Father knows best
The last time former IBF welterweight titlist Shawn Porter faced live competition in the ring was June 25 of last year, when he dropped a close decision to current WBA/WBC welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Now, 10 months later, he is slated to take on Andre Berto in the same building this Saturday night on Showtime.
The Thurman bout was his only outing in 2016.
When asked if ring rust was a concern for his son coming into the Berto fight, Kenny Porter went all Rakim: “Been a long time, shouldn’t have left you without a dope beat to step to…” After a short chuckle, he added, “No, you know what? There is not a concern. I will admit that it was harder getting him in the groove of this camp for this fight than any fight previously before this one.
“A big part of that reason is that Andre Berto was reluctant to take the fight. So I felt that Shawn really felt like it really wasn’t going to happen because we had been at this for some time, for over six months.”
So why was a fighter in his prime (Porter is 29 years old) coming off a high-profile fight, broadcast on CBS, shelved? Especially one whom made it clear he would like to be more active?
“That has been something that Shawn and I have discussed on more than one occasion and the people that are in position to make sure that change have assured us that it’s going to change but that remains to be seen but we’re just going to take it one fight at a time, obviously, because that’s what we’ve been getting. But, after this one, we expect to be able to sit down and discuss what’s going on in the next fight here,” said Porter, whose son is like basically every other Premier Boxing Champions-affiliated fighter bogged down by inactivity.
2013 was the last time Porter, 26-2-1 (16), had more than two fights in a calendar year. This is something that has plagued just about every world-class prizefighter across the board this generation. The powers-that-be need to figure out a way to allow boxers, who want to ply their trade more often, the opportunity to do just that. Primes are being wasted away on the sidelines. “It’s something we have to discuss; we hope to change that,” said Kenny, whose son was relegated to sparring sessions streamed on Facebook Live last year.
(In terms of ring rust, Berto has actually been less active than Porter, having fought just once a year in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016, and has currently been inactive for nearly a year.)
After last year’s heated encounter with Thurman, the elder Porter spoke of a rematch but, according to him, “I knew (Thurman) wanted no part of the rematch when they sent a no-rematch clause before the fight. So that was something that was brought to us fight week and, so yeah, he had no interest.”
If they come out victorious this weekend against Berto, 31-4 (24), they could be in line to face “One Time” again.
”We’re in a (WBC) title eliminator but the guy (Thurman) has two titles and I’ve been told or have heard, at least once or twice, that he’s got a mandatory with the WBA for (“regular” titlist) Lamont Peterson,” said Porter of Thurman, who unified the belts in early March by defeating Danny Garcia. “I need to know what the proper protocol is. How long do we have to wait? How long does the other mandatory have to wait before there’s some kind of movement?”
At this moment, the Porters can only focus on their own career path. If they should get past Berto, they will fight again in 2017, right?
“We’ve got to get another fight this year. We have to get one more before the year is out,” insisted the elder Porter. “And the chances of that – looking at the past record – don’t look good. But again, like I said, I have received assurances that something else is waiting for us. Obviously it’s contingent on us being successful in the Berto fight. We’re not looking past him. We have to get another fight this year.”
OK, any chance of getting two more fights in 2017?
Porter, ever the realist, says, “I think that’s asking for a lot but I think we have to ask for two more but at least one.”
When you ask Porter (who trains his son) if boxers can only really improve by performing often, and if Shawn has not had the opportunity to do just that, he answered succinctly, “Yes, I agree with that and yes, I agree with that.”
This honesty makes Kenny Porter stick out like a sore thumb compared to most others associated with the PBC and Al Haymon. Some are reluctant – or downright afraid – to speak out, for whatever reason. Mr. Porter is no puppet but could it be that not marching in lockstep with the others and not keeping quiet have been held against him and his son?
“I don’t think so,” he stated, explaining, “because I don’t think that I’ve said anything that wasn’t truthful. So me and the truth don’t have a problem. We get along very well. A lot of people don’t want to hear the truth but I throw it like a brick and it hits you upside the head and you may not like it. Who wants to get hit with that? But it’s been the truth, so truthfully speaking is the only way I can go with this. Especially when we’re talking about a sport that’s not like any of the other sports.
“It’s not the NFL, NBA, baseball, hockey; it’s like the stepchild. So y’ know, usually the stepchild has got to do more, so the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the oil and I’m going to have to make some noise.”
It was announced on Monday that Showtime will provide live coverage of next week’s heavyweight title fight between IBF beltholder Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko from Wembley Stadium in England. (HBO will have the same-day tape delay broadcast later that evening).
