Call IBF welterweight titlist Shawn Porter the unluckiest lucky fighter in the world. Undefeated at 23-0 the 26-year-old has traveled the world, sparred with some of the best fighters on the planet and he has a very bright future. Problem is, Porter plies his trade in the same 147-pound weight class as Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Manny Pacquiao and Marcos Maidana who are also belt-holders. Fights against that triumvirate don’t look to happen anytime soon.
As a result, Porter is taking the next best thing and that’s a meeting with former titlist Paulie Malignaggi this Saturday night in Washington, D.C. It’s Porter’s first defense of the belt he won in December and also a chance to make some noise in a weight division topped by the two biggest names in the sport in Mayweather and Pacquiao.
Undeterred by his plight, Porter said Sunday “I think people are starting to realize exactly what I have as a fighter. It’s a little bit more than you can really prepare for. When you prepare to fight Shawn Porter you’re preparing for a twelve-round bout and not only that, but a twelve-round chess match as well. There are not very many fighters out there that possess the speed and power that I have, the quickness, the skills and boxing knowledge that I have. I’ve been doing this my entire life.”
A promotional free agent, a win over Malignaggi keeps Porter in the enviable position of being able to appear on either the HBO or Showtime networks. It allows him the flexibility to pursue or accept future bouts against virtually anyone no matter their affiliation. “It’s just me and my Dad (Kenny) doing our business and that’s it,” says Porter. “We want to box around, wherever the fights are and whoever they are against, we’ll be ready.”
The Malignaggi fight will likely not be an easy one as the “Magic Man” who originally hails from Brooklyn, New York is not an “easy out” for anybody. Malignaggi is a consummate pro with excellent boxing skills who has faced and defeated some of the best fighters in the 140 and 147-pound divisions. Malignaggi is fresh off a big win over Zab Judah, but it is Porter who is a 2 ½ - 1 betting favorite at this point.
Porter is confident heading into his first title defense. “This was the best training camp we’ve ever had. We had fun, we worked extremely hard and we’re very healthy,” he said. “There’s a lot to be done at ’47 with title holders and those that were title holders. “
Certainly if Porter makes it by Malignaggi Saturday night those opponents will present themselves. Porter is well-spoken and is a fresh face. As Mayweather and Pacquiao age and transition onto other endeavors outside of boxing it is a marketable fighter such as Porter that will look to take their place. He knows, however, that he must make it by Malignaggi in order for that to happen.
“I don’t look past Paulie one bit. I’m expecting a tough fight and I can’t look past him,” said Porter.” I respect him, the guy has got skills. The guy has done a lot. This is not an easy road for me. I’ve been dissecting him and I know this is not a walk in the park. He has a lot of experience and I know I’m going to fight through everything to defend this IBF title.”