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.

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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.

"I think the knockdown was the difference," Porter said. "I just hope everyone enjoyed this. This is what we came for and we definitely put on a show."

To Porter's credit, he got up from the knockdown and instantly started backing Spence up. The final round was all action, all the time as both fighters proved willing to go out on their shield. It was Spence, however, who landed the cleaner shots down the stretch.

"I've been on Shawn Porter for a long time. I know how he comes to fight. He doesn't quit," Spence said. "He's like a pitbull, going to keep coming making it awkward. I wanted to put his will to the test. I out-willed the stronger guy."

After the fight, former welterweight champion Danny Garcia entered the ring in what appeared to be a tease towards Spence's next PPV fight despite a chorus of boos coming from the crowd. Garcia lost a decision to Porter for the vacant WBC title last October before bouncing back with a knockout of Adrian Granados.

"It was a tough fight like I said it would be but [Spence] is a top dog. Let's get it on," Garcia said. "It was a 50/50 fight and a split decision and Shawn Porter is a tough guy to look good against. So I'm here to tell Errol Spence, I want you next, baby. Let's get it on."

Although Spence smiled when Garcia came up to him, he also shared interest in a unification fight against WBA champion and 40-year-old legend Manny Pacquiao.

"I'm the only unified champion. The next fight I do want is Manny Pacquiao. But if not, I'll go against my man Danny Garcia," Spence said. "Just like I tell Al Haymon, you line them up and I will knock them down."

In the co-main event, David Benavidez battered and bloodied Anthony Dirrell's right eye, opening a massive cut on the champion's eyebrow. The gash was bad enough for Dirrell's corner to call a stop to the fight and give Benavidez his title back after he was forced to vacate following a positive drug test in 2018.

CBS Sports was with you for every punch from the bout in Los Angeles with our updating scorecard and live updates below. If you are having trouble viewing the results or want to refresh the scorecard, please click here.

Spence vs. Garcia scorecard, live coverage

Round123456789101112Total

Spence Jr.

10

9

9

9

9

10

9

10

10

9

10

10

114

Porter

9

10

10

10

10

9

10

9

9

10

8

9

113

Spence vs. Porter card, results

Errol Spence Jr. (c) def. Shawn Porter via split decision (116-111, 112-115, 116-111)
David Benavidez def. Anthony Dirrell via ninth-round TKO (corner stoppage)
Mario Barrios def. Baktyr Akhmedov via unanimous decision (114-112, 115-111, 116-111)
Josesito Lopez def. John Molina Jr. via eighth-round TKO

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Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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