Pounding the pavement might be an essential part of any fighter’s training, but Shawn "Showtime" Porter’s work paid off double. Porter was running at the UNLV track when his father and trainer, Kenny Porter, noticed assistant track and field coach Larry Wade working with other athletes at the facility.
Kenny Porter asked Wade to do a couple of sessions with Shawn ahead of the Devon Alexander fight. It proved to be an astute marriage. Porter came through 12 rounds fresh and nimble. After Porter won that December 7, 2013, decision over Alexander, Wade was officially welcomed to Team Porter.
“I always said the difference between my team and another team is we have love in my corner,” Porter said. “We all genuinely care about each other, look out for each other, want the best for each other, push each other really hard.
“When my dad’s not there, [Wade is] doing exactly what my dad would do for me, which is really pushing me and making me as great as I can be every day.”
The 1998 NCAA 110-meter hurdles national champion and Texas A&M Hall of Famer recognized the changing nature of boxing, and applied a simple philosophy that worked with all the athletes he’s trained: Speed kills.
“The faster the guy is, the quicker and more elusive the guy becomes, and the easier he can touch the guy next to him,” Wade said. “Everyone who ever came to me, whether it was basketball, whether it was track, whether it was the NFL—when Gilbert Arenas came to me, the first thing he said was ‘Coach, I need to be faster.’ That’s it. The common denominator for all sports is speed.”
"I think that all the sports are starting to understand that speed kills, no matter what the sport is."
track coach Larry Wade
In a simple, unadorned ring at Barry’s Boxing Gym in Las Vegas, Wade paces out stubby cones for Porter to shuffle and sprint through.
It’s an agility exercise that wouldn’t look out of place at the NFL Combine.
Wade designed the exercise specifically for Porter’s body—tailored to his height, and his abilities.
He has run Porter through the drill so often he can get the cones down without a tape measure.
It’s all part of the plan to keep Porter moving around the ring when he faces Roberto Garcia on March 13 in Ontario, California, on Premier Boxing Champions’ Spike TV debut.
And if Wade ever needs advice on getting the most out of Porter, he can always turn to his wife, Yvonne, who just happens to be the head track and field coach at UNLV.
“Try having this debate about who’s the better coach at home,” Wade said. “Here’s another fight I never win: My wife is the head coach. I’m the assistant coach. So she’s the boss at work, and the boss at home. I don’t ever get a break.”