Click here to watch a video interview with Shawn Porter after his victory over Devon Alexander
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Shawn Porter had expressed supreme confidence that he would dethrone Devon Alexander as IBF welterweight titleholder on Saturday night, meaning he would have to conquer a man who once defeated him when they were 10-year-old amateurs.
Porter (23-0-1, 14 knockouts) pulled off his goal against Alexander (25-2, 14 KOs) before a raucous crowd at Barclays Center.
Porter dictated a physical fight that left both men bleeding from cuts above their eyes, and ended Alexander’s winning streak at four consecutive bouts since falling to current WBO 147-pound beltholder Tim Bradley in 2011.
Alexander’s run had included a split decision over Lucas Matthysse, as well as a unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana in his welterweight debut. A southpaw, Alexander had dethroned hard-hitting Randall Bailey for the IBF belt in October of last year before scoring a seventh-round stoppage against Lee Purdy in May.
But in addition to borrowing a page from Bradley, Porter gained confidence from his success as a former sparring partner for eight-division titlewinner Manny Pacquiao, a left-hander he helped to prepare for his triumphs over Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley.
A former junior middleweight who is managed and trained by his father, Kenny Porter, Porter’s win over Alexander followed September’s unanimous decision over ex-beltholder Julio Diaz that made up for the draw they had in December of 2012.
Porter shared his thoughts with RingTV.com regarding his win over Alexander in this Q&A:
RingTV.com: Was your strategy to make it a dog fight?
Shawn Porter. Yeah, that was the game plan, to make the fight hard for him. The game plan was to make him fight and make him do things that he didn’t want to do.
I didn’t want him to get into any kind of comfort zone, and, fortunately, for me, I was in my zone all night.
RingTV.com: You mentioned that you were the bigger guy; was that a reference to your having fought as a junior middleweight in the past?
SP: I think so. We brought the weight down great this time. We gained it back perfectly. I’m not going to say what I came into the ring at, but, trust me, I was the bigger man tonight.
RingTV.com: Did the Bradley fight factor into your strategy?
SP: Oh, yeah. That was a part of the program. My dad knew what to do and he definitely used the Timothy Bradley fight, and I think that we exploited that he couldn’t stand up to my power and that he couldn’t stand up to my aggressiveness.
I was able to hit him with some jabs from the outside and to out-box him as well. We just all around did a great job with our strategy and everything. As a fighter, you see things that are working.
I made some adjustments and, when my dad told me to, I was able to get back to the game plan and to get to his body and slow him down and to generally make the fight really, really hard for him.
RingTV.com: Did you ever feel Alexander’s power?
SP: No, I did not. I was able to talk to Timothy Bradley before this fight, and he said, ‘hey, man, he don’t really have too much power, but he’s got some pop on his shots,’ and I think that I took enough out of him early in the fight that I didn’t feel any of his shots at all.”
RingTV.com: Who would you like next?
SP: I’ll take any fight at this point. I have the IBF title, and if you want it, come and get it. It feels good to be able to say that. But at the same time, I’ll allow Al Haymon and my manager, Kenny Porter, do what they have to do.
RingTV.com: Can you talk about your journey, from sparring partner to contender to champion?
SP: It’s just been a long road when you take into account who I’ve been in the ring with, whether that’s sparring or in fights.
Manny Pacquiao, Chad Dawson, Andre Dirrell, Demetrius Andrade, James Kirkland, the list goes on and on. I’ve been in the ring with Kelly Pavlik at the age of 16, 17 years old helping him to get ready for fights.
So it’s been a long road. I didn’t take those punches in camp for nothing, and I didn’t take those punches in training for nothing. It all paid off tonight. I’m very blessed.”
RingTV.com: Has your accomplishment really hit you yet?
SP: It’s still a blur. I thought that I would be on cloud nine, and this is a privilege to be in front of you guys and to be able to say that I’m the winner and that I’m the champion. It’s a good moment for me, so I’m going to try to enjoy it.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com