Errol Spence Jr. vs. Danny Garcia fight: Shawn Porter previews bout between two men he has faced in the ring

It’s hard to imagine there will be a more interested spectator in Saturday’s welterweight title pay-per-view bout between unified champion Errol Spence Jr. and former two-division champion Danny Garcia than a man who has shared the ring with both and could be in line to face the winner.

In addition to being a two-time welterweight champion, Shawn Porter (31-3-1) has also evolved into an accomplished broadcaster and will be on the call at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, when the two men he split disputed decisions against square off (Fox PPV, 9 p.m. ET) for the IBF and WBC titles. 

“The biggest headline is who are we going to see in Errol Spence Jr. on Saturday night,” Porter told “Morning Kombat” on Wednesday in reference to a scary car crash last October that Spence was lucky to survive. But Porter then echoed a statement just as important when he said, “And I think the headline right behind that is what is Danny Garcia going to do about it?”

Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) will be a small, but firm betting underdog despite the fact that his only two pro defeats — to Keith Thurman in 2017 and Porter in 2018 — came in fights that some felt the 32-year-old had done enough to win. 

It goes without saying Garcia is talented and dangerous enough to give Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) trouble should the 30-year old show any lingering rust that comes from a 14-month layoff or any physical or mental side effects from being ejected from his vehicle after flipping his car at high speeds. The real question comes down to whether Garcia can make the proper adjustments to beat the very best of Spence. 

Although Porter, 32, came up just short in a split-decision loss to Spence last September, he succeeded in luring Spence into an all-action track meet and believes Garcia, despite being a completely different fighter than him, will need to do portions of the same. 

“The way I put it is simply this: Danny Garcia [needs to] start fast, don’t allow Errol Spence to figure out who he is [and] don’t allow Errol Spence to think he can show us who he is,” Porter said. “That’s the mindset I think he needs to have that he’s going to take control.”

Porter credited Garcia’s underrated body punching attack and his ability, as a heavy counter puncher, to potentially alter the fight with one punch given his two-fisted power. But Garcia’s power never became much of a factor when Porter used frenetic movement to disarm him in 2018 and he believes Garcia will need to be much more active to defeat Spence. 

“It’s just a conscious decision to be more aggressive that he and his dad [trainer Angel Garcia] have to make and have to learn from,” Porter said. “They lost those fights that were close because they didn’t do enough. They have to do more. If you aren’t smart enough to go back and make those adjustments, then maybe you aren’t as elite as you say you are.” 

Porter pointed to Garcia’s short and violent knockout of rugged journeyman Adrian Granados in 2019 as an example of DSG stepping on the gas more with pressure to apply his signature power. Granados had previously gone the distance with a number of top fighters, including Porter.

Garcia has, at times, believed too much in his power and waited too long to use it, according to Porter, with the reason being that Garcia lacks an elite skill when facing top competition.

“I think Danny’s biggest detriments in this fight and his career when he gets up against guys like myself, Keith Thurman and now Errol Spence Jr. is the fact that he does have slow feet,” Porter said. “In the welterweight division, we have speed and power. You have to be able to get in and get out and set those traps. When you are a literal step behind from the guy across from you, you may very well lose the fight. 

“He has those [power shots] in his back pocket and I’m going to believe in that punch until maybe 8 or 9 rounds in. I think after that, it will be too late for that type of fight.”

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It’s clear that if all things are equal and Spence is the same fighter following the accident that Porter agrees with oddsmakers in making him the favorite. But Porter did take umbrage with the way Spence has framed their 2019 bout, even going as far as telling “Morning Kombat” last week that he only engaged in a war with Porter because he decided to.

“He has publicly said he didn’t listen to his corner and that’s a mistake he will never make again, but this is the first time someone controlled him,” Porter said. “I made him fight when he didn’t want to fight and then there were times when I moved and counter punched him when he expected me to stay on him. I really controlled him in that fight and I forced him to fight the fighting styles that I wanted him to fight. 

“There were moments he had me up against the ropes and I switched him and put him on the ropes. Those aren’t things that he is used to having happen to him. I think I took him through some things he had never been through in the ring and I think he learned from it.”

Although Garcia is more well-known as a one-punch finisher thanks to his trademark “no look” left hook, Porter believes that Spence is the bigger puncher overall, which was evidenced by the knockdown that came when Spence forced Porter to touch his glove to the canvas to prevent himself from falling. 

“The thing about boxing and what makes it exciting is that any one punch can turn the tables and it can for Danny Garcia,” Porter said. “We can’t ignore that Errol Spence Jr. is coming off of a scary accident and we don’t know what he can hold up to. This fight is more interesting than a lot of people think it is. 

“That accident made him better in terms of who he is as a person but what I’m hoping is that his body hasn’t had to suffer because of it and the intangibles you take into the ring that people can’t see. I hope none of that follows him into the ring.”

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