Crawford-Brook was a ratings hit!

Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN saw Terence Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) retain his WBO welterweight world title with a fourth-round TKO over former welterweight world champion Kell Brook, in a main event from the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  The fight delivered big on viewership, ranking as the top boxing telecast across all TV networks since January 2019.

Top Things to Know

  • Crawford vs Brook averaged 1,758,000 viewers, making it the most viewed boxing telecast across on all TV networks since January 2019

  • The main event was also the most viewed boxing telecast on cable since December 2018 (Lomachenko vs. Pedraza on ESPN: 1,889,000)

  • The fight rating peaked during the 11:45 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET quarter hour with 2.1 million viewers

  • Through seven Saturday night telecasts on ESPN so far this year, Top Rank on ESPN has averaged 1,033,000 viewers, up 44% from 11 Saturday night telecasts in 2019

  • Adults 18-49 are up 54% year-over-year

  • Crawford vs. Brook ranked No. 1 as the most socially engaged boxing telecast across TV over the last two years, with over 306,000 total social interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

  • Crawford vs. Brook had a strong performance on social media, becoming the most socially engaged telecast across TV over the last two years, with over 306,000 social interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

  • Lomachenko vs. Lopez and Crawford vs. Brook have been the most socially engaged boxing telecasts across TV in consecutive months over the last two years.

Source: Nielsen, Nielsen Social Content Ratings

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank/Getty Images

Crawford: ‘I want Pacquiao’

For the first three rounds, Kell Brook(39-3, 27 KOs) was fighting well and was effectively using his jab against WBO 147-pound champion Terence Crawford. However, before you knew it, the fight was over. Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) exploded was a right jab that forced Brook into the ropes for a knockdown. Crawford would finish Brook off with a combination that prompted referee Tony Weeks to stop the fight, and Crawford would win by fourth-round TKO to retain his belt at the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble on Saturday night.

 “Never in my career, nobody has ever done that to me in sparring or anything,” Brook said after the fight.

Crawford added: “Kell is a tremendous talent. He came, and he tried to take my title. He was in shape. He made the weight. There were no excuses to be put on the table. He came off of three wins.”

According to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, Crawford, who has now won eight straight fights by knockout, is the best welterweight in the world.

“Terence Crawford showed, once again, why he is the best welterweight in the world,” Arum said. “It was a dominating performance over a very good fighter in Kell Brook. Terence ranks up there with all the great welterweights I’ve promoted.”

After the fight, Crawford made it clear that he wants WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, next.

“I already said who I want {next}. I want Pacquiao. I want to revisit that fight,” Crawford said. “That was a fight that should’ve happened right now. But being that the pandemic happened, and they weren’t going to allow fans in the Middle East, they had to put a hold to that. Everything was 95 percent done. We had the venue. The money was almost there. It wasn’t quite there. That was the only thing we were waiting on.”

What happens next for Crawford should be interesting. There have been talks that Crawford is not happy with his situation at Top Rank. According to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger, Crawford’s deal with Top Rank expires in October 2021. If the 33-year-old Crawford is fighting Pacquiao next, which he mentioned was a possibility, that’s an opportunity to get a nice payday and a big name at 147. However, if Crawford wants the other big names at 147, like Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, or Danny Garcia, all of who fight under the PBC banner, he’s going to have to probably sign with PBC, and if that gets him the big fights, it’s a great move.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Brook on Crawford: ‘I stop him, or he quits on the stool’

At age 34, former world champion Kell Brook(39-2, 27 KOs) is running out of time. On Saturday night, Brook will have an opportunity to become a champion again when he battles WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford(36-0, 27 KOs) at the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble.

The last time Brook fought in the United States was in 2014 when he earned his first title by defeating then IBF 147-pound champion Shawn Porter. According to the UK native, he knows what it takes to come to America and win a belt.

“I’ve been here before. I’ve been on this stage,” Brook said via a Zoom call on Monday. “I’ve been in there with pound-for-pound top fighters like Golovkin and Errol Spence. I took the title away from Shawn Porter in America. I know what it takes to be champion.

“He’s going to have a rude awakening; I’ll tell you that. He’s going to have a rude awakening Saturday night when he gets in there.

“I hope he’s {overlooking me}. I hope he is because I’m coming with force. Trust me.”