Showtime also announced its next bushelful of boxing broadcasts heading into the summer:
Saturday, April 22 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
Presented by Premier Boxing Champions
Main Event: Andre Berto (31-4, 24 KOs) vs. Shawn Porter (26-2, 16 KOs) – WBC Welterweight World Title Eliminator
Co-Feature: Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs) vs. Charles Hatley (26-1-1, 18 KOs) – WBC Super Welterweight World Championship
SHOX: Amanda Serrano (31-1-1, 23 KOs) vs. Dahiana Santana (35-8, 14 KO’s) – 10-Rd. WBO Bantamweight World Championship
Start Time: 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT (SHO Boxing on SHO EXTREME, 7:30p ET/PT)
Venue: Brooklyn’s Barclays Center
Notes: · The winner of Berto-Porter becomes the WBC mandatory challenger to Unified World Champion Keith Thurman.
· Berto-Porter is the fourth welterweight world title/title eliminator fight televised on SHOWTIME/CBS in the last 10 months.
· Charlo-Hatley is the eighth world title/title eliminator in the 154-pound division on SHOWTIME/CBS in the last 13 months
· Serrano attempts to become the first woman to win world titles in five different weight classes
Saturday, April 29 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
Main Event: Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) vs. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) – IBF and vacant (Super) WBA Heavyweight World Championship
Start Time: 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT, live on SHOWTIME
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Notes: · Most significant heavyweight world title fight in 15 years—since Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson in June, 2002
· Officially sold out more than 90,000 tickets; set to smash the attendance record at Wembley and join the ranks of the biggest events in boxing history
Saturday, May 20 – SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL
Main Event: Gervonta Davis (17-0, 16 KOs) vs. Liam Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs) – IBF Super Featherweight World Championship
Start Time: TBD, live from London
Venue: Copper Box Arena in London, England
Notes: · Matchup of undefeated fighters. Champion vs. No. 1-ranked contender
· Davis is the youngest reigning American titlist and second youngest in the world (Kosei Tanaka)
Saturday, May 20 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
Main Event: Gary Russell Jr. (21-1, 16 KOs) vs. Oscar Escandon (25-2, 17 KOs) – WBC Featherweight World Championship
Co-Features: Andre Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) vs. José Uzcátegui (26-1, 22 KOs) – IBF Super Middleweight Interim World Championship
Rances Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KOs) vs. Kiryl Relikh (21-1, 19 KOs) – WBA Super Lightweight Eliminator
Start Time: TBD
Venue: MGM National Harbor in Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area
Notes: · Sixth featherweight title fight on SHOWTIME since Feb. 2016, and second this year.
· The winner of Dirrell-Uzcátegui becomes the mandatory for IBF Super Middleweight World Champion James DeGale
· The winner of Barthelemy-Relikh becomes the mandatory challenger to WBA Super Lightweight Champion Ricky Burns
Saturday, May 27 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
Main Event: Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) vs. Errol Spence Jr. (21-0, 19 KOs) – IBF Welterweight World Championship
Start Time: TBD, live from England
Venue: Bramall Lane Football Ground in Sheffield, England
Notes: · World Champion vs. IBF No. 1-ranked contender
· No. 3-ranked vs. No. 5-ranked welterweights (via Transnational Boxing Rankings)
· Six of the consensus top-10 welterweights in the world featured on SHOWTIME/CBS events in the first half of 2017
Saturday, June 3 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
Presented by Premier Boxing Champions
Main Event: Adonis Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) vs. Andrzej Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs) II – WBC Light Heavyweight World Championship
Co-Main: Eleider Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs) vs. Jean Pascal (31-4-1, 18 KOs) – WBC Silver Light Heavyweight Title
Start Time: TBD
Notes: · Stevenson-Fonfara II is a rematch of 2014 all-action championship bout in which both fighters scored knockdowns
Friday, June 9 – ShoBox: The New Generation (Hall of Fame Induction Weekend)
Main Event: Joel Diaz Jr. (23-0, 19 KOs) vs. Abel Ramos (17-2-2, 12 KOs) – 10 Round Super Lightweight Bout
Start Time: 10 p.m. ET/PT
Venue: Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y.
Notes: · International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend
· The lead announce team for ShoBox, legendary sportscaster Barry Tompkins and boxing historian Steve Farhood, to be inducted to the Hall in nearby Canastota, NY.
They will also air the upcoming bouts of Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia (and word is the latter will return on July 22 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California). Showtime has had a very good 2017 campaign.
So just what song of Eric B and Rakim quoting earlier? Well, here ya go:
When is Artur Beterbiev fighting again?…“Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” returns this Thursday night with Michael Perez-Marcelino Lopez and Rashidi Ellis-John Karl Sosa…I’m told the IBF purse bid for its 140-pound title bout between Julius Indongo and mandatory challenger Sergey Lipinets is April 27…Soooo, was Carmelo Anthony playing the “Love Triangle Offense”?… NBC’s “Shades of Blue” has been great in Season Two. Did you see Jennifer Lopez on the heavy bag the last episode? She looked pretty good – and I meant her boxing technique, you savages!…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.