Q&A: Shawn Porter
On Saturday evening Shawn Porter will look to make the second successful defense of his IBF welterweight title when he meets his mandatory challenger and fellow unbeaten, Kell Brook.
Porter (25-0-1, 15 knockouts) acknowledges that while Brook doesn’t have the experience that Paulie Malignaggi or Devon Alexander had, the Brit may well be his toughest fight yet:
Anson Wainwright – What are your thoughts on facing Kell Brook?
Shawn Porter – Pure excitement as usual, almost ready. We’re in the two-week window. That for me is the most exciting time, for training and everything that comes along with the fight.
AW – When you break down Brook as a fighter, what do you see as his strengths and also areas you can exploit?
SP – As far as strength goes, I was watching him a little bit yesterday and he’s got good foot movement, he’s got good defense, he knows how to lean out the way of shots. Along with that comes creating openings to punch. Using that defense to create offense. I’m ready for it, though.
He doesn’t really fight too well on the inside, I think I can go there. Also I know he hasn’t been the distance too many times with tough competitors like myself so we’ll push him into the later rounds and see what happens.
AW – Do you think Brook may be your toughest opponent to date?
SP – I think so. I expected more out of Paulie (Malignaggi) and I didn’t get as much as I or my team prepared for. That fight went a little quicker than we obviously thought. Coming into the fight we thought he had tons of experience. I think if you base that question on experience it goes to Paulie hands down, he’s two-time world champion.
Again, with Devon (Alexander), I think I took him out of his rhythm and forced him to do things he didn’t want to do and I got a 12-round unanimous decision. I think before that Devon was a two-time world champion, too. So if you’re speaking in terms of experience – no.
Kell is the hardest or most challenging fighter I’ve had to face but if you just speak on talent, willingness to win and hungry I think Kell, having never won a championship before, being put in this position finally after waiting so long, I would say he’s the toughest opponent as far as that goes.
AW – You spoke on the telephone conference, what were you able to gauge from that?
SP – When we did that conference that was the first time I’d heard him speak direct to the media. I don’t watch the videos or anything like that so it was good to hear. He was respectful, he was tired, it was a little bit later on in the day [because he’s in the U.K.]. He seemed ready and that’s what you want. I’m getting in there with my mandatory challenger and I just want the public to know he’s ready. That way when he gets in there whatever happens happens and there’s no questions.
AW – In your last fight you were very impressive stopping Paulie Malignaggi in four rounds.
SP – I put that fight very simply. I watched it, it’s a fight I’ll never forget. He who hesitates and waits is lost and you can tell from the first round I had him puzzled. He questioned himself and hesitated and it went four rounds.
AW – To beat someone of Paulie’s stature like you did must have given you great confidence.
SP – It was great. Coming into the ring obviously we knew his statistics and we were ready for everything but the reaction from the fans, media and boxing – that was the best part of it. That does kind of give you reassurance that you’re on the right track with what we’re trying to do as a team, team Porter.
AW – Tell us about your training camp to date.
SP – We based our camp in (Las) Vegas, we’ve been going two months. We’ve sparred with everyone from Ismayl Sillakh – he’s a light heavyweight contender – all the way down to Emmanuel Taylor, who just beat Karim Mayfield I believe on ESPN. I also sparred with Roberto Garcia, who recently fought on “ESPN Friday Night fights” as well. Everything is going great, we came out to San Francisco to do some hypoxia training, that went great. I would say everything is on point and where it needs to be at this stage of camp.
AW – What is hypoxia training?
SP – It’s hypoxia oxygen training. Basically what it does, it takes you above sea level then it brings you back down to sea level and it helps you recover and it also helps you with building up your stamina, heart rate and that kind of stuff.
AW – The welterweight division seems pretty stacked at the moment.
SP – I love it, this is why I moved down to 147. I’m glad it turned out the way it’s turning out. It was a big move from me to go from 154 to 147 and I was told this is where my future would be and it’s working out great so far. A lot of exciting fights at that weight. Right after this fight we’ll figure who the next one is.
Honestly everyone in the top 10, which I think is rare I think for every other weight class, are all literally great fighters, they have great skills, great talent and we all have great heart for this sport. I think what people are used to with the heavyweight division, boxing has moved to the welterweight division and there’s nothing but exciting fights down there.
AW – Back in May, I know you were at the Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight and he was given all he could handle by Marcos Maidana. When they meet again in September, what are your thoughts on the rematch?
SP – I think it’s gonna be a great fight. I think we’ll see Floyd make his adjustments, I think he’ll handle Maidana like we thought he would in the first one. I thought he would somewhat dominate Maidana. Maidana proved that he’s no pushover and he’s strong and he’s gonna fight like that. I think Floyd definitely still has a big fight ahead of him but I think he’s gonna be more prepared for this one.
AW – You achieved a lifelong goal in becoming world champion, what is your next goal?
SP – I think the next goal at this point it to capture another title and continue to make my mark in boxing and that way when I leave it everyone knows I was trying to do the best I could for the sport.
AW – You live in Las Vegas now, how is life in the boxing capital?
SP – I love it, all I do is train, train, train. When I’m not training I’m either relaxing or I’m at the movies. It’s perfect for what I do and perfect for the lifestyle that I like to live. I’m a very active person, so I get all my training in during the day. I’m a very cool, calm and relaxed person so the movies, or just at home watching TV or something like that. Las Vegas is perfect for me.
AW – Your good friend Demetrius Andrade beat Britain’s Brian Rose so I guess you’re looking to complete the double for America?
SP – When I was at the fight I kinda felt like BooBoo set the bar and my fight needs to be seven or less (laughs).
AW – In closing do you have anything you’d like to say to Kell Brook?
SP – Nothing I want to say to Kell Brook, he knows what’s gonna happen when he comes over here. He knows he’s getting in the ring with a good fighter, someone who’s very skilled and has heart and we’ll be prepared so I guess if I do have a message: I’m expecting the same. Don’t let me down.
The Showtime broadcast begins at 9 PM ET/6 PM/PT from StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Along with Porter-Brook, the tripleheader also includes the rematch between WBC super middleweight titleholder Sakio Bika and Anthony Dirrell, and WBC lightweight ruler Omar Figueroa faces mandatory challenger Daniel Estrada.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright