You’d be hard pressed to find a more honest, earnest fighter than Shawn Porter.
The two-time world welterweight champion is one of the most compelling active fighters in the world and, with the exception of an ill-advised stab at being a boxing stylist against Yordenis Ugas in March of 2019, also one of its most fan-friendly, all-action battlers.
But there’s a bit of a tragic element to Porter’s general feel-good vibe. “Showtime” has been near the very top of the talented welterweight division for a long time now, but he’s never quite managed to get all the way to the very top.
Despite holding victories over Danny Garcia, Paulie Malignaggi, Devon Alexander, Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, and Yordenis Ugas, he still finds himself regarded as just a step below the elite. And it’s not like he’s ill-equipped to be among them, either.
Porter has lost close, disputable decision to Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, and Kell Brook. These were all fights that could’ve easily gone his way if the judges had seen a round or two in a slightly different light. And all three of those high-profile losses were fiercely competitive from opening bell to closing bell.
Now, after rebuilding his brand in 2020, his focus is on that same quest to achieve elite status.
Porter and his team balked at a perceived low-ball offer of $1 million to face WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford from Crawford’s promoter, Bob Arum, but the 33-year-old is still very much interested in that pairing.
“It’s Terence Crawford. It’s something about him and that fight,” Porter recently said. “I think that fight is great. There’s a big argument between who’s better – Terence Crawford or Errol Spence? So that’s why, for me, it’s like, ‘okay, you’ve been in the ring with Errol Spence, now go get Terence Crawford.”
“I have not given up on that fight,” Porter continued, referring to the stall over the comparatively small payout. “I’ve had conversations with my dad, and I’m like, hey, go get that fight. That’s the fight for me. My dad’s working.”
Porter is still very much interested in bagging a big-ticket Manny Pacquiao clash for himself as well, something that could also earn him a spot at the very top of the 147 lb. class. The one-time sparring partner and camp mate of the Filipino legend has, in the past, referred to a Pacquiao bout as a “defining fight” for him and had placed him as the “number one guy” on his list of desired opponents.
There’s also the strong drive to avenge losses against Spence and Thurman and the desire to turn in a more impressive performance in victory over Ugas, who was elevated to full WBA champ after Pacquiao was declared “champion in recess” by the organization due to inactivity.
It remains to be seen, however, if Porter will get a second chance to fight his way to the top. Still in his physical prime, he’s established himself as a hellacious warrior and maybe, at this point, too much risk for too little reward.
He just may have to take a smaller payday to get his foot in the main stage door again. He may need to gamble on himself and give up some of the money he’d like to earn so he can get the next opportunity he feels he can exploit.
Whatever the case, it wouldn’t be wise to ever count Shawn Porter out.