There is nothing like winning your first title, but Brook, who lost his title to Spence in 2017, thinks winning his second title would mean more to him. 

“I think {winning this fight} would rank above Shawn Porter given everything I’ve been through, everyone writing me off,” Brook said. “I think you gotta put it up there because this is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. You’ve gotta put him as number one. Nobody has done that in history from Britain, and I’m glad that all the fans will be able to see it on Premier Sports. They’re going to stay up and enjoy me become two-time world champion.”

Not only does Brook, who is on a three-fight win streak, expect to beat Crawford, but he also expects to do it in devastating fashion.

“I stop him, or he quits on the stool,” Brook said. “I’m fully focused. I’ve never been ready for a fight like this before. Looking forward to whatever Terence brings because I can match him. I’m ready for a war.”

This is Brook’s last stand. If he can find a way to beat one of the pound-for-pound best in Crawford, it would be his greatest accomplishment as a pro. Brook was very competitive against Spence and Golovkin, so there’s a good chance that he will be very competitive against Crawford. Based on the way Brook’s talking, we should get an excellent fight on Saturday night.

Kavaliauskas wants Crawford rematch

Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas is a top welterweight contender once again. In his first fight since losing to pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford last December, Kavaliauskas knocked out Canadian veteran Mikael Zewski in the eighth round.

Kavaliauskas (22-1-1, 18 KOs) knocked down Zewski (34-2, 23 KOs) with a combination to close out the seventh round, then charged out of his corner to finish things off in the eighth. Following the second knockdown of the fight, referee Kenny Bayless immediately waved off the bout.

Zewski was leading on two of the judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage.

Kavaliauskas said, “I was controlling the fight. I was never in danger. I was never hurt.

“I wanted to knock him out faster, but it happened this way. You can never count on the knockout. I was working. I was putting pressure on him. I saw him slowing down round by round. I saw him getting weaker and weaker. I was just blocking his punches and not feeling his power.

“Mean Machine,” who was stopped by Terence Crawford in December, would like a rematch with Crawford in near future.

“I don’t think Crawford has any other choices at welterweight. I can ask his team, with all due respect, to give me a rematch because these guys have no opponents yet.”

Gonzalez Topples Marriaga

In the featherweight co-feature, Joet Gonzalez picked up the WBO Intercontinental belt with a one-sided unanimous decision (99-91 2x and 97-93) over three-time world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (29-4, 25 KOs). Gonzalez (24-1, 14 KOs) had not fought since losing a one-sided decision to Shakur Stevenson last October for the vacant WBO featherweight world title.

Gonzalez said, “This puts me back in the position I want to be. I wanted to be back in with tough guys. I told my manager, Frank Espinoza, and my team at Golden Boy that I didn’t want no tune-up fights. I wanted to show people that I could compete with the top guys and be in with heavy hitters and boxers and compete for another title real soon.

“I want another world title shot. I think I’ve earned it.”

In undercard bouts:

Featherweight: Aleem Jumakhonov (9-3-2, 5 KOs) KO 3 Jorge Ramos (7-3-1, 4 KOs). Jumakhonov rebounded from a July decision defeat inside the “Bubble” to notch his first stoppage win since 2018.

Bantamweight: Manuel Flores (9-0, 6 KOs) TKO 5 Jonathan Rodriguez (8-1, 3 KOs). In a battle of unbeatens, Flores staggered Rodriguez with a combination in the fifth, forcing referee Robert Hoyle to stop the bout. Flores scored a knockdown in the third round and was leading on two of the judges’ cards.

Junior Lightweight: Anthony Chavez (9-1, 3 KOs) UD 6 Adan Gonzales (5-4-2, 2 KOs). Scores: 58-55 3X. Chavez came back from his first career defeat, knocking down Gonzales in round three and sweeping the last four rounds on two of the judges’ cards.

Lightweight: Eric Puente (4-0) UD 4 Luis Norambuena (4-6-1).
Scores: 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37. Puente, from San Diego, prevailed in his second “Bubble” appearance in three months.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing

Jose Ramirez on Crawford: ‘I would definitely be honored to share the ring with him’

WBC/WBO super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez is staying ready. The 2012 U.S. Olympian has not fought since knocking out Maurice Hooker last July in a title unification bout. He was supposed to fight Viktor Postol Feb. 2 in China (Feb. 1 prime time in the U.S.), but it became the first major bout to be impacted by COVID-19. The May 9 makeup date in Fresno also fell by the wayside.

