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March 14, 2017

By G. Leon

GL: Congrats on landing the fight with Andre Berto on April 22. How is everything going in camp? What can we expect to see from Shawn next month? Thank you for the call and I appreciate you reaching out to us. I usually don't get excited when we get a fight, but we've been trying to get this guy to sign since October and since October this guy has been saying the same thing. He doesn't know anything that we're talking about, our people need to talk to his people and the last time we checked we have the same people. This guy denied this all the way up until we saw him at the press conference and I didn't even know if he was going to come. Now that he has finally showed up and verbally accepted the fight, because he hasn't signed the contract, but he's verbally accepted, I expect we're going to have a great fight at the Barclays. Everything is going pretty good for Shawn, we're living our lifestyle, but we're not just starting camp we've been doing the things that he needs to do to maintain himself and then we just crank it up in that last six to eight weeks and that's where we are right now about 40 days out from the fight.

GL: When I spoke to Shawn he pointed out a number of weaknesses that he saw in Berto that he feels he'll be able to exploit on the 22nd. He really had a list of things he feels he could take advantage of, his balance, his footwork, his endurance, his reflexes. Do you agree with Shawn?

Kenny Porter: "Probably not, because he hasn't disclosed that information to me. I never look at anything that a professional fighter is doing as a weakness. I look at all of the things that he does well and the things that he excels at, then I make sure we're prepared for those things. On the other side of that, with things people might determine as a weakness, that part is going to take care of itself. I never look at anybody not to do well and I'm always prepared for everything they've got going on when they're doing well." 

(We then read Shawn's remarks to Kenny)

"Wow, that's a lot. Why do we even need to go fight? I would say to Shawn Porter what Berto said to Shawn, I'm going to come to Vegas and hit you in the mouth without the gloves on. Shawn probably needs to keep some of that stuff to himself and put the action together instead of the words. That's some good stuff, but again, for me preparation is everything. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail and we will be prepared for this fight."

GL: Since Shawn is a comer and Berto doesn't really shy away from contact, is there any way this isn't an action packed fight?

KP: "No. No doubt about it, this is going to be an action packed fight. Obviously when the name was brought to us last year and we said yes as soon it was brought to us, and by your people Mr. Berto, I knew that it would be an exciting fight. That's the way that it was brought to me, that they had an exciting for us and I'm in total agreement with that, it will be an action packed fight. I fully expect the Barclays to be rocking. There won't be any moments in there where there's not something going on that everybody can be excited about."

GL: What are you hoping a victory on the 22nd leads to?

KP: "This is a title eliminator, the question is what do I hope, and I hope we get to fight the WBC champion Keith Thurman. I know he's not going to be too interested in fighting Shawn because he went through a life and death battle with Shawn and he doesn't want to do that again. If we become the mandatory we will stand on that and we will become the mandatory when we win this fight and we will stand on that to force that fight."

GL: Now that Thurman is unified it makes things more complicated. The winner of this fight will be the WBC mandatory, but Lamont Peterson is sitting there as the WBA mandatory. How confident are you that a victory in this fight will lead to an immediate title shot?

KP: "I'm not that confident in it, but they're going to have to be strategic and creative. It's a great problem for Keith to have. If he chooses to fight Lamont Peterson for the WBA then we'll expect he'll have to give up the WBC, and if he has to give up the WBC then they could bring the former WBC champion Danny Garcia and we'll fight him for that. Then we'll come back to Keith, but this is just a suggestion to them. There's a lot of things they could do in this situation, everybody can sit tight and say we're not going to fight nobody. This is boxing and we've got to deal with the boxing business as it unfolds. Nobody is in a hurry to get in there with Shawn Porter, I know that, just ask Andre Berto."

GL: Is it going to be difficult to keep Shawn grounded for this fight? I assume that you guys feel very confident, especially since Berto didn't jump right on the opportunity when it was presented

KP: "I could see where that would be a problem for most people, but we reinforce the things that Shawn has to bring to the table while keeping him humble and keeping him grounded and focused. I always try to impose on him that we don't take anything for granted and we don't go at anybody any less. We always train hard and we prepare for that. What we're doing right now is making sure of that by doing everything that we're doing, by bringing in some really tough sparring partners, by doing different kind of work outs that his body isn't used to in order to confuse his muscles, by challenging him to be intelligent when he's in the ring, so we're doing a lot of things that we feel are necessary to keep him focused and grounded and prepared for the fight."

GL: You guys got the short end of the stick in a very close competitive fight with Keith Thurman. Was it difficult for you guys to watch Thurman fight Garcia in front of such a large audience both at the Barclays and on CBS? Do you feel like it should have been y'all fighting Garcia that night?

KP: "No, I didn't think about that at all while I was watching that fight, I didn't think about that at all. When I was out there for the press conference and that thought never crossed my mind. I love boxing and I love to see an exciting match and a big crowd and TV numbers."

GL: Do you consider the Thurman-Garcia fight a letdown? 

KP: "Let me tell you what I said right after the fight on Saturday night, then I'll tell you what I said on Sunday and then I'll tell you what I said on Monday. Right after the fight I said it underwhelmed. On Sunday I describe the fight as lackluster, then on Monday when I was getting calls asking for my take on the fight, I had a question for them, we're going to make Thurman-Garcia rematch on PPV, would you buy the fight? To a man everybody said no, so for me that tells you all you need to know. It's one of those situations, I knew going into the fight that Keith had a hand and foot speed advantage, I knew he had the quickness advantage and I think anybody who watches boxing gets influenced by the guys calling the fight or websites such as yours, because that happens, people get influenced by what they hear and read. Anybody who was watched that fight and saw Danny's fights with Lamont Peterson and Herrera, they would know that he's at some disadvantages against Keith and there were no surprises there for me. I wasn't shocked when Keith took his foot off the gas pedal and move around the ring and I also wasn't shocked when Danny couldn't do anything to offset that."

GL: Do you think Andre Berto has improved as a fighter since he began working with Virgil Hunter?

KP: "I think Andre thinks he has improved, I think Virgil believes that Andre has improved as a fighter, so I'm going to say Andre has improved. Just how much has not been determined yet. It's hard to gauge that when you go up against one of the better fighters of all time in Floyd Mayweather and then fight Victor Ortiz who you never really know which Victor is going to show up. It remains to be seen and on the 22nd we will try to do everything he can to prove that whatever it is he has improved on, we're better at."

GL: Do you see Shawn stopping Berto?

KP: "I don't know that we can do that, but we will be making an attempt to do that. It will be part of the training process and part of it will be to get him out of there. We don't want to have anymore close decisions. I expect Shawn to punish him and I will be on his neck throughout his camp to do just that. I will be demanding that he push this boy off the cliff, let's get this farewell tour started for Mr. Berto."

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

KP: "It's going to be an exciting fight on April 22 at the Barclays Center. I met a lot of fans that night at the Thurman-Garcia fight and a lot of them were buying tickets that night so that made me very excited. The atmosphere over there in NYC is different than in Las Vegas, it's much more energized than here in Vegas, it really is. Barclays is a great place to fight and we're really looking forward to it."

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