps an Amir Khan, he’s clearly able to draw the kind of attention that his upcoming opponent, Shawn Porter, simply can’t.
Whether it’s donning a musician’s hairstyle, playing a woodwind instrument or driving a hybrid vehicle, Thurman possesses a uniqueness which is seemingly more at home at a Masters of Fine Arts program than it is in the boxing ring. That’s not what really draws the extra attention, though. What really brings in the chatter is Thurman’s mouth – which he employs freely and often frequently. “I love what’s happening in the world of boxing today,” he said recently, “This is a big stage, it’s a big platform, and it’s always been my dream to awaken people, to bring boxing back to the public.” Give Thurman this, he dreams big.
As for his upcoming bout with former IBF world welterweight champion, Porter, Thurman has things to say about him, as well. Sure enough, the fighter known as One Time makes is clear he knows Porter will try breaking him down when they meet in New York on June 25th. “The thing is,” Thurman claims, “can he break down Keith Thruman before being knocked out?” You have to love a fighter who refers to himself in the third person (paging Tyson Fury). You also have to give credit to a man who – whether you agree with him or not – goes right out and lets the world know he thinks Floyd Mayweather was a cherry picker.
Sure, lots of welterweight fighters probably think Floyd was overly cautious in his choice of opponents, but how many of note come right out and say it? Thurman did, on an extremely popular satellite radio show, no less. Being a provocateur is part of being a self-promoter, after all. Thurman is a bit different from other mouthy types, however in that he isn’t outright mean. Men like Fury, and Adrien Broner can be straight up nasty. Thurman doesn’t go that route. He pretty much sticks to promoting Thurman.
And unless Porter shuts him up, you can expect Thurman to keep on talking for quite some time.