It’s a feat all boxers cherish, that of going as long as possible without losing a professional fight. Few have survived an entire career without tasting the bitter pain of defeat, and the elite list of those who have includes the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Joe Calzaghe, legends of the sport to whom many of the current crop aspire to emulate.
Errol Spence Jr has his sights set on matching such an achievement, and having won all 25 of his professional bouts to date, the New York fighter has made significant waves in the welterweight division. In addition to his unbeaten record, Spence holds the IBF
Welterweight title, which he will be defending in his upcoming fight against fellow American Shawn Porter on the 28th September. Porter also brings his WBC welterweight title to the ring for this mouth-watering unification showdown.
You will find the odds for Spence Jr v Porter boxing match list Spence as the heavy favourite for the clash at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and much of that is undoubtedly down to Spence’s undefeated record. When boxing fans become so used to seeing a fighter triumph time and time again, it is difficult to envisage any other outcome when that boxer steps into the ring. That is the case with Spence, whose career to date has been a story of knockout blows and ruthless performances, living up to the hype that has been generated around him.
A major statement came in 2017 when Spence defeated British boxer Kell Brook in Sheffield to claim the IBF title, knocking out a fighter who had held the belt for three years. Since then Spence’s stock has continued to rise, and although he couldn’t knock Mikey Garcia out in his last fight, it was another convincing performance over twelve rounds.
The longer Spence goes without losing, the more fear he will strike in his opponents. Boxing so often hinges on a fighter’s mentality and strength of character, and as long as Spence’s undefeated record remains intact he will have that extra edge over his opponent mentally. For Porter, a boxer who has lost two fights in his career, to Keith Thurman and Brook – who Spence of course knocked out – he must guard against a sense of inadequacy ahead of this bout. Confidence is key in boxing, but a record as impressive as Spence’s is always going to sow a seed of doubt in the mind of opponents.
There is a certain aura around an undefeated boxer, the kind of aura that Floyd Mayweather held throughout his career. When it came to fighting Conor McGregor a few years ago, Mayweather’s boxing pedigree undoubtedly heaped the pressure upon the Irish mixed martial artist turned boxer. It’s that kind of pressure that Spence can continue to apply as long as he remains unbeaten.
On the flip side, however, a chance to fight an undefeated boxer can motivate an opponent even more. That would have been the case for Andy Ruiz Jr in the heavyweight division when he defeated the unbeaten Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Gardens back in June. Perhaps Porter will in fact be relishing this opportunity to prove himself.
Of course, there are other factors which influence Spence’s status as favourite ahead of fighting Porter. His height and reach advantage undoubtedly give him an edge, as well as his vastly superior knockout percentage. However, in a sport like boxing, mental factors play a huge role, and if he is to taste victory in Los Angeles, Porter will have to overcome the daunting prospect of facing a fighter who knows not what defeat feels like.