Ramirez is self-quarantining with his family in California’s Central Valley, but he is awaiting the call for the third — and hopefully final — Postol fight date.

He recently spoke with Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher. This is what he had to say.

CP: How have you dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic?

JR: “Obviously it’s the second time my fight gets postponed. There’s a lot of frustration there because of the sacrifices we go through. I’ve been training for the same fight since November. I trained through the holidays, which is always difficult.

“Me having my boy, I want to spend as much time with him now that he’s getting older by the second. It’s hard. I had a plan for 2020, just like any other fighter. I had a plan to fight three times. I was happy that I was going to start early and hopefully move to the {welterweight} division next year. It throws me off. It sets me back. Everything happens for a reason, I believe. Right now, we just have to stay safe. We have to go through this crisis.”

CP: How do you keep yourself from feeling defeated after going through two training camps {without a fight}?

JR: “I’m just staying focused. I’m staying optimistic with everything, with doctors, with everyone, the first responders. I think everyone is working hard to get together to go through this fast and get everything back to normal. Right now, I believe this is something that requires everyone to be on the same page, to really practice {self-isolation} so we can stop the spread of this virus.

“I do know that my fight will be one of the first fights back when all this is over.”

CP: Once the Postol fight is rescheduled, would you like to try and stay at 140 pounds and get more belts or is a move up to 147 imminent?

JR: “I owe it to myself to fight for all the belts just because if I were to go up to the next weight class, people will still doubt who the best 140-pounder is, just because there is another guy with two belts (WBA/IBF world champion Josh Taylor}. There are some other fighters that I didn’t get to face at 140. I really want to prove a lot of people wrong. I want to do it for myself. I know I can be the best 140 in the world. I know I can see myself with all four belts. It’s just a matter of time, and once I do that, I think that’s going to put my name more out there worldwide. It’s going to definitely make a stronger impact when I do move to 147 knowing that the undisputed champion at 140 is moving up to 147. I think that’s going to make more noise.”

CP: Any interest in WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford?

JR: “I’ll take any route that leads me to fight for a world title. Crawford is an excellent fighter, so yeah, I would definitely be honored to share the ring with him. I think I’ll show him something new. I think I’ll bring something out of him. By the time I do make that decision to move to 147 and put that extra muscle on me, on my body, I’ll be a much stronger Jose Ramirez. I can see myself developing into a better welterweight than super lightweight. I do have the height. I do have the body frame. I think once I put the extra seven pounds on, it’s going to be a huge difference in a very positive way.

“After Crawford, I plan to stay in the welterweight division for quite a while, definitely fight all the top names out there and see how I do. I think I have what it takes to stay at this level of competition for a long time.”

CP: Would you ever be up for a fight with Regis Prograis down the line?

JR: “Definitely. I think if the fight with Regis takes place, it might take place at 147, though, because I have (super lightweight} fights lined up. I really want to move up after that.”

Tank on if he stops Gamboa before Crawford did: ‘I’m top five, pound-for- pound, for sure’

Gervonta Davis(22-0, 21 KOs) makes his debut at 135 pounds when battles Yuriorkis Gamboa(30-2, 18 KOs) on December 28 in Atlanta. For Davis, this fight is an opportunity to establish himself in a new weight class against an opponent who has decent power.

Back in 2014, Gamboa gave then lightweight belt holder and current WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford a lot of trouble, and he had Crawford hurt in that fight. However, Gamboa would eventually get stopped in the ninth round. 

As he prepares for his battle with Gamboa, Davis watched Gamboa’s fight against Crawford, and he plans on using what he saw to his advantage.

“When I watched the Crawford vs. Gamboa fight, that’s the fight I actually keep watching,” Davis recently said on a conference call. “Gamboa was touching him up in the beginning of rounds because Crawford was too wide. So, I took that and tried to not be wide, like throwing a lot of round punches. 

“But the explosiveness was there, and he was actually right-handed when Gamboa was touching him up. So once he turned southpaw, then that was a different story. I was learning from his mistakes, just not be wide.

