Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter didn’t waste much time on formalities.
They introduced themselves and their Sept. 28 fight at Staples Center to reporters, exchanged a few pleasantries and then quickly moved on to boasts, threats and taunts. It wouldn’t be a boxing news conference without trash talk.
Sure enough, it got started not long after Porter stood at the bully pulpit and began to talk about Spence’s nickname, the Truth.
“I’m telling you all the truth right now,” Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs), the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) 147-pound champion, said Saturday in a crowded tent next to the MGM Grand Garden Arena before the Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman fight on a Fox pay-per-view card. “I will leave the ring as the unified welterweight champion.”
Spence (25-0, 21 KOs), who holds the International Boxing Federation’s version of the belt, smiled in a way that hinted at the inevitable rhetorical counter.
“I guarantee you I will become the undisputed welterweight champion,” said Spence, who is coming off an impressive victory over Mikey Garcia last March at AT&T Stadium, the Dallas Cowboys’ home. “But, first, I have to beat Shawn. Then, there’s Terence Crawford, who is there and who is somebody I have always wanted to fight. I’m looking to fight Crawford late next year.”
A lot has to happen before Spence gets a chance at fulfilling his hopes of a fight with Crawford. The biggest hurdle might be negotiations between Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions. PBC promotes Spence, Porter, Thurman and Pacquiao. Top Rank has Crawford, who has the World Boxing Organization title. For now, there is Porter. Then, there figures to be a bout with the Pacquiao-Thurman winner.
“I know Spence and his team think this fight with me can be easy,” Porter said. “But I’m going to knock him out.”
Spence again countered, pointing out that one of Porter’s two losses was to Thurman, who won a decision in June 2016 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Spence suggested that -- in the end -- Porter didn’t have enough to beat Thurman. Or him.
“Whatever Shawn wants to do, I can do it and do it better,’’ Spence said of their Fox pay-per-card, which will include Phoenix super-middleweight David Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs) against Anthony Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) of Flint, Mich.
Spence’s confidence angered Porter.
“Funny thing is, one good fight and he suddenly thinks he is a pay-per-view star,’’ Porter said. “I guarantee you that where will be more Porter fans than his fans at Staples. LeBron James will be there. The stars will be there.’’
So, too, will Spence and Porter for an opening bell that might finally silence a couple of more months full of trash talk.