By Keith Idec
Shawn Porter didn’t suggest that he could fight like Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Porter took note, however, of the way Mayweather beat Andre Berto so easily in the last bout before Mayweather retired in September 2015. While more of a brawler whose smothering style has worked well for him during an eight-year pro career, Porter plans to employ elements of what worked well for Mayweather during his victory over Berto when Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs) opposes Berto (31-4, 24 KOs) on Saturday night.
The Porter-Berto bout will headline Showtime’s doubleheader Saturday night from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Porter-Berto winner will earn a mandatory shot at WBC world welterweight champion Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC).
“Well, watching the [Mayweather-Berto] fight, I definitely admired – you know, in any fight that Floyd Mayweather’s in, his boxing ability,” Porter said during a recent conference call. “I thought that was something that was very, very effective against Andre Berto. So I’ll definitely pick my spots – where we wanna box, where we wanna use the ring. But at any rate, through the entire fight we will control the action as well as the ring.”
Porter, of Akron, Ohio, isn’t sure how much more he’ll box than usual, if at all. The former IBF welterweight champion just knows that he is capable of beating Berto with more than just physicality and aggression.
“It depends on the fight,” Porter said. “My boxing ability may be a little bit underrated and unseen. It depends on who I’m in the ring with. You may get more of the boxing, you may get more of the pressure and the aggression. And then, with saying that, [in] any fight at any time, it could change. So we’ll do this fight accordingly. We’ll take a look at what’s going on. We’ll make our adjustments during the fight, in the corner as well. And we’ll see. You might see more boxing. You might see more pressure. We’ll see how it plays out.”
The 33-year-old Berto, of Winter Haven, Florida, isn’t worried about what Porter might do. If Porter attempts to mimic Mayweather’s strategy Saturday night, the former WBC and IBF welterweight champion is confident he’ll counteract Porter’s game plan better than did with Mayweather, who beat Berto by large margins on all three scorecards (120-108, 118-110, 117-111).
“That’s fine,” Berto said. “That’s his business. That’s his game plan. Whichever way he wants to maneuver, whatever the situation is, I mean, that’s on him. Right now, us, we’re just preparing for every look. We’re preparing for every look we need to prepare for. If it’s boxing, if it’s brawling, if it’s him trying to crowd us, whatever the situation is. Right now, we’re just dialed in and focused on what we need to do. We’re not really focused on what he’s trying to do to us. We’re trying to make sure that we’re gonna be all right. We’re gonna be focused. We’re gonna be dialed in on every angle, whatever way the fight is gonna go.
“End of the day, we’ll have to see. You know, Shawn, he has shown in the past he can brawl, he can press guys out, you know, brawl. He might try to use something new this fight. I’m not sure. Right now I’m just focused on what I’ve gotta do. Like I said, we’re in tremendous shape, we’re focused all around the board. We can box, we can bang, we can do whatever we wanna do as well. So, you know, it doesn’t matter what it is. And we’re gonna see what it is when we get in there [Saturday].”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.