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Errol Spence Jr. earns split decision win over Shawn Porter to unify welterweight titles


LOS ANGELES -- Unable to dictate the fight on his own terms, Errol Spence Jr. was forced to beat the rugged Shawn Porter at what he does best in Saturday's welterweight unification pay-per-view bout.

Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) scored a pivotal knockdown in Round 11 and hung on for a split-decision win in a fight-of-the-year candidate in front of 16,072 fans at the Staples Center.

Spence took home a pair of 116-111 scorecards while the third judge had it 115-112 for Porter. CBS Sports scored the fight 114-113 for Spence.

"Shawn Porter is a rough and awkward fighter. He made it real awkward for me and I looked kind of sloppy in there and didn't look how I wanted to look," Spence said. "That's a credit to Shawn Porter. He's a rough, rugged fighter."

Spence, who made the fourth defense of his IBF title, captured the WBC belt from Porter (30-3-1, 17 KOs) despite having trouble throughout with his opponent's mauling and frenetic style.

Although the 29-year-old Spence was unable to properly discipline Porter to prevent him from closing distance, he was able to dig in and land the bigger shots to create separation in the closer rounds. Spence outlanded Porter by a margin of 221 to 172, according to CompuBox.

"He's a strong kid," Porter said. "We both came in here to do the job. He got the split decision. I take nothing away from him I knew it was going to be a dog fight. I think he knew it was going to be a dog fight. He was victorious and I congratulate him and his team."

Porter, 31, was able to vary his attack throughout using foot speed and a variety of feints that kept Spence off balance. Once he was able to freeze Spence, he relied on a quick jab and mauling hooks to consistently control distance and work from the clinch.

Although Spence never quite kept Porter off of him for any length of time and looked overwhelmed in the early going, he began to chip away with short power shots and gave just as good as he got in the second half of the fight.

"All my punches had bad intentions tonight," Spence said. "I boxed against Mikey Garcia but I wanted to show I could sit down and punch with one of the roughest fighters in the welterweight division and that's what I did. All credit to Shawn for showing tremendous heart."

Spence, who absorbed the most punches of his career (172), finally caught up with Porter in Round 11 with the fight in the balance. A perfect left hook turned Porter's chin, dropped him to a knee and left him in a world of hurt after a punch that proved to the difference on the scorecards.



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