By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Shawn Porter acknowledged part of the reason he came to Barclays Center on Saturday night was to scout Errol Spence Jr.
Spence still isn’t an option for Porter’s next fight. Like Spence, Porter prefers to fight Keith Thurman.
Porter lost a close unanimous decision to Thurman in an entertaining welterweight title fight in June 2016 at Barclays Center and wants a rematch as soon as possible. The former IBF welterweight champion is the mandatory challenger for Thurman’s WBC 147-pound championship, thus he’ll eventually get his second shot at the unbeaten WBA/WBC champ unless someone knocks off Thurman before Porter gets the chance.
With Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) headed toward a fight against Jessie Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs) in April, however, Porter might have to wait quite some time to face Thurman again. That still won’t make Porter consider what would be a lucrative opportunity to challenge Spence for his IBF title.
“Right now it’s not an option because it’s the IBF,” Porter told a group of reporters Saturday night. “I’m not sure if I’m ranked in [the IBF]. I’ve been told I’m not. I don’t know for sure because I don’t look at the rankings. But I’m actually told I’m not ranked in the IBF. I don’t know for sure, which is crazy. I need to be ranked everywhere. But it is what it is, so right now [Spence] is not gonna be my next fight. Like I said, it’s Keith Thurman and, if we have to, we’ll look somewhere else.”
Las Vegas’ Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) is still dealing with a minor hand injury suffered during his 10-round, unanimous-decision win over Adrian Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs) on November 4 at Barclays Center. The Akron, Ohio, native expects to be able to use his hand again soon and could fight either late in the spring or early in the summer.
Spence (23-0, 20 KOs), who dominated Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) on his way to an eighth-round technical knockout Saturday night, is more than willing to oppose Porter next. The strong, skillful southpaw from suburban Dallas will have to seek another opponent, though, for what he hopes will be a hometown fight in May or June.
“I’m doing everything I can do to make these fights happen,” Porter said. “So this year you will see Shawn Porter in the ring with Keith Thurman. If not Keith Thurman, then Danny Garcia.”
Philadelphia’s Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) is scheduled to battle Brandon Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs) on February 17 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas (Showtime).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.