Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter & More Discuss The Latest In Series Of Welterweight Blockbusters
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Live At 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT From Bramall Lane In Sheffield, England
NEW YORK (May 23, 2017) – IBF Welterweight World Champion Kell Brook and undefeated rising star Errol Spence face off this Saturday live on SHOWTIME (5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT) in the latest in a series of significant welterweight matchups between the best fighters in one of boxing’s deepest divisions.
Six of the top eight welterweights in the world* will have fought in the first five months of 2017 – all on SHOWTIME or CBS – as a de facto tournament continues in the 147-pound class to determine the No. 1 fighter in a division long controlled by the retired Floyd Mayweather.
*Source: Transnational Boxing Rankings
WBA and WBC Welterweight World Champion Keith Thurman unified the titles on March 4 with a split-decision victory over Danny Garcia in a rare matchup of undefeated champions. Lamont Peterson picked up the secondary WBA Regular title on Feb. 18, and on April 22 Shawn Porter knocked out Andre Berto to become the mandatory challenger to Thurman’s WBC belt. The remaining welterweight champion, Manny Pacquiao, is set to defend his WBO title against Jeff Horn on July 2.
Now it’s Brook and Spence’s turn to take center stage in boxing’s glamour division.
This Saturday in Sheffield, England, Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) will make the fourth defense of the IBF belt he won via majority decision over Porter in 2014. The 31-year-old, who has never been knocked down, will be the decided hometown favorite in front of what is expected to be 25,000-plus fans in the first world title fight in the 162-year history of Bramall Lane.
The 27-year-old Spence (21-0, 18 KOs) has long been considered one of boxing’s most prized prospects. The IBF’s No. 1 contender has knocked out eight straight opponents and has improved as his level of opposition has risen – his last six opponents held an impressive combined record of 151 wins against just eight losses. The Dallas resident travels abroad for this long-awaited title opportunity as he attempts to become the first American to dethrone an Englishman on British soil in nearly a decade.**
With both Spence and Brook affirming their intention to unify the division after May 27, see below for what legendary Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard and current top welterweights have to say about Saturday’s IBF title matchup.
SUGAR RAY LEONARD – Former Undisputed Welterweight World Champion
“I’m really excited about this fight in particular, mainly because both fighters have to be on their A-game. I know there is talk about Kell’s eye surgery being a psychological problem, but from personal experience, I don’t see that being the case. I never thought about my eye once the doctor gave me the green light.
“To ask me who is going to win this fight, I have my favorite in Errol Spence. But, based on the each fighter’s physical artillery, one punch can turn the tables around. That being said, I am going to sit back and watch a great night of boxing.”
KEITH THURMAN – Unified WBA & WBC Welterweight World Champion
“This is an interesting fight. I have not followed Kell too much, but I have obviously seen Errol fight in the U.S. Errol is a tough, young fighter who is just getting into the public’s eye, and Kell obviously has the strength of the British crowd on his side.
“It should be a tough fight that really speaks to the strength of the welterweight division. Both fighters are men that I would be open to fighting as I continue to unify the division in 2018. As a fight fan, let’s see what’s ‘Special’ about Kell Brook, and we’ll see if Errol Spence can show us he’s ‘The Truth.’ It should be a great fight and I’ll be watching.”
DANNY GARCIA – Former Welterweight World Champion
“I think this is a 50/50 fight. I think the person with the better game plan is going to win. There is a lot of pressure to go into someone’s backyard like Spence is doing, and he’s never faced a fighter in his prime before like Brook. It is definitely a test for him and a big step up in competition. If he is ready, he can do it. He just has to go in there and stay focused.
“The welterweight division is the best division in boxing. I still feel like I am one of the best welterweights in the world even though I came up short. I never thought I would say a loss would make me stronger because I didn’t see myself losing. I want my titles back and to be seen as the best in the best division.”
SHAWN PORTER – Former Welterweight Champion & Current WBC No. 1 Contender
“I’m glad Errol is getting his title shot, and I’m happy he’s going to England for it. I’m obviously pulling for the American. Errol is a phenomenal athlete and a great boxer. I think he’s ready to show the world something, but Kell is right up there in that top tier of welterweights. People who tune in should be thrilled. I know I’m looking forward to it.
“The welterweight division is awesome, top to bottom. We’re right where we need to be and should be. Boxing returning back to the masses with PBC came at the perfect time for me and the rest of the top welterweights. There are so many of us capable of winning a title right now.”
LAMONT PETERSON – WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Champion
“This is going to be a tough fight, but I think Errol should win. At least I’m pulling for Errol to win. He’s got to overcome the idea that there will probably be 30,000 people cheering against him, so he has to show the judges that he deserves to win.
