Andre Berto and Shawn Porter watched as Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia competed for a pair of 147-pound world titles in March, both longing for an opportunity to once again regain their footing atop the division.
But while the former champions were hopeful of engaging in their own separate clashes with that night’s participants in Brooklyn, New York, they instead wound up moving on to the next best scenario—fighting one another.
Andre Berto and Shawn Porter will collide Saturday night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in a 147-pound title eliminator that will headline a Showtime card (9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT). The winner will become a mandatory challenger for the unbeaten Thurman, who earned a split decision over Garcia to claim a second world title.
Both fighters hit the mark at Friday's weigh-in, with Berto coming in at 146½ pounds and Porter landing right on 147.
Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs) had been angling for a rematch with Thurman ever since coming up just short in their 12-round thriller last June, which was his last appearance in the ring.
Berto (31-4, 24 KOs) has been out of action since last April, when he avenged his first career loss with a fourth-round KO of Victor Ortiz. The Florida native, who represented Haiti at the 2004 Athens Olympics, hoped that victory would lead to a matchup with Garcia, but it never developed.
With no title shot immediately opening for the former champions, they are now thrust into a crossroads situation where the winner moves back into title consideration and the loser is left to ponder what’s next.
“I was at the Keith Thurman vs Danny Garcia fight and I thought that it could have been me that night,” Porter said. “But I've reminded myself that my time is coming and this is the first step toward that.
“The number one thing for me is to win this fight and show Keith Thurman that I'm ready for the rematch. There is nothing allowed but positive energy. We're almost there. I'm definitely excited.”
“ Every fight right now at this point in my career is a big fight and a defining fight. So, I'm just taking each of them one step at a time, and just preparing like I need to. ” Andre Berto, former two-time 147-pound world champion
Porter—a native of Akron, Ohio, who now lives and trains in Las Vegas—is in a prime position to make that happen. The 29-year-old’s ultimate goal is to avenge both of his career defeats. He lost his world title to Kell Brook by majority decision in August 2014, but still wants a piece of Thurman first.
“I think [Thurman] is the better fighter,” Porter said. “Finally being able to beat him would be something on my résumé, in my legacy, that would be remembered for a very long time. He's a very good fighter, and I'm looking forward to fighting him in a rematch.”
Naturally, the 33-year-old Berto has a very different viewpoint, and a win would be something of a career-defining moment as he eyes a potential third world championship.
“This fight here is a big fight,” Berto said. “Every fight right now at this point in my career is a big fight and a defining fight. So, I'm just taking each of them one step at a time, and just preparing like I need to. I need to just get through them one at a time.”
For a complete look at Berto vs Porter, visit our fight page.