Five Fights That Made Shawn Porter a Star

The two-time world welterweight champion recounts some of his most memorable moments as he prepares to face Sebastian Formella in a 147-pound world title eliminator Saturday night on FOX.

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Fighter Of The Week: Shawn Porter

Still only 32, Shawn Porter fights with the zeal and fervor of a boxer 10 years younger. It’s testament to the lifestyle and discipline Porter possesses. 

Those attributes are why the man called “Showtime” remains among the welterweight elite. This Saturday, August 22, Porter returns versus Germany’s Sebastian Formella (22-0, 10 KOs) in a WBC/IBF World Welterweight title eliminator live on FOX PBC Fight Night (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).

This marks the first time Porter (30-3-1, 17 KOs) will be in the ring since his monumental clash with Errol Spence Jr. back in September; a thrilling split-decision defeat many thought he won.

Porter will move one step closer to becoming a three-time world champion with a win on Saturday. For now, here’s a look at five fights that helped him become a household name in boxing and one of the sport’s most exciting fighters. 

5 Adrien Broner

Date: June 20, 2015

Location: MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas

At stake: No title 

Records at the time: Porter 25-1-1 (16 KOs); Broner 30-1 (22 KOs)

Result: Porter W 12

Significance: Two fights prior, Porter had suffered his first defeat, by a majority-decision to England’s Kell Brook and lost the IBF welterweight belt he won from Devon Alexander.

Beating Broner established Porter as a player at 147 again; it placed his name back into the contender discussion.

Broner’s team expected a version of Porter that would come forward and pressure him. They were a little confused when it didn’t happen. Broner also wanted the fight at 144, not 147. The last time Porter had been that light was when he was a teenager.

“I came out less aggressive and boxed him, and Broner was never able to catch any type of rhythm against me,” Porter recalled. “I stayed back early and picked my spots. Maybe he thought he was going to get an advantage by making the weight at 144.

“I took on that challenge. I made the weight. The reason why the fight means so much to me is that I accomplished a lot of things before the fight and during the fight. Broner stayed on his bicycle trying to move me. He didn’t. For me, the fight was the whole preparation.”

The victory earned Porter a fight with WBA welterweight champ Keith Thurman in 2016.

4 ANDRE BERTO

Date: April 22, 2017

Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn

At stake: No title 

Records at the time: Porter 26-2-1 (16 KOs), Berto 31-4 (24 KOs)

Result: Porter TKO 9

Significance: As Porter came up in the amateurs, he was often compared to Berto. They had similar fighting styles and both were extremely very strong and both were built alike.

Berto was someone who Porter once looked up to.

“This fight came down on who would be the toughest, and that’s how the fight came down to; who would have the most grit and the most fight,” Porter said. “There were a lot of head clashes, and it was a rugged fight until the end.

“I knocked him out with a barrage of punches, but it was hook on the temple that took a lot out of him. The strategy against Andre was out punch him and land hard shots. I thought I could use my speed to set up my power. That’s exactly what happened.”

3 DEVON ALEXANDER

Date: December 7, 2013

Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn

At stake: Alexander’s IBF welterweight title 

Records at the time: Porter 22-0-1 (14 KOs); Alexander 25-1 (14 KOs)

Result: Porter W 12

Significance: Not many beyond boxing circles knew Porter then. This fight was his first attempt at a world title. Many assumed Porter was not ready for a world title shot. Alexander was a tricky southpaw who could tangle any opponent into knots with his movement and angles.

But Porter knew he was ready. He felt he was quicker, stronger.

“The funny thing about it is, I didn’t even realize I was fighting for a world championship at that point,” Porter recalled. “There were so many people telling me that I couldn’t win; that I couldn’t beat Devon. That he was going to beat me and move on to the next fighter.”

The so-called pundits were wrong.

“I was trying more to prove myself than to win a title,” Porter said. “My punch selection was more precise, considering Devon was a southpaw. You couldn’t just throw anything at him.”

Porter won by unanimous decision.

“I started to realize I won a world title when they were bringing the belt over to me after the fight,” Porter said. “That’s when it finally sunk in that I’m a world champion.”

2 PAUL MALIGNAGGI

Date: April 19, 2014

Location: DC Armory, Washington, D.C.

At stake: Porter’s IBF welterweight title

Records at the time: Porter 23-0-1 (14 KOs); Malignaggi 33-5 (7 KOs)

Result: Porter TKO 4

Significance: Porter was hearing the talk that Malignaggi was more experienced and how he lacked the boxing ability to beat the “Magic Man.” It didn’t help to hear some of this invective was coming from Malignaggi himself.

Malignaggi called Porter a “50-50” fighter, meaning Porter was “basic.” Kenny Porter, Shawn’s father and trainer, replied, “We’re ‘basically’ going to beat your ass.”

“What I remember about Paulie was cutting him with my very first punch, which was a jab,” Porter said. “That set the tone for the rest of the night. But once I saw that blood, I was a shark in the water. It was like another switch that was hit.

“When I look back at that fight, I look extremely vicious and angry. That’s not who I am. The funny thing is my mom still watches that fight. She said I had so much energy that she feels it gives her energy.”

Porter stopped Malignaggi with a barrage of punches against the ropes and closed the show with a devastating left hook.

1 Danny Garcia

Date: September 8, 2018

Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn

At stake: Vacant WBC welterweight title

Records at the time: Porter 28-2-1 (17 KOs); Garcia 34-1 (20 KOs)

Result: Porter W 12 

Significance: Porter had always wanted to win the WBC title. It was his No. 1 goal as a professional. Porter’s team brought in acclaimed trainer Barry Hunter, who worked previous camps. What was different was bringing Hunter into Porter’s corner.

Hunter had experience against Garcia. He trained Lamont Peterson against “Swift.”

“We had a game plan all laid out,” Porter said. “We wanted Danny Garcia to come to us. We wanted to pace ourselves and make him understand that he couldn’t hit me on the outside, and he wasn’t going to handle my pressure inside.

“As the fight went on, we felt everything was comfortable. I was doing all of the right things. When I came back to the corner after the eighth round, Barry told me, ‘Kiddo, you ready, you have to turn it on now.’

“The No. 1 thing I sensed from Danny that he was uncomfortable. I could sense he felt he was losing, and that he had to do something or he was going to lose. He was getting desperate.”

“But I will say this, Danny could take a shot. Timing is very important on boxing. Once you make a fighter hesitant, you’re the one in control. Once he missed his left hook, his bread-and-butter, I made him begin to doubt. He rushed himself a lot against me, and that took him out of his rhythm.”

Porter says this was his greatest victory. It was dominant and complete.

For a closer look at Shawn Porter, check out his fighter page. 

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