“Brook is a good fighter and is going to bring his best, but I think Errol, in the end, is the better fighter. But he will have to prove it.
“The welterweight division is one of the best in boxing right now. We’ve got a lot of good fighters in their prime making the division strong. And guys are willing to fight each other. We are seeing the kind of fights the fans want to see. If this keeps up it could bring boxing back to where it was in the days when Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler all fought each other. So it’s really good for boxing right now.”
**Timothy Bradley dethroned another Sheffield native, Junior Witter, in 2008 in Nottingham.
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Jermell Charlo Knocks Out Charles Hatley In Defense Of WBC 154-Pound Belt In SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Co-Feature; VIDEO: http://s.sho.com/2ogV2nv
Amanda Serrano Makes History On SHOWTIME EXTREME® As First Female & Puerto Rican Five-Division Champion
Catch The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Replay Monday, April 24 At
10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME
Click HERE For Photos; Credit Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
Click HERE For Photos; Credit Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Click HERE For Photos; Credit Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
BROOKLYN (April 23, 2017) – Shawn Porter scored a ninth round stoppage of Andre Berto to become the WBC’s mandatory challenger to unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, presented by Premier Boxing Champions, Saturday night on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
With the convincing victory, Porter potentially earns a rematch with Thurman, who he narrowly lost to last June in a 2016 Fight of the Year candidate at Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
The welterweight matchup was a rough and tumble affair from the opening bell. Porter (27-2-1, 17 KOs) barreled forward to smother the offense of Berto (31-5, 24 KOs), pounding Berto’s body at close range. A deep gash opened over Porter’s left eye from an accidental headbutt in the second, and another opened over his right eye just two rounds later. Porter’s constant aggressiveness and effective body work seemed to frustrate Berto, who struggled to stay off the ropes.
An odd series of events unfolded in the opening minute of the ninth round. With Berto unsteady on his feet following another clash of heads, Porter pounced and floored the former champ with a left hook for his second knockdown of the fight. Berto got up, but Porter continued to connect with Berto against the ropes and referee Mark Nelson waved off the contest at 1:31. At the time of the stoppage, Porter had out-landed Berto 60-12 over the final two rounds.
“I have to clean up those head butts,” Porter said. “We tried to use the whole ring, but sometimes in the heat of the battle stuff happens. I’m a fighter and Mr. Berto is a fighter as well, those head butts were just the two of us going in and fighting.
“I thought I fought smart tonight. I thought I picked my punches well. There were times where I smothered my shots, but there were also times where I smothered him. He has a dangerous uppercut but we had a great game plan. This was a just very hard fought battle by both of us and I’m blessed to get the victory.”
After the fight, Berto admitted that Porter’s aggressiveness and the accidental headbutts frustrated him.
“I have to give him credit, but he’s a rough fighter,” Berto said. “He has great skills but, at the same time, he was trying to be rough and trying to handle me anyway he could. I got a lot of headbutts, and he did too. Shawn’ is a tough competitor. We had a good competitive fight until the headbutts got to be a little too much for me. But I thought it was a really good fight before that.”
After the fight, SHOWTIME Sports reporter Jim Gray asked Thurman, who was ringside for the eliminator, if he would grant Porter a rematch.
“His team was adamant about the rematch and now he’s fought his way to earning that,” Thurman said. “We just need to sit down and talk about. He’s hungry, you see the way he fights, it could be a great fight again.”
Answered Porter: “I was just up here wishing he said yes – that’s the fight I want next.”
Jermell Charlo defended his WBC Super Welterweight World Championship in dominant fashion with a devastating sixth-round knockout of mandatory challenger Charles Hatley in the co-main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) landed the crisper shots from the opening bell, using a sharp left jab to set up a remarkably efficient straight right. The Houston native Charlo, the younger twin of undefeated former 154-pound champion Jermall, floored Hatley (26-2-1, 18 KOs) midway through the third with a textbook left-right combo that stunned his fellow Texan.
Charlo’s striking precision continued in fourth and fifth, before an onslaught of punches and a perfectly timed right to the chin sent Hatley falling face-forward to the canvas. Referee Harvey Dock didn’t hesitate and instantly waved off the fight at :36 with Hatley out cold on the canvas.
The accuracy of Charlo’s jab was telling – he landed his jab at a 31 percent clip to set up his power shots, which connected at an impressive 52 percent. Overall, Charlo landed 42 percent of his total punches over nearly six full rounds of prizefighting.
“I used that jab to set up the right hand,” Charlo said. “I knew Charles Hatley goes down and he gets back up – he’s a warrior – and I knew I had to get in there and be a lion.
