It hasn’t been a vintage year for boxing. Aside from a minor upset in the heavyweight division, mismatches have gone to script and champions have avoid one another. Until this weekend.
Errol Spence and Shawn Porter meet in a huge all-American unification bout in the welterweight division on Saturday, while super middle boss Andre Dirrell faces unbeaten star David Benavidez on the undercard. On Friday, heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois and Olympic legend Nicola Adams kick off the entertainment at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON, FRIDAY
Daniel Dubois against Ebenezer Tetteh (10PM) for the Commonwealth heavyweight title is like a car crash happening in super slow motion. The underequiped African has been plodding along in Accra but now he’s walking into a collision with a monster truck in London.
‘DDD’ smashed out his best win in his last contest and back in April Dubois crushed another Ghanaian, Richard Lartey, in just four rounds. Having recently turned 22, Dubois is still getting bigger and badder, and he can end this fight in rounds 1-3 at 1/3.
The co-main feature is Nicola Adams’s world championship contest with Maria Salinas (9PM). The Mexican is a stocky brawler and the Brit doesn’t shy away from a scrap, but knockouts aren’t common for female flyweights and I’m betting that Adams wins on points at 8/11.
Friday’s Best Bets
On Saturday night in LA, Spence will bring his red IBF belt to the ring and Porter will have his green WBC title held aloft, and we’ll have a good old-fashioned unification fight. Texas’s Spence is flying high in many people’s pound-for-pound lists and Paddy makes Porter a 5/1 underdog to take the titles home.
29-year-old Spence took the championship from Britain’s Kell Brook back in 2017 and since then he’s racked up wins against two former titleholders and an unbeaten Mexican starlet. He was taken the distance in his last bout but before that Spence was on a hot streak of 11 stoppage wins.
Porter won his welterweight bauble at the back end of last year and he narrowly defended it against skilful Cuban Yordenis Ugas earlier this year. The Ohio man always struggles with slicksters and his two defeats came when Brook and Keith Thurman opted to box rather than brawl with Porter.
Here’s the thing, Spence has looked phenomenal against smaller guys and lower-level opponents, but when he was forced backwards by Brook he lost those rounds. If ‘The Truth’ struggles to contain the intense pressure from Porter it will be a close, scrappy contest, and you can get a tempting 15/2 for ‘Showtime’ Shawn to win on points.
But I do think Spence will hurt the shorter man and I can see Porter continuing to pile in. Errol broke down Brook in the 11th round and Shawn has been dropped in the later rounds before. I reckon Spence will overcome a rough period before forcing the finish deep into the dust-up.
Dirrell is the man currently in possession of the belt but Benavidez was the champ 18 months ago when he got stripped of the title for sampling some of Colombia’s finest export. The unbeaten 22-year-old made a mistake but he’s back to take the torch from his veteran opponent.
Dirrell is dangerous in the first few sessions, and you can get a huge 35/1 for him to win in rounds 1-4, but Benavidez has the schooling to navigate any early onslaught. The Mexican-American is bigger, busier and quicker and I’m backing him to score a shutout on the judges’ cards.