ERROL SPENCE defeated Shawn Porter to unify the IBF and WBC welterweight world titles.

Their battle at the Staples Center in Los Angeles ended in a split decision win for Spence. Larry Hazzard scored 115-112 to Porter but both Rey Danseco and Steve Weisfeld marked 116-111 to the still unbeaten Spence.

It was a demanding fight for Spence but he managed to knock Porter down with a southpaw left in the 11th round.

“This is a lifetime dream,” he said. “It shows hard work pays off.

“Shawn Porter is a rough and awkward fighter. I didn’t get off what I wanted to. He’s a true champion. He made it tough [but] all my punches have bad intentions.”

“Porter was throwing a lot,” he added. “I wanted to show I was the bigger and stronger welterweight.”

“He’s a strong kid,” Porter said. “We both came in to do the job. I think I had a little more than what he expected, but he handled it. Congratulations to him and his team. We’re proud of what we did.”

Though he added, “I think that knockdown was the difference. I couldn’t come back to the corner with my head down after that.”

Errol Spence
Action Images/Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

On the undercard David Benavidez won the WBC super-middleweight title, halting Anthony Dirrell in nine rounds.

“Everything just fell in place perfectly,” Benavidez said. “From the suspension to all the big fights I’ve been in. All of that helped me out in this fight. I did not make a mistake or open myself up more than I needed to. I worked behind my jab and got the stoppage. Things are going to get better and get tougher and I’m ready for the challenge.”

Dirrell had to deal with a cut from the sixth round. “He hit me with a clean shot,” said Dirrell. “That’s my first time ever being cut by a punch. It opened up. There was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t see the whole fight after that. My corner did a good job on it, but I really couldn’t see.”

“I would have kept going in there,” he continued. “I’m not quitting against anybody. Everyone saw I didn’t go down. My legs were still strong, but I couldn’t do anything about it.

“We’re going back to the drawing board. I’m still fighting. We won’t end on a loss. You can put anybody in there with me.”

Benavidez though can focus on a bright future. “There are so many emotions coming at me at once,” he said. “We put so much hard work into this training camp. We left home and were away from everything. But I had the dream to become the youngest two-time super middleweight world champion and I made my dreams come true.”