 “But I’m always going to be me in the ring and do what Gervonta Davis does. That’s, be explosive, be fast, and if we go 12 rounds, I’m definitely here for it. But I don’t see this fight going 12 rounds.”

According to Davis, if he stops Gamboa before Crawford did, he believes that he needs to be talked about as one of the best fighters in the world.

“If I do, it would tell that, I’m top five, pound-for-pound, for sure,” Davis said. 

I don’t think this fight changes anything in terms of Davis being one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport. Gamboa has some ability, but he is not an upper-echelon fighter. While beating Gamboa is a good win for Davis, it does not change anything in terms of his standing in the sport of boxing. This is a fight he is supposed to win. 

Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Ward on Crawford: ‘He showed you why he’s number one pound-for-pound in the sport’

It was harder than expected, but in the end, Terence Crawford(36-0, 27 KOs) dropped Egidijus Kavaliauskas(21-1-1, 17 KOs) three times and stopped him in the ninth-round to retain his WBO welterweight title at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

Although Crawford was able to get the stoppage, it was not as easy as many expected. Earlier in the fight, things got a little interesting for Crawford. During an exchange with Kavaliauskas in the third round, it appeared that Crawford was knocked down, but it was ruled a slip. According to Crawford, he was not hurt at all in this fight.

“I thought I had to entertain ya’ll for a little bit. He’s a strong fighter, durable, and I thought I’d give the crowd something to cheer for,” Crawford said. “I wasn’t hurt at all. I got up and went straight to him. I wasn’t hurt by no means. I walked through everything he threw all night.”

But, according to ESPN boxing analyst Andre Ward, who called the fight, Crawford was hurt. 

“Tonight, he got knocked down. He won’t admit that he got knocked down, but it was a knockdown,” Ward said about Crawford after the fight. “He got hurt a couple of times; he made the adjustment, and he showed you why he’s number one pound-for-pound in the sport.”

What’s next for Crawford? Well, with most of the top guys at 147 over on the PBC side, Crawford may have a hard time getting the big fights. With unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. possibly out for an extended period of time due to a car accident, the obvious name could be Shawn Porter, who has a close relationship with Crawford. Therefore, that might not happen either, but no matter the politics, Crawford desires to fight all the top guys at 147.

“I’m not ducking anyone on the PBC side or Top Rank platform,” Crawford said. “1 want to fight all the top guys.”

In reality, we won’t learn more about Crawford until he gets one or more of the top guys at 147 in the ring, but for now, he’s still one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport of boxing. 

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Crawford: ‘You don’t hear ‘wrong side of the street’ with any other fighter but Terence Crawford’

Pound-for-pound king and WBO welterweight world champion Terence “Bud” Crawford returns to Madison Square Garden Saturday evening (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) as the headliner for the card of the year, a three-headed monster that will follow the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) will make the third defense of his welterweight crown against No. 1 contender Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs), Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs) will defend his IBF lightweight world title against unbeaten sensation Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) and Michael Conlan (12-0, 7 KOs) hopes to gain revenge on former 2016 Russian Olympic nemesis Vladimir Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs).

The ESPN+ undercard (5:45 p.m. ET) will feature Bronx-born super lightweight Josue Vargas (15-1, 9 KOs) against Noel Murphy (14-1-1, 2 KOs) and Brooklyn-born knockout artist Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga (12-0, 12 KOs), who has never seen the second round as a pro, against the durable Cesar Nunez (16-1-1, 8 KOs) in an eight-round super middleweight showdown.

At Tuesday’s media workout, this is what Crawford had to say:

Terence_Crawford_shadowbox.JPG

On the pressure of being a top pound-for-pound fighter

“It’s a blessing because it motivates me and adds fuel to the fire. I like proving people wrong. That’s more joy for me.”

“{New York} is one of the big stages. Vegas is a big stage. I do my thing in the ring, and every time I fight, I send a message to all the welterweights out there.”

“Everyone poses a threat. {Kavaliauskas} is a good fighter. He is a two-time Olympian for a reason. He’s undefeated, strong and hungry.”

On his popularity in Omaha now

“It’s the same. I’ve been the around the city since my amateur days. Some people want a picture, others shake my hand and say, ‘What’s up?’

