Betway

Shawn Porter has put together the kind of career that would make almost any boxer proud.

However, despite his list of accomplishments and current status as the WBC welterweight champ, oddsmakers have him a +550 underdog for Saturday’s pay-per-view matchup against divisional “boogeyman” Errol Spence Jr.

A fight with Spence (25-0, 21KO) has seemed almost inevitable for Porter (30-2-1, 17KO) since both were younger. Porter, who was boxing as a professional at the time, was called in as one of several pros to work with the United States Olympic boxing team where Spence was preparing for the 2012 games. The familiarity between the two has been mistakingly painted as a friendship by the media, Porter told Brian Campbell on CBS Sports’ “State of Combat” podcast.

“They chose myself because my dad was a part of the Olympic program,” Porter said. “Freddie Roach, I think was going to be a coach or something like that, so he took a few of his fighters out there and we just trained with the 2012 Olympic team for a week. Errol Spence and myself did probably two to four rounds of sparring back then. Outside of that, it was always the norm. The boxing community is small so you see these guys everywhere you go. It’s always polite and cordial. I think the friendship that maybe has been painted or portrayed by the media isn’t exactly the friendship we have even though we’ve always been polite or cordial with each other.”

Spence turned pro after coming up short of medaling at the Olympics, losing in the quarterfinals. But he immediately felt like a big force in the division and an inevitable welterweight champion.

Still, Porter said it took until Spence was lined up to face Kell Brook — the man who’d handed Porter his first career defeat — for the IBF championship before it seemed the two were destined to fight.

“For a while he was talked about,” Porter said. “I don’t even know what his record was when people started talking about him and saying how dangerous he was to the division and to anybody who was at the top of my welterweight division. I remember the first time I said ‘I’m going to have to fight this guy’ was when I recognized that he was being put in line to fight for the IBF title. That’s when I said ‘You get a title and we’ll fight.'”

With Spence knocking out Brook to claim the IBF belt, the fight came closer and closer before finally being inked for this Saturday on Fox pay-per-view. With the fight agreement in place, it seemed a switch flipped for Spence and the “friendship” turned ugly in press and on social media.

“Right now, it’s hard to say who Errol Spence is,” Porter said. “Seeing him get in the ring and seeing and hearing the things that he says. Then he has multiple videos kind of trying to slander me for the sake of words. Down-talking me. Then we pop out in Dallas and no one knows this but we run into him in the restaurant and we’re buddy, buddy again. No cameras around, no media around, no one around to say he should act any other way.

“In a lot of ways, he was that same amateur kid my dad had gone on some trips with and coached in the corner with. He was the same kid I’ve known for a long time. But when the camera comes on, he changes. Shawn Porter is always going to be the same. You’re never going to have to guess or wonder which Shawn Porter you’re talking to. Right now, I think that Errol Spence has a lot of questions he’s trying to figure out for himself.”

Source: Brent Brookhouse

www.sports24ghana.com