“Hatley was moving around a lot. He was trying to engage and I tried to tell him to come fight. When he finally got in there, that’s when I got him out. I’m the champ so I have to continue to fight my mandatory. They got a guy named Jarret Hurd that took my brother’s title – we could unify.”
Amanda Serrano became the first women and the first Puerto Rican to win world titles in five weight divisions with an eighth-round TKO of Dahiana Santana to capture the vacant WBO Women’s Bantamweight World Championship in the featured bout of SHOWTIME BOXING on SHO EXTREME.
Serrano (32-1-1, 24 KOs) was the aggressor from the opening bell, moving forward and attacking with precision as Santana (35-9, 14 KOs) backed up and ate a steady diet of counter shots. Santana was deducted a point for clinching in the fourth, and had visible welts above both eyes following the seventh.
Serrano was connecting at an almost 3-1 power punch ratio when referee Benjy Esteves stepped-in to stop the bout at 1:14 of the eighth round.
“It means everything to me. We worked so hard. We worked hard for this moment,” Serrano said. “To be a five division world champion is amazing. To be the first female and first Puerto Rican is amazing.
“I’m so proud to be a Puerto Rican. I’m so proud to be a SHOWTIME fighter. I’m just so happy for this moment. Just to be a five-division world champion, I could retire today and it’d be the happiest moment of my life. I’m just getting started. I hope I’m back again.”
In the opening bout of SHOWTIME BOXING on SHO EXTREME, Jose Miguel Borrego (12-0, 11 KOs) knocked out a game John Delperdang (10-3, 9 KOs) at 2:07 of the seventh in a scheduled eight-round welterweight contest.
Borrego, who landed his uppercut at will throughout the bout, landed 229 power shots at a more than 50 percent clip in the action-packed bout.
Saturday’s event was promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will re-air on Monday, April 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME. Saturday’s SHOWTIME BOXING on SHO EXTREME telecast will replay on Tuesday, April 25 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME. Both telecasts will be available on SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and SHOWTIME ANYTIME®.
ABOUT BERTO vs. PORTER
Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter was a WBC Welterweight World Title eliminator between former 147-pound world champions. The 12-round bout headlined SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, presented by Premier Boxing Champions, Saturday April 22 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™. In the co-main event, undefeated super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo battled top rated challenger Charles Hatley, with televised coverage beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT.
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SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Live At 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT
WBC Welterweight Eliminator – 12 Rounds
Andre Berto – 146 ½ Pounds
Shawn Porter – 147 Pounds
Referee: Mark Nelson; Judges: Don Ackerman (N.Y.), Pasquale Procopio (Canada), Robin Taylor (N.Y.)
WBC Super Welterweight World Championship – 12 Rounds
Jermell Charlo – 153 ½ Pounds
Charles Hatley – 153 ¼ Pounds
Referee: Harvey Dock; Judges: Larry Hazzard Jr. (N.J.), Frank Lombardi (Conn.), Eric Marlinski (N.Y.)
SHOWTIME BOXING on SHO EXTREME® Live At 7:30 p.m. ET/PT
Vacant WBO Bantamweight World Championship
Amanda Serrano – 118 ¼ Pounds
Dahiana Santana – 122 ¼ Pounds
Referee: Benjy Esteves; Judges: John McKaie (N.Y.), Tony Paolillo (N.Y.), Waleska Roldan (N.Y.)
Vacant title only at stake for Serrano
Welterweight Bout – 8 Rounds
Jose Miguel Borrego – 141 ¾ Pounds
John Delperdang – 142 ½ Pounds
Referee: Eric Dali; Judges: Anthony Lundy (N.J.), Tony Paolillo (N.Y.), Waleska Roldan (N.Y.)
ABOUT BERTO vs. PORTER
Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter is a WBC Welterweight World Title eliminator between former 147-pound world champions. The 12-round bout headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, presented by Premier Boxing Champions, Saturday April 22 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™. In the co-main event, undefeated super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo battles top rated challenger Charles Hatley, with televised coverage beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT.
This week’s broadcast features recaps and previews of MMA and boxing events around the world. Tony, Tom and Rich also discuss politics and go off on a couple tangents here and there. We make it the whole episode this week without mentioning MacGregor vs. Mayweather even once.
We do break down some huge upcoming fights with Andre Berto taking on Shawn Porter in the main event on Showtime this week and a fourth MMA fight between Daniel Straus and Patricio “Pitbull” Friere at Bellator 178 on Friday night. We also have another UFC fight night to discuss and last week’s MMA results to go over.