“When I was at 140, everybody criticized me and said I was too big for 140. When I was at 140, everyone said I was too big for 135. If I was to go back down to 140, what would everybody say? I’m picking and bullying people. There you have it.”

On “sides of the street” in boxing

“Well, Deontay Wilder is about to fight Tyson Fury and you never hear about any ‘sides of the street.’ It’s just something people say when it comes to Terence Crawford. You don’t hear ‘wrong side of the street’ with any other fighter but Terence Crawford. Why do all these other fights get made, but when it’s Terence Crawford, it’s about the ‘wrong side of the street?'”

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Boxing

Crawford-Mean Machine, Commey-Lopez set for 12/14 at MSG

Terence “Bud” Crawford will defend his WBO welterweight world title against undefeated mandatory challenger Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas Saturday, December 14 at Madison Square Garden as part of a special ESPN-televised tripleheader that will immediately follow the 2019 Heisman Trophy Presentation (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). ESPN Deportes will provide the Spanish-language telecast.

The triple-header on ESPN and ESPN Deportes will also feature IBF lightweight world champion Richard “RC” Commey defending his title against human highlight film and Brooklyn native Teofimo Lopez. Additionally, in the 10-round featherweight special attraction, Irish sensation and New York fan favorite Michael “Mick” Conlan will battle unbeaten Russian Vladimir Nikitin in a rematch of their highly controversial 2016 Olympic quarterfinal bout.

“This is the best fight card of the year, and Madison Square Garden is a fitting venue for what will be a special night,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Terence Crawford is a generational talent, but he’ll have his hands full against the ‘Mean Machine.’ Teofimo Lopez is taking a giant step up against Commey, and it will be a tremendous fight. Mick Conlan has been asking for Nikitin since the day he signed with Top Rank. He finally gets his wish, and I know he wants to correct the tremendous injustice of the Rio Olympics.”

“Egidijus Kavaliauskas is a two-time Olympian and I can’t take him lightly,” Crawford said. “He’s got everything to gain and nothing to lose and that makes him dangerous. I never overlook any opponent, and this will be no exception. I’ll be ready for anything and everything he brings on December 14 when I return to my second home, Madison Square Garden, and live on ESPN.”

Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs), the pride of Omaha, Nebraska, has been impeccable since turning professional, winning world titles in three weight classes and unifying all four major world titles at super lightweight. He is 13-0 with 10 knockouts in world title bouts and has knocked out his last six opponents, including Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz, bitter rival Jose Benavidez Jr. and Manny Pacquiao conqueror Jeff “The Hornet” Horn. In his last bout, April 20 at Madison Square Garden, Crawford neutralized former unified super lightweight world champion Amir “King” Khan en route to a sixth-round TKO after Khan could not continue following a low blow. Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs) will be the fourth undefeated fighter Crawford has faced in his last five bouts.

A native of Kaunas, Lithuania, Kavaliauskas represented his homeland at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, rising the professional ranks with convincing victories over perennial contenders Juan Carlos Abreu and Roberto Arriaza. Kavaliauskas has a February 2018 TKO win over David Avanesyan, who is now the current European welterweight champion. He has never been knocked down as a pro or amateur and trains out of the famed Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard, California.

Commey (29-2, 24 KOs) has had a career year, winning the vacant IBF lightweight title February 2 in Frisco, Texas with a devastating second-round TKO over Isa Chaniev. He defended the belt June 29, knocking down former lightweight world champion Ray Beltran down four times before stopping him in the eighth round. A native of, Accra, Ghana, he has won four in a row by knockout.

Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs), at 22 years old, is one of boxing’s budding superstars a big-punching, big-talking fighter who has become the sport’s latest viral sensation. His post-fight Fortnite celebrations and backflips are the exclamation point to his highlight-reel knockouts. He fought last year on the post-Heisman Trophy celebration telecast, knocking out Mason Menard in 44 seconds and then putting on the jersey of Heisman winner Kyler Murray. Lopez is 3-0 in 2019, most recently prevailing via 12-round decision July 19 over Japanese veteran Masayoshi Nakatani in a title eliminator.

“I’m very excited to fight at the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, in my second world title defense against Teofimo Lopez,” Commey said. “My lifelong dream of becoming a world champion became a reality through many years of hard work in my homeland of Ghana through the UK, Europe and finally in the United States. I want to thank everyone on my team for making this possible. On December 14, I will put on another spectacular performance in defending my world title for my fans in the arena and those watching on ESPN and around the world.”

