Errol Spence Jr. unified the IBF and WBC Welterweight World Titles against Shawn Porter

Photos from Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

LOS ANGELES: Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KOs) unified the IBF and WBC Welterweight World Titles Saturday night against two-time champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter (30-3-1,17 KOs) in an action packed main event of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

The back and forth brawl immediately garnered well-deserved Fight of the Year conversation as the two welterweight champions traded power punches from the opening bell to the end. Porter showed his trademark aggressive style throughout the action, smothering Spence while throwing his own power punches.

That left it up to Spence to weather the oncoming storm and find spots to land power punches of his own. According to CompuBox, Spence landed 44% of his power punches, to 25% from Porter.

In round four, Porter had Spence in some trouble, as his power shots to the head and body put Spence on the defensive. The strategy from Porter stayed the same throughout, as Spence began to adjust and find a home for his offense, especially the sweeping left hook.

Round eight saw the action taken up to yet another level as Spence initially got the worst of one of the numerous exchanges, before settling in and responding enough to keep Porter at bay. The high-octane fight continued to entertain heading into the championship rounds with the fight up in the balance.

Spence landed one of the decisive blows of the bout in round 11, connecting flush with that sweeping left hook and scoring a knockdown when Porter’s knee and glove hit the canvas. As expected, Porter rebounded strong, going at Spence and putting him on the back foot for most of the remainder of the round.

The final round was more of the same, with both fighters going toe-to-toe and leaving the STAPLES Center crowd on their feet and roaring until the final bell. The final punch stats saw both men throw nearly an equal number of punches, with Spence edging Porter 745 to 744 in punches thrown and 221 to 172 in punches landed.

After 12 rounds the close nature of the fight yielded a split decision from the judges. One judge saw the fight 115-112 for Porter, overruled by two judges who saw it 116-111 for Spence. In the ring after the fight, Spence was confronted and called out by former two-division champion Danny Garcia for a potential showdown next.

Spence vs. Porter highlights:

The pay-per-view co-main event saw unbeaten David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs) regain the WBC Super Middleweight World Championship from two-time champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KOs) with a ninth-round TKO victory.

The fight followed a similar pattern throughout, with Benavidez stalking his opponent looking to unload power shots, while Dirrell circled the ring looking to counter and keep him at bay with his jab.

Benavidez stayed in control through the early rounds, until Dirrell turned the tables momentarily in round four trying to batter Benavidez against the ropes, but he was unable to daze the 22-year-old.

In round six Benavidez broke through with a critical moment in the fight, landing a punch that opened up a cut over Dirrell’s right eye. With the blood pouring, the cut was immediately a problem for Dirrell, who now had limited vision to stop the incoming assault.

Despite having his cut checked by the ringside physician in rounds six, seven and eight, Dirrell was able to use his veteran savvy to stay in the fight. As the fight went to round nine Benavidez increased his offense, slowing Dirrell down enough where he could tee off with power punches in the corner.

As Dirrell tried to navigate away from Benavidez’s offense, he began to take take more punishment and looked shaky on his feet. Referee Thomas Taylor officially stopped the fight 1:39 into the round, at the direction of Dirrell’s corner. Benavidez ended the fight with a 165 to 94 advantage in punches landed, with the biggest margin coming from his 101 power shots landed to just 41 from Dirrell.

Dirrell vs. Benavidez highlights:

Additional action saw undefeated Mario “El Azteca” Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) score a close unanimous decision victory over Batyr Akhmedov (7-1, 6 KOs) to capture the WBA Super Lightweight title in an action packed fight.

The action began with Akhmedov trying to get inside against his taller opponent, while Barrios looked to move and punish Akhmedov with pot shots from the outside. In round four, Barrios connected with a combo that stunned Akhmedov before Barrios followed up and scored a knockdown when Akhmedov’s glove touched the canvas.

After surviving the round, Akhmedov picked up the aggression and began effectively closing the space down between his opponent. He began to land numerous clean left and right hooks that put Barrios on the defensive.

As the championship rounds neared, Barrios began to experience severe swelling in his left eye amidst the onslaught from Akhmedov. In the final round, Barrios was able to turn the tide back in his favor late in the frame. He delivered a pinpoint right hand that stunned Akhmdov and again forced him to put a glove on the mat.

After the knockdown, the fight went to the judges scores, who saw the fight 116-11, 115-11 and 114-112, all in favor of Barrios. The relentless pursuit after the first knockdown from Barrios ended with him holding a 238 to 135 advantage in punches landed, but it was not enough to sway the judges on this night.

The opening bout of the pay-per-view saw Josesito “The Riverside Rocky” Lopez (37-8, 20 KOs) knock out John Molina Jr. (30-9, 24 KOs) in the eighth round of their welterweight fight.

Lopez landed a critical blow on his first punch of the night, snapping off an overhand right that connected flush with Molina and put him on the canvas early in the first round. Lopez was patient following up and eventually landed a vicious body shot that put Molina down for the second time in the round.

Molina was able to rise to his feet and make it to the second round, and showed flashes that he might be able to change the tide of the fight. He slowed Lopez’s attack down in round two with a vicious combination of right and left hooks to the head.

Lopez stayed patient however and jabbed while looking to set up the right hand that had knocked Molina down in the first. In round seven Lopez broke through again, this time landing a perfect straight right hand that put Molia on the canvas late in the round.

After a long look from the ringside physician and his own corner, Molina tried to take his chance at a fight-changing punch in the eighth round. Early in the round, Lopez was able to land several big power shots that prompted referee Ray Corona to stop the bout 39 seconds into the round.

Watch Lopez drop Molina in round one and round seven:

The main event of prelims on FS1 saw former three-time world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (36-6-1, 20 KOs) earn a unanimous decision victory over Jerry Thomas (14-2-1, 8 KOs) in their 10-round welterweight fight.

The early rounds were strategic, as Thomas relied on his movement while Guerrero looked to fire jabs patiently until he found opportunities for his power punches. Round three saw action jump up a bit as Guerrero landed a big straight left that pushed Thomas hard back into the ropes.

Guerrero continued to stalk Thomas and attack the body as his opponent spent most of the fight set on circling the ring. However, in round nine, Thomas upped the presser and closed the distance on Guerrero. He landed numerous power shots that put Guerrero on the back foot.

It was Thomas’ best round of the fight, but he was unable to put Guerrero down or out and after 10 rounds the fight was in the judges’ hands. All three saw the bout in favor of Guerrero, by scores of 98-92 and 99-91 twice.

In the opening prelims bout, unbeaten top prospect Joey Spencer (9-0, 7 KOs) scored a third-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Travis Gambardella (5-1-2, 2 KOs) in their super welterweight contest.

Spencer started the action early, leading with power shots while also controlling the distance between him and his opponent. A series of body shots put Gambardella down twice in the first round, although he was able to make it to the closing bell of the frame.

Spencer landed a powerful straight right hand to Gambardella’s head early in round two and quickly followed up with a flurry punctuated by another body shot that dropped him for the third time in the fight. Although Spencer looked to close hard, Gambardella was able to fight intelligently and make it through another round.

Early into round three, Spencer went back on the attack and connected with a big left hook to Gambardella’s head. This time, referee Ray Corona jumped in and halted the bout 53 seconds into the round, giving Spencer the TKO victory.

Watch highlights from Spencer:

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