*Shawn Porter just might be the last man standing in the welterweight division.
The two-time champion has displayed an unrivaled resiliency at 147 pounds, repeatedly bouncing back from defeat against A-list rivals and being involved in premier fights.
Porter, aka “Showtime” (31–3–1, 17 KOs), has overcome losses to former and current champions Kell Brook (2014), Keith Thurman (2016) and southpaw Errol Spence (2019) and is now being considered for the division’s premier clash: a bout with switch-hitting, three-division and WBO 147-pound champion Terence Crawford (37–0, 28 KOs) pending a Sept. 14 purse bid or a deal reached in ongoing negotiations between Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions representing Porter and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum on behalf of Crawford.
Arum confirmed to Zenger that an announcement is expected this week that Crawford-Porter could happen on Nov. 20 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.
“If we’re able to put it together, the Mandalay Bay is where it will be, and that’s the correct date. It’s correct that we’re talking to both sides, and we’re making progress,” said Arum. “We hope to conclude a deal sometime early next week, in which case we’ll be able to announce it at the end of the week. If a deal is reached, that is the venue and the date that we want.”
Crawford has said he’s “been looking for a challenge for years,” and Porter is happy to oblige.
“The best thing about me is I’m constantly fighting and beating the top guys in the division,” said Porter, 33. “My mindset is to stay healthy, continue getting into the ring with the best guys in the world and putting on the best performances. Right now, in terms of the caliber of the opponent and timing, Terence Crawford is the pinnacle. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
“At one point in time it was Errol Spence, and, obviously, we know how our fight played out. But due to [Spence’s] injuries sustained in the [car] accident and his eye [injury], that decreases the intensity of what could happen in a rematch between us. If you’re talking about everyone who is considered to be the No. 1 guy at welterweight, there are things I’ve displayed consistently that translate into me being that No. 1 guy.”
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A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Porter is 7–2 (two knockouts) since facing Brook, having earned, and lost, the WBC’s 147-pound title. He is 10–3 with three knockouts over his past 13 fights, with seven of those victories coming against current or former champions.
“When we first signed with [Al Haymon] way back in 2010, the conversation was made very plainly to us that, ‘As long as Shawn is healthy, and you guys want to fight, we’ll get him into the ring,’” said Porter.
“When it comes to resiliency and staying power, there is no one in the division better than I am. My whole thing has always been that ‘until I’m done with this, I’m going to get the most out of it.’ My saying is to ‘Ride until the wheels fall off.’ I don’t feel as if my wheels are anywhere close to falling off.”
Porter’s run includes a split-decision victory over current WBA titleholder Yordenis Ugas and unanimous decisions over former two-division champions Devon Alexander and Danny Garcia, four-division title winner Adrien Broner and former champion Julio Diaz. Porter has also knocked out two-division champion Paulie Malignaggi and two-time champ Andre Berto.
“As my dad says, boxing is about ‘What have you done for me lately?’ When I look across the board at the division, I do feel that I’m the No. 1 welterweight in the world. I defend and support that with the [substance] of my resume and the guys I have faced,” said Porter, who is trained by his father, Kenny.
“One of my best friends from childhood said to me the other day, ‘I’m tired of seeing you fight the best guys every fight.’ But I’m in it to dazzle the crowd and to make the most money I can make, and that means fighting the best guys out there. I’ve never been like everybody else, and I don’t intend to start now.”
It was considered an upset and a disappointing effort by Porter in August 2014 when England’s Brook dethroned a 26-year-old “Showtime” as IBF champion by majority decision.
In a pre-fight poll by RingTV.com, all 21 boxing insiders had picked Brook to lose to Porter, who was 24–0–1 (15 KOs) at the time and was coming off that April’s fourth-round stoppage of Malignaggi, which followed his December 2013 unanimous decision over southpaw Alexander for the title.
Brook (who had a 32–0 record with 22 KOs and was 28 at the time of the fight) was an underdog making only his second appearance on American soil, having debuted in Atlantic City with a fifth-round stoppage of Luis Galarza in 2011.
Brook was seeking his fifth consecutive stoppage, his previous three victories coming in the eighth round over Carson Jones in July 2013, and, in 2014, in the fourth round over former titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko in October and in the eighth round over Alvaro Robles in March.
The loss to Brook was a relative embarrassment for Porter, yet he rebounded in 2015 with a fifth-round non-title knockout of Erik Bone in March and his victory that June over Broner, who floored Porter in the 12th.
After falling to then-unbeaten Thurman (26–0, 22 KOs) via a “Fight of The Year Caliber” unanimous decision in June 2016, Porter scored a three-knockdown, ninth-round TKO of Berto (April 2017), a unanimous decision over Adrian Granados (November 2017) and defeated Garcia (September 2018).
Over his last 13 fights, Porter is 1–1 in bouts ending by split decision, having defended his WBC crown that way against Ugas in March 2019 before losing it that September to the unbeaten Spence, who scored an 11th-round knockdown while adding Porter’s crown to the IBF version he already owned.
But Porter is on the winning trek yet again, coming off a shutout unanimous decision over Germany’s Sebastian Formella, who entered at 22–0 (10 KOs) in August 2020.
“If you look over the resume, fight by fight, you will see that I’m able to consistently do different things in the ring to bounce back from defeat,” said Porter.
“There is no one in the division who has the type of versatility I bring into the ring in terms of speed, power, strength, conditioning and athleticism as an entire package. I’m the only person in the welterweight division who has that combination.”
Brook has been knocked out three times, being TKO’d by Gennady Golovkin in September 2016, dethroned by Spence in the 11th round in May 2017 and halted in the fourth by Crawford in November 2020.
Thurman defeated Garcia by decision for the latter’s first loss in March 2017 before earning a majority decision over Josesito Lopez in January 2019. But “One Time” has been out of action since July 2019, when he was dethroned by a split-decision loss to eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao lost last month’s unanimous decision to Ugas, a late replacement for Spence, who suffered an eye injury. Pacquiao represented Ugas’ fourth opponent since the Cuban boxer lost to Porter.
In December 2020, Spence scored a one-sided unanimous decision over Garcia in defense of his IBF and WBC belts, returning from a horrific car accident 14 months earlier.
But among all the aforementioned fighters, it is Porter who is, once again, being considered for the division’s premier fight against Crawford.
“In a fight between Terence Crawford and I, nobody’s ever seen him in the ring against someone at my level,” said Porter.
“Looking around the division, at this moment right now, in 2021, you won’t find anyone who is close. So, for me, I think Terence Crawford is the pinnacle.”
Edited by Stan Chrapowicki and Kristen Butler
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