At the end of a hectic day at the gym working out in front of the Spike TV cameras, Shawn Porter changed into a faded Cleveland Browns T-shirt before leaving Barry’s Boxing in Las Vegas, home base for his training camp ahead of his March 13 fight against Roberto Garcia.
That’s because the 27-year-old Akron, Ohio, native reps Cleveland sports at every turn.
It’s not a bad place to be, with three teams on the rise.
The Indians have the defending American League Cy Young winner in Corey Kluber, and Porter says as usual, he’ll get to at least one game this summer.
With the 7-9 Browns having just wrapped up a campaign that saw them improve from 4-12, Porter says he’s not sweating the team’s future, even with quarterback Johnny Manziel headed to rehab.
“They did everything I expected them to do this year. They didn’t win as many games as I thought they would, but I knew they would be a force this year,” Porter said. “I expect them to get better next year and be great, with or without Manziel. But I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
The Cavaliers are an even more intriguing squad, with LeBron James leading the charge on Cleveland’s 11-game winning streak through February 4.
“I’m just glad they’re winning, doing what everybody expected them to do from the beginning. It’s good to see everybody playing together, and everybody’s backing up LeBron.”
At 30, James is a few years older than Porter, but the fighter remembers when Akron’s other native son was starting to make his mark on the Rubber City as a standout for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
“I went to two high schools,” Porter said. “The second high school I went to played against St. V the year before I went to that school. There was a little bit of history there.
"It was my understanding they were doing a tournament, [LeBron] goes up and dunks the ball and brings down the hoop. I played a little bit of basketball in high school. As good as I am now, I wish I was that good back then. I might be doing a different sport.”
- Shawn Porter