Written by Tré Berry III | 11/21/2021
To start, yes…we know people tend to not take retirement seriously pertaining to the sport of boxing given its history of boxers walking away, only to get the itch back to recapture that sense of belonging…but listening to 🇺🇸Shawn Porter (31-4-1, 17KO) last night after his bout with Terence Crawford, the pain exuded through his demeanor in falling a little bit short in his Herculean effort against arguably the best…and analyzing the blueprint of his career as one who literally fought every (already established) top flight Welterweight in various different capacities, it appears as if the 34 year old Porter was serious about his declaration to call it quits.
With that feeling in the back of my head…personally it brings me sadness, especially with it coming after the best personal performance of his career despite drawing the short straw in his plight towards grand success. As his time in the sport (presumably) has concluded, the natural instinct is to sit back, and reflect on the good memories that the fighter left for us as heavily invested fans of the sport.
What is noticed is that in the case of Shawn Porter, he has had one hell of a career spanning 13 years, and picked up many signature wins along the way, however I’ve seen a disturbing trend of people prior to the Crawford fight that was waiting in line for the rights to call the man a gatekeeper, with the preset anticipation of him losing the contest. Now there is nothing wrong with being a stepping stone, or a gatekeeper at all – in fact, it’s an honorable position to fill, but to categorize Shawn in that way is completely disrespectful.
Though Shawn wasn’t quite able to win the BIG-BIG fight, he was more than competitive in his 3 opportunities at the true elite, as he pushed them to the brink, and gave a good account of himself in the process, but coming up just short on the scorecards against prime unbeaten Brit 🇬🇧Kell Brook, and current generational great & unified Champ 🇺🇸Errol Spence Jr.
The first and only time that Shawn Porter was ever stopped was in his final fight against future First-Ballot Hall-of-Famer 🇺🇸Terence Crawford, but even there, Porter gave Bud far more difficulty than Bud had ever faced in his accolade laden, unblemished career, and through 28 minutes of high octane action, kept the heat on Bud all the way until the end.
Now, while those were his biggest challenges of his career, he has had a plethora of championship level opposition a level down from that class, and in most cases, Shawn Porter flourished, and a bulk of these notable contests have oft gone forgotten by the average fan, for reasons unknown to me.
From Porters first main assignment against 🇺🇸Julio Diaz, receiving a draw verdict, then defeating him in the rematch, to becoming only the second person to defeat the primed version of 🇺🇸Devon Alexander, outworking, and out-bombing the St. Louis fighter to an impressive Unanimous Decision victory, Porter has had plenty of these moments in the pros.
How about the time when he faced respected 2-time, 2-division world titlist 🇺🇸Paulie Malignaggi in his very next assignment, where Porter walked right through Malignaggi & hammered away at him before stopping him in the 4th round? sure Malignaggi was a bit past his peak days, but considering the manner in which Shawn took him apart, and Paulie never being physically equipped enough to handle a bull like Showtime coming at him, it seemed that Porter would’ve did the same, even when Malignaggi was at his best. This was the victory that circulated, and made Porter a popular fighter.
Fourteen months later in 2015, Shawn faced discourteous, but immensely talented 4-division titlist 🇺🇸Adrien Broner while he was in his prime – a bout that was looked at as a 50/50 contest coming into the fight. It was a see-saw affair, but Porter willed himself into pole position with a sustained attack in the middle rounds, swarming Broner’s stagnant mid range counter-heavy offense with activity.
Porter did enough in those middle rounds, to still get a Unanimous Decision in his favor, despite a late 12th round knockdown issued up from Broner. This was the second time that Broner had lost in his career, and Shawn Porter’s name reached universal recognized status as a quality Welterweight that can hang with anyone opposite him in the ring.
Shawn Porter’s memorable war with unbeaten once unified Welterweight titlist 🇺🇸Keith “One Time” Thurman was a fight for the ages, one that was a serious candidate for 2016 Fight of the Year. They both promised a war, and they brought it, putting together a grueling 36 minute display of pride in combat, with each having signature moments in the fight.
The small separator between the two was the slightly superior craft that Keith Thurman operated with, and that was JUST enough for him to eek out a razor close Unanimous Decision over Porter, where all 3 scorecards read 115-113 against Shawn’s favor. While this bout did not go his way, his legacy portion of this fight can’t go ignored, as he was ½ of a Welterweight contest that will be talked about for decades.
Now Porter’s bout against 🇺🇸Andre Berto was a version of Berto that was 4 years removed from his peak performance days, and it was one of the only Porter bouts that didn’t deliver the action that we were normally accustomed to seeing…but Porter put forth an educated performance against Berto, who was looking to flip the tides, get the upset victory, to get him back into the mix of the new faces at 147 lbs., but to no avail. Nonetheless, though past his prime, it was still a quality name for Shawn to add on his resume.
Shawn also became the first fighter to “definitively” defeat the stubborn 🇺🇸Adrian Granados, who by that point had a string of hard luck in coming up short on Split-Decision losses against good competition. Here is where Porter began to start showcasing new abilities, and sharper mechanics that would certainly help to aid him in his next bout, which was one of his most important fights of his career – that being against former Ring-Magazine Lineal/unified Junior-Welterweight Champion of the World 🇺🇸Danny “Swift” Garcia, as the two would fight for the vacant 147 lb. WBC world title.
Porters new abilities to dart outside to bounce on his toes, box, and turn his opponent came in handy here more than any other bout in his entire career, as he constantly switched back n forth from staying behind the jab on the outside, then darting in to maul Danny, with the gameplan of taking advantage of Garcia’s plodding feet, and his penchant towards getting himself stuck in a mid-range heavy attack.
It was Porter who made clear who the superior fighter was on that day, and he got his hand raised for his efforts, with the Unanimous Decision verdict for what was perhaps the greatest victory in his career in terms of the combination of his opponents name recognition, and his own performance.
Shawn also got a chance to mix it up with Cuban Olympic-Bronze Medalist, and future titlist 🇨🇺Yordenis Ugas, and it was a very nip and tuck affair, with Ugas giving Shawn all sorts of fits. It was a debatable decision that could’ve gone either way, but it was Porter who they gave the Split-Decision to. While the debate is still ongoing as to whom people felt won that one, it was a solid bout, and both high caliber Welterweights comported themselves well.
That was the final big win of Shawn Porter’s career, but eluding to what was stated earlier and adding context, his performances in his losses stood out to the point where they may have actually superseded his greatest victories, and much of that has to be attributed to how he went about conducting his business as a no-nonsense guy, who was dead-set on going after it, by any means necessary – and that is the type of fighter that boxing fans will always cherish at the end of the day, regardless of verdicts.
While that is important, it is equally important to take note of his highest personal glory moments, to cast his career in its proper context. We should thank Shawn Porter for always coming with the effort, and bringing the old school mentality to modern times. Boxing will surely miss his services.