"I’m thinking everyone is going to be very surprised and very pleased with the package that’s coming against Errol Spence. It’s going to be rough for him."
By Allan Cerf
In the most important fight of his 11-year professional career, Shawn Porter faces undefeated Errol Spence Jr. on September 28 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. Shawn took timeout from his training camp to answer 10 questions from Allan Cerf.
Allan Cerf: Are you as excited for the Spence fight as we fans are?
Shawn Porter: I tell you what, I’m probably more excited than you guys are. I’m the one that’s got to get in there and do it so, I’m excited.
Allan: I know your time is limited, so I’ll plunge in. I hope I ask some questions you haven’t been asked before. Here we go…You’ve been in boxing for a minute and you’ve had great success. How much longer Shawn, do you want to keep on boxing keeping in mind that boxing has risks?
Shawn Porter: You know what. I do not have a time limit on my career. What I’m doing now, is making goals and I’m going for those goals. When I feel I’ve met every goal I’ve wanted to meet, I think that’s how I’ll decide when I want to retire –when I feel that I’ve met every goal I’ve wanted to meet or done everything I’ve wanted to do in the sport of boxing. I’ve still got some goals to accomplish.
Question 2: Errol Spence is like yourself, an outstanding fighter. He’s also a little longer of reach and a bit taller. The dude loves his body punching and he’s really smooth as we know – and he’s a tough challenge. What’s the Shawn Porter answer to the tough challenge and smooth boxing of Spence?
Shawn Porter: He’s been smooth in the past but this is going to be a rocky one for him. We’re going to pressure him and we’re going to use our reach. I don’t think everyone out there understands the kind of boxing skills I possess and the kind of reach and talent I have and being a ring general. That was one of the main focuses today in our sparring was: control the ring, control the distance and control the fight – and that’s what we’re going to do. We have that in our minds – and there’s really no other way for us to do it. Controlling the pace, the tempo and ultimately controlling him. I know that sounds like quite a feat but I believe in myself and have what it takes.
Questions 3: Is getting inside and smothering Spence part of the answer? Hitting him everywhere, shoulder, arms, head – smothering him?
Shawn Porter: Use different dimensions, change up the levels…give him some up looks, down looks. Control the different levels and the dimensions as well. Be inside close, hit him hard and then be outside and using speed – just really letting the fight carry itself out. Talking to you over the phone I’m getting excited.
Question 4: Who would you favor between Spence and Crawford?
Shawn Porter: Honestly, I would favor Crawford. I think that Crawford’s the better boxer, he’s talented. Again – he has a lot of different dimensions to his game, definitely more than Errol Spence. So, I would favor Crawford in that match.
Questions 5: Changing gears, I’m not alone for thinking there are a hell a lot of performance enhancing drugs in sports – from tainted meat to Baby Miller failing three tests…what should we do to these guys ban them forever…what do you think we ought to do?
Shawn Porter: It’s hard to say. I feel privileged to say I’ve never tested positive. I take a lot of pride in that. I don’t understand what these guys take, what they do for them. We even have a joke about Big Baby Miller …what he lost – the joke was: What if what he was taking didn’t even give him any extra anything? It’s really hard to say. That’s definitely something for boxing to take a look at, for the different administrative programs that certify the drug testing – for them to determine. It’s one thing to do one drug that’s not going to give you anything at all. And then obviously you have things out there that is going to risk someone’s life. Maybe even suspending someone indefinitely so that others can learn from that and say, “I can’t do this because I’m going to be out of this game forever.”
Question 6: I wish guys would fight more often. Errol Spence fought once in 2017, Gary Russel Jr.’s own Dad wants him to fight more than once a year. Ideally how many times would Shawn Porter like to fight a year?
Shawn Porter: We’re blessed to be able to get a second one in this year. Right now that seems to be the right pace. Gives me time to recover, to relax a little bit, enjoy life. Right now, that seems to be the right pace. Speaking for myself and my team, the fight we had in March was the perfect set us up for the fight that we’re having in September.
Question: 7: I know that boxing is subjective and that referees have a tough job. Every fan has his favorite fighter that that he feels was robbed. Why is judging and to a lesser extent refereeing, so poor? Who is pressuring these judges to see a fight a certain way? Is it gamblers, networks, the promoters, the WBA, WBC and WBO? Why are we getting these terrible decisions in boxing?
Shawn Porter: I got a good for you! I went to the WBC convention last October and sat in on every meeting they had out there and sat in on a training course for judges! They continue to stress to these judges you’re not supposed to tell anyone else you’re judging that fight, you shouldn’t be on social media taking a look at what people are saying, you shouldn’t be on youtube or any other outlet and deciding what you want to see from those fighters in the match. I think a lot of times judges are swayed by what they see on social media, they’re swayed by other judges and referees telling them what they can and should expect. My fight with Ugas is a prime example. Everyone was expecting for me to really run him (Ugas) over. I think that caught a lot of people by surprise, particularly the judges. When they didn’t see that, that may have swayed them to go a different way. I think that’s a big point that needs to be made on these judges and referees: you’re a week away from the fight, two weeks. Stay off of social media, the internet. Sit there at the ring cold turkey like, ’anything can happen here.’ I think that’s the way to make it fair. I don’t care to get into who’s paying who! These referees and judges learn who we are and then they have an expectation. If we don’t meet that expectation – sometimes they’re swayed a different way.
Allan Cerf: I guess it should be like someone on a jury on a murder trial. They shouldn’t be discussing it with anybody.
Shawn Porter: It really is the exact same thing – the government makes people play by the rules. Boxing is one of those sports where the rules are always bent. A lot of times rules come second. It isn’t fair. Honestly I’ve dealt with it almost my entire life. My job is to go out September 28th and look unbelievable. I really do think I’m going to shock the world. Let the fight play out. I really can’t worry who’s at the judging table.
Question 8: If your son came to you age 8, and said “Dad, I want to box” would you say, ’oh, hell no,’ would say, ’we’ll see,” or would you say, ’yes, you can?’
Shawn Porter: I never want my children to fight. It’s just not what I want for my children. I know the grind it takes even as an amateur. I was watching the movie 300. It is based on factual events. I thought: If my son wants to do this who am to tell him he can’t or he shouldn’t? Watching the movie 300 almost as if it was my life. I would not be doing the right thing by him by telling him he can’t. I’m starting to look at it a little differently. My son, it’s like a magnet, I’ve even seen him at the football field; he’ll hit the goal post that has the pad around it as if was a bag!
Question 9: To fans that love your style, cool. To the fans that say there’s too much wrestling too much rough stuff, what’s your reply?
Shawn Porter: Every fight I’ve tried to be cleaner. For those that think I’m too rough, too dirty, look at who I’m fighting. I thinking everyone is going to be very surprised and very pleased with the package that’s coming against Errol Spence. It’s going to be rough for him! It’s going to be a long night for him and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Allan Cerf: Final question, Champ:
Question 10: If you ever have a rare day off from training, what’s your hobby?
Shawn Porter: Football is coming on in about an hour. Getting together with family and friends and watching football, particularly Cleveland Browns. I love bowling, playing pool. I’m a really strategical guy, I love dominoes, Monopoly, anything that’ll make you think and is competitive – I LOVE it!
Allan Cerf: Thank you very much for your time. Good luck against Errol Spence – it’s going to be a great fight. Hello to your Dad – we at Max Boxing wish you all the very best.
Shawn Porter: I appreciate this interview. It was fun being on the phone with you.