12 Rounds With … Shawn Porter

Former welterweight world champion discusses his upcoming bout against Adrian Granados, the state of the 147-pound division and how the mentorship and fellowship from former NFL great Randall Cunningham has pushed him in his career.

Shawn Porter

Shawn Porter lands a shot against Andre Berto in his April 22, 2017 victory at Barclays Center. The former welterweight world champion returns to Brooklyn November 4 when he faces Adrian Granados. (Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment)

Shawn Porter discussed champions Keith Thurman, Errol Spence and title unification among other topics ahead of his upcoming November 4 match against Adrian Granados at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The 29-year-old Porter (27-2-1, 17 KOs) returns to Barclays Center for the fourth time. The former 147-pound champion is 2-1 there, with victories over Devon Alexander in 2013 and Andre Berto in his last fight on April 22. He lost a unanimous decision to Keith Thurman in 2016. Fighting on the undercard of Deontay Wilder’s heavyweight title rematch against Bermane Stiverne, Porter wants to be the first man to stop Granados (18-5-2, 12 KOs).

Since 2013 Porter, a native of Akron, Ohi,o has lived and trained in Las Vegas with his father, Kenny. His extended family includes four-time NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Randall Cunningham, a pastor at Las Vegas-based Remnant Ministries where Porter serves as an usher.

Porter—who is 6-2 with three knockouts in his past eight fights, with seven of those coming against current or former champions—took time out of his training to talk about his upcoming bout, the 147-pound division and what he would be doing if he wasn’t boxing.

Will your knockout streak continue against Granados?

That's our No. 1 focus – the knockout. Granados will give me the fight of his life, bring out the best in me and create an entertaining matchup that will fill the seats. To be considered one of the elite fighters in boxing is awesome.

To be fighting on an undercard for a Deontay Wilder fight, let alone in the co-main event is nothing short of excellent. That’s why scoring a knockout is so important in this particular fight. That kind of a result is unquestionable.

After losing close fights to Kell Brook and Keith Thurman, we understand that skills are one thing. But if I don’t score a knockout, are the judges recognizing and seeing that skill level in the things that I’ve been able to do? 

Our goal is to not only finish the fight strong, but to beat Granados in a way that it’s not left up to the judges, and that means that all night and throughout every round and every moment of the fight, we’ll be looking at getting a KO.

How does it feel returning to the site of your three-knockdown stoppage of Berto, and what is your assessment of that performance?

For myself and also for my Dad, I think it was a 50-50 performance. Obviously, we were able to get Berto out of there. But the part that my Dad didn’t like was how the knockout ended with the head butts and me being a little over-aggressive as well.

Those are some things we’ve continued to work on during this camp, being more skillful and not coming in with the head. At the end of the day, I understand that boxing is both heart and skill, and skill is what I think separates a great knockout from a decent or lucky knockout.

What are your memories of your Barclays debut and crowning achievement—the unanimous decision win over Alexander?

At that point in my career, if you weren’t an avid boxing fan, you didn’t really know who I was. So the general public kind of counted me out, thinking it was going to be another win for Devon Alexander.

I remember my mindset, knowing he wasn’t going to be ready for my game plan. I looked forward to making everybody say, “Oh, that’s Shawn Porter!” It was a night, a moment and a fight I’ll never forget.

As a former professional athlete, he knows my mindset, what I’m going through, and he’s a great shoulder to lean on. Former welterweight champion Shawn Porter, on his relationship with his pastor and former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham

What have you learned going 6-2 with three knockouts over your past eight fights, seven being against current or former champs?

My resume is definitely appreciated. There’s no one you can look at on my record in the past two to three years who wasn’t a formable opponent, challenger, former champion or champion.

Everyone that I’ve fought during that time has been top-ranked, top competition, and that’s going to continue with my next fight.

How about the Broner fight, being dropped in the 12th round after having to match your career-low 144-pounds?

The contracted weight wasn’t a problem. We relaxed the day before the weigh-in and made weight. The only blemish was that I went into the 12th round not fully there, mentally.

I took my foot off the gas pedal. Other than that, it was a prime performance against another good fighter and world champion.

What would you do differently against Brook?

What I didn’t do against Brook was what I did do against (Paulie) Malignaggi: Use my jab. I pretty much rushed in for 12 rounds. I would be a lot more patient, setting things up with my jab, which is how boxing is done.

How about against Thurman?

I was very consistent against Thurman, offensively and defensively. In a rematch, we would execute pretty much the same way except a little better, defensively. I got hit a little too cleanly a few times and gave up a few rounds. That won’t happen in the rematch.

In order, who would you fight toward supremacy at 147 pounds, and where would bouts against either Spence or Danny Garcia rank in importance?

I would have a rematch with Keith Thurman, a fight with Danny Garcia, and, possibly rematches with both guys. Lord willing, I win those fights and move on to bigger money and bigger publicity. Errol Spence is definitely in the mix.

It's up to my team, but I don’t see myself retiring without fighting Errol Spence.  As you get older, your body matures, but we’re doing everything we can to remain at 147. I’m not sure how long, or, if ever, it will be before we consider moving up to 154.

Did you move to Las Vegas before or after the LoGreco fight, and why was it a good move?

We moved just before the LoGreco fight. It’s always made sense and my Dad wanted to do it for a long time. We were both ready and it’s been beneficial in every way. I’m happy and comfortable. We train when we want to.

We have access to all of the big fights and we’re only a stone’s throw away from Los Angeles if we need to come out here for anything. Moving to Las Vegas was perfect for us. There’s no clientele for my gym, right now. It’s all for us.

My Dad has actually turned down potential clients, which is just his move, right now. Eventually, we’ll start tapping into the market, getting other boxers and athletes from other sports. But for now, it’s open for me when I’m in there.

Can you describe your relationship with Cunningham?

I still serve as an usher at the church. Pastor Cunningham is an awesome Christian. We've grown closer over the past six months to a year. He prides himself on teaching us to be outstanding Christians as well. 

As a former professional athlete, he knows my mindset, what I’m going through, and he’s a great shoulder to lean on.

Finish this sentence: If not for boxing, I would be …

I would be doing two things: Commentating and I’m also going to school for psychology in order to be a life coach.

What is your favorite punch to throw?

That would be the left hook. That’s the punch I started working on before I was an 8-year-old, basically, as soon as I could walk. That’s still my favorite punch.

Two guys I landed it best against were Malignaggi and LoGreco. I landed several of them against Malignaggi.

If you could have dinner with any four people in history, living or dead, who would they be?

Jesus, Michael Jackson, Jamie Foxx and my Dad’s grandfather, who was a very successful man from what I understand in a time when it was almost impossible.

If there were one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?

I would bring total peace to the world. The world we live in there is a lot of happiness around, but just as much anger and frustration. There’s a lot of envy.

A large part of that is jealousy and not tolerating people of different backgrounds. If I had it my way, I’d get rid of all of that and there would be a lot more smiles around the world.

For a complete look at Porter vs Granados, visit our fight page.

Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter: June 25, 2016

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