When it comes time to shed final pounds, Porter relies on a higher power

It’s hardly surprising that making weight has never been a problem for Shawn Porter, who is as dedicated and disciplined in training as any fighter in the game. But the former 147-pound champ insists there’s more to it than hard work in the gym.

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“When I need rest and energy for the fight, I often read the Bible, pray and let the words and my positive thoughts ease my mind,” says Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs). “There are a few things the Bible says that help me: ‘Patience, rest and hand over your problems to Me … My words will feed you.’

“I’m paraphrasing, of course. But without working, the weight just kind of falls off. I wake up rested, filled with [God’s] spirit and on weight for the fight.”

In his last bout, Porter—who weighed a career-high 165½ pounds in his pro debut nearly eight years ago—matched his career low when he agreed to challenge four-division champ Adrien Broner at a catchweight of 144 pounds.

Despite weighing 157 pounds the day the match was announced, Porter hit the contracted number when he stepped on the scale, then went out the next night and imposed his will against Broner, winning a 12-round unanimous decision.

“Shawn was more focused to make weight against Broner, but he doesn’t do what most fighters do when they’re cutting weight, which is get in a sweat box, run and spit,” says Porter’s father and trainer, Kenny. “Shawn prays and fasts over the last 24 hours before a fight.

“His mind takes over his body, and he believes that his faith and heart take the weight off. That hasn’t failed him yet.”

Kenny Porter says his son will be on point again Friday when he takes the scale in advance of Saturday’s clash with 147-pound champion Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York (CBS, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

“Shawn stays within 12 to 15 pounds of his fight weight year-round, so we’re never coming down from some crazy weight,” Kenny says. “We’ve been within 10 pounds of 147 for this next fight with Keith Thurman for about four weeks.”

Shawn Porter

Despite fighting at a career-low 144 pounds, Shawn Porter had no problem making weight prior to his dominating victory over Adrien Broner last June. (Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing Champions)

Shawn doesn’t do what most fighters do when they’re cutting weight. ... His mind takes over his body, and he believes that his faith and heart take the weight off. That hasn’t failed him yet. Kenny Porter, father and trainer of 147-pound contender Shawn Porter

The long-awaited showdown of longtime friends will end a yearlong layoff for Porter, who has been idle since defeating Broner on June 20, 2015. In that otherwise dominating victory, Porter had to survive a flash knockdown that occurred early in the final round.

The shot that dropped Porter was perfectly placed, but Kenny Porter believes the knockdown was more a result of his son’s strength being sapped by fighting at a lower weight than usual.

“Maybe the weight loss took away from his strength to withstand that 12th-round punch from Broner, but Shawn’s been stronger throughout this camp,” Kenny Porter says. “We’ve got numerous sparring partners, and he’s looked strong with no fatigue against anyone.

“I expect Shawn to be stronger than ever for Keith Thurman.”

Porter has been training off and on for Thurman since late last year, when the two were first expected to square off. In January, the highly anticipated match was announced for March 12. Then Thurman was hurt in a car accident in his native Florida, suffering injuries to his neck and back that forced the fight’s postponement.

Whereas the delays might have frustrated a lot of fighters, the easygoing Porter took things in stride and stayed true to his training regimen.

“I used my time wisely, taking a little bit of time off here and there to enjoy life, but mostly doing what I’ve been doing for the last two or three years now, which is focusing on my opponent,” Porter says. “Keith’s injury gave me enough time to reflect, visualize and focus on Keith and what he has to bring to the ring.

“It’s been a little while since I’ve fought, but I don’t believe in ring rust. I believe that I’ll come out there 100 percent on every level, in full force and ready to take that belt.”

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