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Shawn Porter: My Life As The Challenger For The Welterweight Title

On Saturday night current WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman will defend his title against Shawn Porter live and in primetime on CBS at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT). In advance of one of the biggest bouts of their lives, Thurman and Porter are sharing their stories from a first-person perspective in CBS Local Sports’ ‘My Life As’ series.  

This is humongous. Even now I tell people that we’re gonna be on CBS and they’re like, ‘what?’ ‘You’re on regular TV?!’ I’m like, ‘Yes, boxing is back!’ This is my job, this is what I do and I plan on making a big, big noise June 25th and just continuing the legacies that everyone else has made in this sport. 

I think one thing you’ll learn from watching this fight if you don’t know me is you’re going to see my personality. You’ll see a more quiet, humble guy outside of the ring – a fun guy outside of the ring, even – and then you’ll see a more vicious, mean guy inside the ring. And I think the cool part about it is that it’s not something that I channel or I tell myself to do, it’s just something that happens. I think that’s what makes me a special competitor in the sport of boxing and I think it’s supposed to happen. 

I don’t think that a nice guy could be as good as I am or as successful as I am in the ring, so I’m looking forward to people seeing the uniqueness I possess on the inside as well as what shows up physically. 

I’m just excited to fight. This is what I do. The layoff hasn’t been as bad as it may have seemed and especially with being just a week away from it, it doesn’t even matter at this point. The only thing that matters is that I’m almost there and I’m almost ready and I’m looking forward to it. 

People have wondered if it’ll be strange fighting against someone I know so well, but it won’t be a problem. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve got a lot of respect from Keith Thurman and he has my respect as well, but once we get in the ring, we both have a goal, and that’s to win. And that’s above our friendship. Someone asked the question ‘are we going to be friends after?’ And the answer is ‘as long as he wants to be,’ yeah, we’ll be friends after. 

One of the things Keith does really well is he uses his feet and gets guys off balance. He throws a lot of punches that are kind of unorthodox and I think that’s tough. When you can do something that’s irregular or different that sets you apart from everyone else, that’s why he has been so successful. But I think I know and have what it takes to offset those things and be successful against him. 

 

Even though he likes to use his feet I’m very good at cutting off the ring and using my feet as well. So I would say the quickness that I possess along with the hand speed will be something that will work in my favor for this fight. 

Growing up between the ages of 10 and 11 I actually thought that I was going to play in the NFL and in the offseason I would be a professional boxer. I think a part of my boxing ability, especially the footspeed that you see is a combination of boxing skills but also having the quick feet from playing football to keep my feet and my legs moving as fast as they do. I would say the power as well. I lifted in high school so I would say that power comes into the boxing ring as well. 

I actually didn’t decide that I wanted to be a professional boxer for my career until I was 18. Up until then all of my idols came from football, too. I always looked up to Barry Sanders. I was a running back and I was short and quick and fast and powerful and so was he. I also really admired his demeanor. He was very humble, very quiet and I always just thought that was the way to be. 

But there was a guy in boxing, a great champion named Marvin Hagler, and I always looked up to him and admired his talent and what he was able to do in the ring. As far as boxing goes he was definitely the guy I wanted to be in the ring but not necessarily out of the ring. 

My first memory of boxing growing up is just being little. The summer i was four turning five was when I started boxing. I remember I used to wear blue hand wraps and they were long – too big for my hands – but I wrapped them myself the way my dad taught me. Just the basic stuff you learn as a youngster to be able to train and to fight, I remember all that. 

The relationship between me and my dad hasn’t changed much over the years. We’re kind of getting to a point now where I’m 28 and things are actually beginning to evolve, but up to this point, we’ve tried to keep a small circle. I’ve always tried to be the student and he’s always tried to remain the teacher and that’s not going to change, but there are a few other things that, as I get older, will start to change and we’ll evolve and grow from it and I’m looking forward to it. 

 

For example, I just purchased my own home. So moving out of his home and getting out from underneath his hand so to speak, it’ll just force us to evolve. The communication will get better, responsibility for both of us will grow and I’m looking forward to it. 

When my dad and I are successful and we’re clicking, it just feels so right. As you could see, with me being 26-1-1, that success is repetition. And even though it’s become repetition it’s always very special to have success. 

My best moment, my biggest success in boxing so far was winning my first world championship title and now I’m looking forward to doing it again in the same exact arena on June 25th. 

That’s why I think for our audience – you’re going to get everything that you want out of this fight. You’re gonna get excitement, you’re gonna get a winner and a loser. You’re going to see boxing at its best. Power at its best, speed at its best, quickness at its best. The things that you want when you look at boxing, you’re going to see that. 

But on the other hand, if you’re someone who doesn’t like boxing or you think it’s a vicious sport, you’re going to see a different side of boxing that you don’t normally see. You’re gonna see two friends go at it as enemies, but once we’re done we’re respectful of one another and we want the best for one another whatever the outcome is. This actually is a great boxing fight to be on network television because you’re going to get something out of it, whether that’s from a fans’ perspective, a sports perspective, or just someone who wants to see two other guys be successful. You’re going to get something out of this fight and that’s very special and that’s why they wanted us on CBS. 

Especially with Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks being the last fight on CBS. To restart that on June 25th is awesome to be a part of and I feel blessed. 

Tune in to CBS on Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) for the welterweight championship bout between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 

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