Shawn Porter - Pound for Pound King?

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The WBC Welterweight World Champion has a plan that ends with him being the pound for pound king. It starts against top-rated 147-pound contender Yordenis Ugas Saturday night on PBC on FOX.

Shawn Porter has long been considered one of the better fighters in the world for some time but never a pound-for-pounder.

And that’s OK with him for one reason: The two-time welterweight titleholder has a concrete plan in place which, if he’s successful, would radically change the way boxing pundits and fans perceive him.

His goal is to fight and beat in no particular order: Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr., three high-profile opponents against whom Porter could cement his legacy as one of the best of his era.

Porter defends his WBC title against Yordenis Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs) on a Premier Boxing Champions card Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, on Fox and Fox Deportes (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).

“Everyone is right there, right now,” Porter said of his major rivals. “All the guys are in line to fight one another. If I continue to perform the way I’ve performed, the legacy will come.”

Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs) has performed well since he took up boxing as a child.

The one-time football star from Akron, Ohio, fights with the swarming aggression of a linebacker combined with the more-subtle skill set of a wide receiver, which has made him both entertaining and successful over more than 10 years as a professional boxer.

Few of his contemporaries have a stronger resume than he has. He has victories over world titleholders Julio Diaz, Devon Alexander (for the IBF title), Paulie Malignaggi, Adrien Broner, Andre Berto and most recently Danny Garcia, over whom he claimed the vacant WBC belt last September.

And his two setbacks – close decisions losses to IBF titlist Kell Brook and WBA champion Keith Thurman  – were close, competitive fights. Had he won those two bouts, he would be undefeated and very likely on pound-for-pound lists today.

Does that bother Porter?

“It doesn’t,” he said. “The fight with Brook is one I wish had gone the other way. The fight with Keith Thurman, we both did an amazing job. It’s hard to hang my head. What helps me with that is I understand where I am now. I’m excited about where I am. And being much more mature in the ring will keep me where I am.”

Porter has been a welterweight contender for almost seven years, making staying power another of his strengths.

Those who know him understand his ability to remain relevant for so long. He doesn’t abuse his body with foreign substances and late-night adventures. He has been fortunate to avoid career-derailing injuries, which might be surprising given his aggressive fighting style. And, perhaps most important, he works as hard as anyone.

If I continue to perform the way I’ve performed, the legacy will come. WBC Welterweight World Champion - Shawn Porter

“You don’t have to look for Shawn. He’s always around the gym. And he’s humble enough that he can still be taught,” said noted trainer Barry Hunter, who works with Porter’s father/trainer Kenny Porter.

Porter being a big 147-pounder doesn’t hurt, either. Remember: He fought at 165 pounds as amateur, losing to current middleweight titleholder Daniel Jacobs in the Olympic Trials leading to the 2008 Olympics. He’s as strong and durable as any welterweight in the world.

Porter also has had a training schedule that others might want to emulate.

“For a long time as a pro I’ve trained only four days a week,” he said. “I’ve taken off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Simple things like getting rest go a long way. I’m sure not many fighters have rested as much as I have to this point in my career.

“The protocol is different this time (for the Ugas fight). We felt we needed to train through the weekend. But you have to understand how to rejuvenate, how to manage things.”

One area in which Porter falls short, arguably, is self-promotion. In a business that often rewards the most outspoken, he has been true to his nice-guy nature. He’s simply not comfortable trash talking.

Kenny Porter told a story that illustrates his son’s reticence to behave like a professional wrestler to sell himself and his fights.

“That’s out of character for him,” Kenny Porter said. “He could probably draw more fans to him if he was more outgoing … for lack of better words … from a hip-hop standpoint, even a street standpoint. There was one particular outing, [Adrien] Broner vs. [Marcos] Maidana. When the fight was over, Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins, and also Richard Schaefer, said, ‘We need Shawn in the ring to challenge Maidana,’ who had just won the fight.

“He wouldn’t do it. Bernard had his arm around him. Schaefer opened the way with the security people. Oscar implored him. He wouldn’t come up the steps. I was upset with him but he stood firm. It just wasn’t his way.”

Indeed, Porter prefers to be judged not by his words but by his results, which brings us back to Pacquiao, Thurman and Spence.

Porter is 31-years-old. It’s a time when fighters in his position normally feel a sense of urgency to get as much accomplished as possible before it’s too late.

“I don’t feel a sense of urgency because it’s all right in front of me,” Porter said of his plan to take down Pacquiao, Thurman and Spence. “Honestly, that’s my goal, what I’ve planned out in my head, to not only fight those guys but to put on great performances.

“If I can do that, it would definitely solidify my legendary status.”

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

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