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March 10, 2017

SHAWN PORTER: "I'M GOING TO KNOCK BERTO OUT!"
By G. Leon

GL: Before we get into your April 22 bout with Andre Berto, can you tell us what you thought about the Thurman-Garcia fight? I thought it was a decent fight. I thought there would be more action. I actually had Keith Thurman winning a unanimous decision and I don't think it was as close as the judges had the fight. GL: What did you think about the way Thurman fought the last few rounds? I think he knew that he had the fight in the bag and he laid off, which is not something that you want to see out of a great fighter. Some people may call it smart, I think it was more so lackadaisical with him just trying to get by to get the win.

GL: Is it safe to say that you feel like you should've gotten the decision over Keith Thurman?

Shawn Porter: "Yes sir, definitely."

GL: Does that make it harder to watch Keith get an opportunity that generates so much attention and such a high viewership? Does it serve as further motivation?

SP: "I've always been that kind of way that whenever I'm in the building for a fight, I feel the crowd should be watching me. It doesn't matter if I'm there for a heavyweight fight, I would be remiss if I didn't say I wish it was me in the ring that night in front of that big crowd and big audience on TV. But I understand that everything happens for a reason and my time is coming. I tried to take it for what it was worth and watching those guys perform, I feel like I could've done more and the fight would have been a lot more exciting if I was in the ring. It's a double-edged sword, sometimes I'm watching it and I wish that it was me in the ring in there, but I deal with reality that wasn't my time, but my time will come."

GL: How is everything going in preparation? What can the fans expect to see from you on fight night?

SP: "Everything is going great right now, the workouts have picked up since announcing the fight. We're going to be getting some guys in here real soon for sparring, we're just trying to figure out who we want to get in here for Berto. Overall I'm feeling great and I know on fight night you're going to see me box and see me hit Andre very hard. We're looking to knock him out."

GL: What are your thoughts of Andre Berto as a fighter?

SP: "I think he's explosive, he's quick and I think he's sharp if given the opportunity. That's the number one thing for me to not give him any opportunities to let anything sharp go, anything explosive go. We've seen in his fight with Victor Ortiz that he's still got that explosive power that he's had throughout the years. The key to this fight is to hit and not be hit."

GL: What weaknesses do you see in Berto that you feel you can exploit?

SP: "I think there's a lot of weaknesses. I think he lacks foot movement, I definitely plan to be in and out on my feet and keep him turning. I'm going to make it hard for him to keep up. Even though his hand speed is there his reflexes aren't that sharp, I know he likes to counter so getting in there hitting him and getting out is something we're really going to look to implement in this fight. We're going to look to break him down because he also lacks endurance, so by the later rounds we're going to have him ready for the knockout."

GL: What do you consider your biggest advantage coming into this fight?

SP: "I would say the combination of my foot movement my hand speed. I think that combination is going to make it very hard for him to keep up."

GL: You're known as a comer, Berto also doesn't shy away from contact. Is there any way this isn't an action packed fight?

SP: "I definitely think it's going to be action packed due to what you just said. I'm aggressive when I need to be and he's always there. He's not one to get around the ring. I really do think I'm going to dictate the pace and the rest will follow. Obviously I don't want to be put in any compromising positions by being too aggressive, but I will be aggressive when need be, but I think we're going to start the fight off boxing him and move on from there."
 
GL: What does a victory on April 22 mean to you?

SP: "Everything. I'm coming off of a loss so another loss is unacceptable. Like I always say, if I do what I'm supposed to do you guys are going to enjoy it and I'm going to win the fight. As everybody out there knows this fight is a title eliminator for the WBC title so I couldn't be more excited."

GL: How confident are you that a win in this fight will lead to Thurman next?

SP: "I'm pretty confident. I can't imagine Keith Thurman would get that WBC title and not defend it. All of us right now are in that position where the business is playing a big role too, but I can't see him go another route with that WBC title right now."

GL: I'm asked that because now we've got Lamont with that WBA title that puts him in the same position a win in this fight would put you.

SP: "Yeah he's got that spot with the WBA so it's a tricky situation. When you unify titles you probably don't realize it until it happens that you're going to have to make more than one mandatory. It becomes tricky and everybody has to make a business decision."

GL: An easier solution would be for Keith to fight the winner of Brook-Spence and the winner of your fight to fight Lamont. One champion, one mandatory.

SP: "That makes sense to me, I know Lamont Peterson was a fight that we spoke about very briefly. Even though that was a fight we considered it wasn't on the table for us, so we'll see what happens moving forward but right now April 22 is it for me."
 
GL: Who do you like in the Brook-Spence fight?

SP: "I like Spence for a number of reasons, but I think that he's young and he's hungry. He's sharp and he's southpaw, so I think he has what it takes to go over there and get that belt."

GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?

SP: "Thank you Greg. I want to thank all of their fans for their support. The T-shirts are coming soon, get your t-shirt and be at the Barclays Center April 22."
 

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