“Richard has fought all over the world for many years to achieve his lifelong dream of not only becoming a true world champion, but also becoming a boxing star, and on December 14 against Teofimo Lopez, I believe that he will successfully defend his title for the second time in spectacular fashion,” said Lou DiBella, Commey’s promoter.

“I’m finally back at Madison Square Garden, the place where I always wanted to win my first world title,” Lopez said. “I believe this fight will shut up all of the critics and prove to everyone that I back up my talking in the ring. I respect Commey as a champion, but when we’re in that ring, it’s going to be lights out for him. Come December 14, I am officially taking over the lightweight division.”

Conlan (12-0, 7 KOs), who is ranked in the top 10 as a featherweight by three of the major sanctioning organizations, is looking to avenge the final, and most controversial loss, of his amateur career. With a semifinal berth — and a guaranteed Olympic medal — on the line, Nikitin was the beneficiary of a decision most experts believe Conlan deserved. The indelible image of the Rio Olympics was Conlan’s double middle-finger salute to the judges. Conlan’s disappointment motivated him for what has been a flawless professional campaign. A proven ticket-seller at Madison Square Garden thanks to his annual St. Patrick’s Day appearances, Conlan is coming off a rousing TKO win over Diego Alberto Ruiz on August 3 in front of 10,000 hometown fans at Belfast’s Falls Park.

Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs) did not turn pro immediately following the 2016 Olympics, electing to fight as an amateur throughout 2017. He signed a professional contract in 2018 with Top Rank, in large part because he wanted to face Conlan as a pro. Nikitin’s come-forward style has translated to the pro ranks, as he’s won a trio of decisions. He has fought on the same card as Conlan twice as a professional. The message was clear: Conlan and Nikitin were destined to meet again. They were supposed to fight August 3 at Falls Park, but Nikitin suffered a torn biceps in training.

“I’m beyond excited to fight for the sixth time in my favorite venue in the world, the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden,” Conlan said. “The boxing fans in New York City have been incredibly supportive of my career, and I look forward to putting on another great show for them, as well as my Irish fans coming over for this massive holiday event.

“Vladimir Nikitin and I have unfinished business from the 2016 Olympics, and I can’t wait until December 14 to set the record straight.”

“Michael Conlan has done a lot of talking about me and our Olympic fight over the last few years. The talking finally ends December 14,” Nikitin said. “He’s bitter over our last fight and can’t accept the result. Well, my hand will be raised once again.”

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Spence on Porter fight: ‘The winner of this fight is definitely going to be the best welterweight in the world’

Unbeaten IBF Welterweight Champion and Dallas hometown hero Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. hosted a media workout for fans Thursday at Texas Live! In Arlington, as he nears his welterweight title unification clash against “Showtime” Shawn Porter headlining a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

Spence met with fans and showed off his skills along with head trainer Derrick James at Thursday’s open to the public event, which also featured DJ Bay Bay from KKDA-FM in Dallas.

“Anyone who doubts me just motivates me to keep grinding and go even harder,” Spence said. “They can keep doubting me, but I’m going to stay focused and train hard.

“Everything I said I’d do in a fight I’ve done so far. I expect a knockout, and that’s what’s going to happen on September 28.”

According to Spence, the winner of this fight can call themselves the best fighter at 147.

“The winner of this fight is definitely going to be the best welterweight in the world. There’s no way around it. Being a unified champion and stamping my place in the division makes me even hungrier to win.

“I’m looking to make a statement by being the first person to knock Shawn out. I showed people that I have the great boxing skills against Mikey Garcia, and now I’m going to remind everyone about my power on September 28.”

Porter has been in with some best at 147, including former world champions, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, but according to Spence, he is on a different level than those guys.

“I’m different than anybody Shawn’s ever fought. I’m not Keith Thurman, and I’m not Danny Garcia,” Spence said. “Shawn has been in a lot of close fights with great fighters, but I’m going to bring something he’s never seen before.”

The winner of this fight will be one of the best at 147, but until Spence or Porter fights WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford, we can’t call them the best in the welterweight division. Hopefully, that can happen in the future.