Porter isn’t overlooking Berto, but admits Thurman is on his mind
It’s been almost a year since Shawn Porter pushed Keith Thurman to the brink and dropped a closely contested decision. Since then, he had to sit on the sidelines and witness Thurman land a high-profile fight with Danny Garcia and unify the WBA and WBC welterweight titles.
All Porter could do was watch and think about what could have been.
“I still think I beat Keith Thurman,” Porter (26-2, 16 knockouts) told RingTV.com as he prepares for this weekend’s showdown with Andre Berto. “When I go on a long run, my mind turns to the Thurman fight because that’s the one that got away from me. It’s hard for me to let it go so it definitely pops up in my head.”
Porter is in an interesting position considering that he’s lost narrow decisions to both Kell Brook and Keith Thurman. On any given night, either decision could have gone his way and he could be the champion. But, unfortunately, both performances weren’t enough to earn the official nod. So “Showtime” is now tasked with working his way back up the ladder and he’ll face fellow former beltholder Berto (31-4, 24 knockouts), who is looking to get his career back on track after scoring a resounding fourth-round TKO over Victor Ortiz in his last fight.
Although Porter is the favorite, he has to be weary of Berto’s explosiveness and plans to not take his opponent lightly when they meet in the main event at Barclays Center in New York.
“I think he’s aging but I still have to respect him for everything he has done,” Porter said. “But my speed, my intelligence working behind the jab will give him problems.”
Porter cites Berto’s questionable conditioning as something he can take advantage of and states under no uncertain terms that he will attack the Haitian-American’s body from the opening bell.
“When he gets past the fifth and sixth round, things fall apart for him,” Porter said.
He wouldn’t go as far as suggest that he’d put Berto away with a body shot. But that might be the respect that Porter holds for Berto.
“I’ve seen myself hurting him to the body but I haven’t been able to see myself stopping him. I’ve seen him going down but I can’t see him not getting back up. Maybe that’s too much respect for him but I’m going after him and taking it to his body.”
Porter’s father and trainer Kenny has stated that he’d love for his son to make a statement with a knockout, but he won’t be satisfied unless “Showtime” follows the gameplan to a tee on Saturday night.
“More than anything else, it’s about him doing the things we’ve practiced and worked on to get to this point,” the elder Porter said. “We’re never satisfied but I’d like to see him outbox and outpunch him and punish him. We do all these things we work on, then we punish him.”
And after Porter puts together a scintillating performance, the plan is to ask for the one that got away.
“We want to force the powers that be to put us in another title fight sooner than later,” Kenny Porter said. “We don’t want to wait another year to get a conversation going to fight a guy we should have already had a rematch against.”
The fighter echoes his father’s sentiments and agrees that this fight with Berto should put him in position for a rematch with Thurman. But he’s not asking for it, he’s going to demand it.
“The plan is to win the fight call out Keith Thurman because he has that WBC title and I don’t want him to take too long to accept,” Porter said. “It’s as simple as that. We want to be on TV, we want to be seen and our career to bloom and blossom. And Andre Berto is the first step to making that a reality.”