Kenny and Shawn Porter sound off
Last year, Shawn Porter and his father/trainer Kenny made it clear that, after stoppping Andre Berto, last April in a WBC welterweight title elimination bout, and defeating Adrian Granados to end the year, they were going to wait for their long-awaited rematch against WBA/WBC champion Keith Thurman, who had narrowly defeated Porter in the summer of 2016.
But with Thurman – who had been sidelined since decisioning Danny Garcia, in March of last year, and had to drop out of his scheduled return to the ring on May 19 – those plans are now scuttled and Porter is unsure about his next move. This much is clear: He isn’t happy about the latest injury to affect Thurmnan’s career.
“I try to give everybody that benefit of the doubt but that generosity is wearing off,” said Porter, last week, who joined a phone call with his father with UCNLive.com. “It’s just interesting to see someone of (Thurman’s) status doing the things that he’s doing. Not fighting, coming up with ‘X’ amount of injuries, needing ‘X’ amount of time to prepare for another fight and, even on top of that, not even preparing to fight someone you should be fighting.
“He hasn’t had a fight because he can’t find anybody that is easy enough for him and I think that’s more of the reason why he’s not fighting, than the fact that he’s had multiple injuries now.”
Word around the industry is the real ailment that afflicted Thurman is he could not come to an appropriate financial agreement with Al Haymon (who really controls the purse strings) on a suitable tune-up bout.
Last February at the Mandalay Bay, in Las Vegas, during the Garcia-Brandon Rios fight weekend, various Premier Boxing Champions fighters were brought in to talk to the media. During this time, Porter and Thurman had a rather heated back-and-forth in front of the press.
Porter believes Thurman was more bark than bite.
“I know for a fact he was there for a show because I watched him. I listened to him speak,” explained Porter, the former IBF welterweight beltholder. “A lot of jokes, a lot of beating around the bush and the worst part about Keith is he can’t answer the question directly or he doesn’t answer the questions at all and you and I both know that sometimes when you don’t answer a question, that’s just as bad as an answer. So I think he was there completely for the show. I actually, at one point, just got tired of it and I approached him and I’m sure I asked him a lot of the same questions a lot of the media asked him but you can’t give a fighter the same answer you give the media.
“And the same reason, you can’t give the manager the same answer you give the media or vice-versa. We talk a different language, when we speak to the media, when we speak to opposing athletes, so he had to get on my level. I was fired up and fired him up and got some answers out of him. He tells me he doesn’t want to fight me until the end of the year and he tells me he’s not going to fight anyone in May that has a name. You and I both now there aren’t too many of those guys out there right now in the welterweight division. So I think, at this point, he’s thinking, ‘If I’m feeling anything – I’m bailing out.'”
Porter’s most recent outing came in early November and, with the calendar now turned to April (and with nothing currently scheduled), is Porter getting antsy? He stated, “It’s at the point now, with Keith, after we had the fight with Adrian Granados, we decided we’re going to wait on Keith, as long as it takes. It doesn’t matter but we didn’t anticipate this happening. Instead of getting antsy, I’m going to remain patient but definitely try to put my foot on the gas pedal and find something else.”
What the senior Porter wants immediately are some answers from the WBC, as to why his son, after defeating Berto last year to earn a mandatory shot at Thurman, is now ranked behind Garcia.
It’s a legitimate question. If you look at the recent history of the two boxers, you’ll see that, while in his last four bouts going back to 2016, Garcia defeated Robert Guerrero (UD 12) and Samuel Vargas (TKO 7), lost a 12-round decision to Keith Thurman last March and then finally returned this February against the faded Rios, halting him in nine. Meanwhile, since 2015, Porter has defeated Adrien Broner UD 12), lost to Thurman, halted Berto in nine and then decisioned Granados (UD 12).
The Granados bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was for the WBC interim silver title, which he has at his house. Porter notes, “I just got put the medal in the plaque.”
“(Shawn) just won that belt but the (recognized WBC title is) vacant? I need some answers to that because I deserve answers because (Shawn) paid a sanctioning fee – both times, he paid a sanctioning fee,”said the father. But this problem over who’s really number one or two can be rectified very simply, according to him – have Porter and Garcia fight for the vacant title, while “Once Upon a Time” Thurman is sidelined. It’s something they wanted last year.
Kenny says, “Danny Garcia walks around claiming that he has no clue that we want to fight him, which is no way possible that you wouldn’t have a clue we wouldn’t want to fight you. I mean, it’s just human nature, two kids in a playground, other kids in the playground, ‘Hey man, that kid said something about you.’ It’s a fight. That’s just how fights get started.
“So when he heard Shawn say the WBC has said Shawn Porter should fight Danny Garcia and Shawn said, ‘Let’s get it on,’ (Garcia) knew exactly what that meant. He knew exactly what that meant and, then when Shawn stepped into that ring with him after his fight against Brandon Rios, his answer was, ‘Oh, we can spar.’ So what you’re telling me, Danny Garcia, is: you don’t want to take this fight with Shawn Porter. Now Thurman is out for another extended period of time and I want to know why the WBC chose to drop Shawn to number two?”
Regardless, most everyone believes it’s time for Thurman to…for the lack of a better term, piss or get off the pot.
“It’s time; it’s time…You can’t be champion with two different belts and not defend either belt for over a year now and you consider yourself a champion and consider yourself to be the guy who still should hold onto that belt, if you’re not active,” said Porter, who, like many other boxers, just wants his shot.
But maybe this is more about WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman and WBA President Gilberto Mendoza Jr. doing their jobs and enforcing their own rules. “With that being said, it’s time for that belt to move and it’s time to move to my house,” said Porter, who is now 30 years old. He’s still in his physical prime but nothing is forever – and he realizes this.
“I think that’s the number one reason, at the Brandon Rios-Danny Garcia fight, why I kind of took it upon myself to say and do the things that I did because I feel this game is leaving me behind and, in order for me to catch up and exceed the expectations of myself, my team, my dad, my family – my list goes on from there – the only way I do that is speaking up, saying what I want and I don’t want it to become too later.
“I don’t think it is. I’m still in my prime. I’m still feeling good about life and so it’s up to me now to make the right decisions, the right moves and make it happen.”
Showtime announced on Tuesday that it will stream the April 21 bout between featherweights Carl Frampton and Nonito Donaire and the May 19 clash between IBF 126-pound titlist Lee Selby and his mandatory challenger Josh Warrington on its social media platforms…Speaking of featherweights WBC beltholder Gary Russell Jr. will face his mandatory challenger Joseph Diaz Jr. on May 19 on Showtime…Still no resolution to the May 5 situation with unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, although it looks like that event will now land at the StubHub Center in Carson, California…Gabe Montoya has moved on from “The Next Round,” so, for the time being, TNR is on hiatus…Heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr. says he’s returning on May 26, in Las Vegas, on a Top Rank card…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.