Errol Spence Jr. found himself in a dogfight with Shawn Porter, fighting for his life at times as the WBC welterweight champion swarmed him with the pressure he’s become known for.

It was a gut check moment for the undefeated IBF champion, who passed the test in a big way. In the most important fight of his life, Spence won a split decision victory over an aggressive Porter in which the real winners were those who watched it live at Staples Center and on pay-per-view.

It was a battle of wills and neither man backed down. Spence won by identical scores of 116-111 on the cards of Ray Danseco and Steve Weisfeld, while Larry Hazzard Jr. had Porter, 115-112. Yahoo Sports had Spence, 114-113.

Spence knocked Porter down with a perfectly placed left hand to the chin in the 11th, but Porter jumped back up and was right back after Spence.

When the bell sounded to begin the 12th, everyone in the arena was standing and roaring as they tore into each other yet again. It was a classic battle in which each man poured his heart out in their bid to win.

It may also be the Fight of the Year, as they never slowed the pace and were trading big shots throughout. Porter kept himself velcroed to Spence’s chest and never gave him the space to pop that big jab.

Spence, though, showed his versatility as he pivoted and landed short shots on the inside.

Nearly 40 years ago, a similar battle was fought between two great welterweights, but the pressure of Roberto Duran was the difference in a win over Sugar Ray Leonard. Porter got Spence to fight his style, but he wasn’t able to do enough to duplicate Duran’s effort.

Source: Kevin Iole| Combat columnist