Undefeated IBF Welterweight World Champion Shawn "ShowTime" Porter (24-0-1) didn’t flinch during a reporter’s roundtable when discussing being from the same town as the greatest active basketball player in the world.
Porter was attending the non-title fight featuring Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara during the same week another Akron native had announced that he was returning home.
“I still wasn’t believing it at first when they said he was coming back home. I kept saying is it true---is it true? But it’s great for the city because it means we got another hero back home,” said Porter.
The big hero is Lebron James of course, but Porter is obviously considering himself to be a hero of Akron, Ohio, and continues to establish his own legacy in a sport dominated by Floyd Mayweather.
Porter will defend his 147-pound crown against Britain's Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) in the main event of a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader Saturday, Aug. 16, live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from the storied StubHub Center in Carson.
Being in the shadow is nothing new to Porter who was the sparring partner for superstar Manny Pacquaio before he began mowing through the talented welterweight division.
A former amateur standout with a 276-14 record, Porter always had the pedigree to become a champion, but few thought it would be in the welterweight division.
His first 13 bouts as a pro were in the middleweight division and he actually captured the NABO middleweight crown in 2010.
The natural transition is to go up in weight and not down and very few have enjoyed success in doing so, but few fighters are like Shawn Porter.
He was a former football star in Akron at Stow-Munroe Fall High School. He had scholarship offers to continue in football, but ultimately decided he didn’t need 10 other guys to help him be offensive.
It turned out to be a wise choice that was carefully guided by his father and mentor Kenneth Porter.
This is one father-son tandem in the sport of boxing that cannot be broken or divided like some of the others have, although randomly they sort themselves out.
"I stay hungry because I know the feeling. I know what it takes to get to this position; I know the struggle along the way. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment,” Porter said during a media workout last week in Carson.
"I'm not concerned about Kell Brook. People were asking me about his power, and I don't have much to say about that other than that I haven't seen anything on film that makes him different from anybody else,” he explained.
"I believe that Brook will feel the added pressure in this being his first title fight. I handled it great. I welcomed it and loved it going into my first title fight. I'm not sure if he has the same personality to handle the extra pressure. I do know there will be a big crowd out there and I can't wait. The West Coast is hot and the crowd gets loud. I'm ready.”
Porter took the IBF welterweight title from Devin Alexander and then successfully defended it in a stunning fourth round KO against veteran Paulie Malignaggi to retain the title. Malignaggi has not returned to the ring since the beat down.
"This fight will be pure entertainment for the crowd, and I love to entertain the crowd and my fans. I have played this fight in my head thousands of different times from going the distance to me knocking him out with one punch.”
"I don't know if he is the toughest opponent I've faced yet. His record (32-0) would say that he is, but if you take a look at the caliber of fighters that I've fought before him, I think the other guys are more challenging fighters, especially Devon Alexander, who has an awkward and complicated style. Not to call Kell Brook plain, but he has a more up-and-down style that will be easier to deal with.”
"I've watched about six different fights on Brook, all the way back to as early as I could,” he said.
"There is no added pressure for me to win. The easy part is to make the adjustments and doing what I do. There is no added pressure. The fights in the past are in the past. For me it's on to bigger and better things so this fight has to be bigger and better. We had an excellent training camp and I am in the best shape of my life. With that being said, I believe this fight will be more spectacular."
Kell Brook is also undefeated and is looking forward to the challenge.
"It's been a long time coming for me, fighting for this world title, with all the postponements before. But this is the start for me, fighting at the elite level in America. People always have an opinion; I just want to compete with the best fighters in the world. I'm a fighter. I was born to compete,” Brook said.
"I think about fighting in somebody else's backyard. It goes through my mind, of course. Many things go through my mind. But it's boxing and there's nothing I can do. It's the way the situation is. I've traveled a long way to challenge for the world title, but I'm prepared for everything and anything,” he said.
"Me beating Porter and winning a world title opens up all of the doors and opportunities. I think a fight with Amir Khan would be huge. Everybody would grab on to that fight.”
Shawn’s father and trainer, Kenneth is prepared on all fronts.
"When you get to this level it's necessary to have everything that he needs in one facility so that he doesn't have to travel or worry about weather or be concerned that he has to go into a different city to train. We want to control all aspects of the environment where we train. There are certain types of bags that he likes that other people don't. We want to make sure that he is completely comfortable,” Kenneth said.
"There are not many welterweights that stay within 12 pounds of their weight like Shawn does, and he has stayed at that weight year-round for two years now. He is very disciplined because this is his lifestyle. He doesn't go on a diet; this is the way he lives. He doesn't go to camp; this is the weight he is at year-round until he is done with boxing.”
"[Julio] Diaz was a two-time world champion, Devon [Alexander] was a two-time world champion, Paulie [Malignaggi] was a two-time world champion in different weight classes. Brook doesn't have the resume of those guys. Not that Shawn made it look easy against those guys, but he pretty much dominated those fights. This is another level stepping up for Brook and he has to climb up to us. Once he tries to get up to us, Shawn will kick him right back down, that's just what he does."
Porter vs. Brook is a 12-round fight for Porter's IBF Welterweight World Championship promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. In the co-main event, the WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Sakio Bika defends his belt in a rematch against Anthony Dirrell, and in the televised opener, Omar Figueroa defends his WBC Lightweight World Championship against Daniel Estrada.
Tickets priced at $150, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes, fees and service charges are on sale now and are available online at AXS.com, by phone at 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849) and at StubHub Center Box Office (Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. PT to 6 p.m. PT). VIP Suites are available by calling 877-604-8777. For more information on group discounts or VIP packages, please call 877-234-8425.
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