We’re going to start with “Showtime” Shawn Porter, out of Las Vegas right now. Former IBF World Champion. Everyone knows he’s trained by his dad, Ken, and he was a tremendous amateur. He has been a tremendous pro. And I know he’s ready for this important matchup on April 22nd. Shawn?
What’s up, everybody? Yes, we’re just at the latter part of camp now, winding down, and we’re still working out hard, and everything is coming together just the way we want it. So, at this point, the excitement is building up and I can’t wait to get out there and see everybody, and be a part of what’s going on with this fight.
Have you done anything special to prepare for Berto? I mean, anything different in terms of sparring partners or anything in your usual routine?
I personally have been going 15 rounds up at an altitude of about 8,500 feet yesterday. I think that’s pretty special. We sparred 10 rounds with three different guys, and we pushed ourselves a few more rounds in the ring, and then also sprint some on the road as well. So, we’re working hard. We swim every chance we have and try to work every chance. We have an oxygen chamber in our training facility for our performance center.
So, everything we’re doing is just always to try to do it bigger and better each fight.
Andre can you tell us a little bit about your training camp and how you feel about the fight as fight week is less than a week away.
Training camp has been tremendous. We’ve stepped everything up this camp. Tremendous sparring. I just can’t say enough about how this camp went. I’m in great shape. I’m focused. We have been pushing ourselves to the limit each and every day. I’m more than excited coming into this fight. I’m ready to get it.
We are thrilled to be back at Barclays Center and thrilled to be working with DiBella once again. At SHOWTIME, our spring schedule is starting to take shape. This April 22nd event is the start of a very aggressive lineup of fights over an eight-week span. There’s more to come on that in the very near future.
In terms of our televised fights, we’ve got compelling matchups that provide a little bit of everything for all sorts of boxing fans.
This main event is part of a series of ongoing welterweight fights that will determine – possibly by the end of the year, maybe early next year – who is the top dog, so to speak, in boxing’s glamour division.
We’ve had a series of phenomenal welterweight fights, including Shawn’s fight last summer on CBS.
Both Andre Berto and Shawn Porter, really gained national exposure early in their careers on SHOWTIME via ShoBox – no surprise there. Andre was on ShoBox in 2006; Shawn Porter in 2009. And they have progressed in very significant stages of their career on SHOWTIME – Andre four times on SHOWTIME, and Shawn five times on SHOWTIME and once on CBS.
These are two guys that everybody knows. They’re likeable, charismatic, and articulate. They’re guys who respect the sport and represent it well. Perhaps more importantly, they are all action fighters, and there’s no way that this fight is going to disappoint. So, top to bottom, a lot to offer on this April 22nd card, and we’re very much looking forward to it.
Do you think that a victory against Shawn would represent maybe the best win of your career?
Yes. I believe so. Looking down at my career, I’ve gone through a lot of physical things and now just coming back from that and just being healthy and a lot stronger, I’m a lot more focused.
Everything is just starting to show like it needs to be, and I believe that this fight right here definitely could be one of the biggest ones in my career, for sure.
I fought a lot of great guys coming up. I’ve fought with Steve Forbes, I’ve fought David Estrada and all those guys, they were big names at their time.
The most satisfying one for me right now, was my last one against Victor Ortiz just because there was so much emotion that went into that fight. So much of a storyline that went into that fight and how much it meant to me.
Emotionally all around the board, I think probably there’s no more satisfying win right now at this point. I fought Carlos Quintana, Steve Forbes, and all these guys that were very great fighters of their time, and they were at the top of their division at their time.
Do you think a win against Shawn would surpass that as the most satisfying because you’re a little older, you’ve been off a while and it’s going to put you back into position to fight another world title if you win?
I’m not sure, man. Like I said, that last fight just had a lot connected to it. And a lot connected to it. This fight here is a big fight as well. Every fight right now at this point in my career is a big fight and a very big, defining fight. So, I’m just taking each of them, and one step at a time, and just preparing like I need to. I need to just get through them one at a time.
Shawn were you surprised that coming off of a loss that you were able to get a fight that would be a title eliminator to be in a position right back in a world title fight?
You know what? Honestly, that’s kind of the business side that I don’t really think about as much. I didn’t think about how many fights it would take for me to get back to a championship fight.
After that fight, my team went back to the drawing board figuring out what fight we can take to position ourselves to either get a rematch with Thurman or get another title, and that was it. That was how this fight with Andre Berto came to be.
This was the guy that I was told will be the one to position me to get back to a World Championship fight, and then, boom, we’re at the press conference announcing the fight, and they tell us that it’s for an eliminator.
I couldn’t have been more surprised. I don’t think there was anything in my life that I’ve ever been more pleased with or surprised other than that.
When DiBella came up and said it would be for a title eliminator for the WBC title, I mean, my heart just – it just glowed with happiness. So, I’m looking forward to this fight. I been looking forward to this moment for a long time and I hope to just win.
We agreed to the fight with the understanding that, this will lead to something better, but again I didn’t know how long it would be. And then the man comes on the stage and says it’s for an eliminator, and I’m like, wow.
If you could wave the magic wand, which guy of Thurman and Brook would you rather have a rematch against, and why?
Thurman. I think he’s the better fighter. I think finally being able to beat him, I think would be something on my resume, in my legacy, that would be remembered for a very long time. He’s a very good fighter; a very good defender of his belt/belts, and I’m looking forward to fighting him in a rematch.
Shawn, I saw some comments you made recently discussing Berto’s fight against Mayweather and how you seemed to suggest that you were going to follow Floyd’s blueprint for his boxing Berto, and staying on the outside, and you seemed to kind of say that you were going to follow the same strategy. Is that true?
Well, watching the fight, I definitely admired, as any fight that Floyd Mayweather’s in, his boxing ability, but that was something that was very effective against Andre Berto. So, we’ll definitely pick our spots where we want to box; where we want to use the ring. But at any rate, through the entire fight, we will control the action as well as the ring.
Do you plan on showcasing more of your boxing ability in this fight against Berto?
Well, it depends on the fight. Like you just said, my boxing ability may be a little underrated. I’d say, there are moments in the ring, sometimes you make it more of boxing, sometimes you make it more of the pressure and the aggression.
So, we’ll build 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.
You mentioned before that you felt that Keith Thurman was a better fighter than Kell Brook. Can you just explain why you feel that way?
I just think overall. His boxing ability, ring IQ, speed, quickness, power, all of it. My personal opinion is it could be a biased opinion, but I feel like Keith Thurman is the better boxer/fighter than Kell Brook.
Andre, what do you think about Shawn saying that he might use Floyd Mayweather’s template against you in your fight? What’s your reaction to hearing that?
That’s fine. I mean, that’s his business. He can us any game plan however he wants to. Whichever way he wants to maneuver, whatever the situation is, that’s on him.
We’re just preparing for every look. We’re just preparing for every look. What we need to prepare whether he’s boxing brawling.
We’re focused on what we need to do. We don’t really focus on the way he’s trying to beat us. We’re trying to make sure that we’re going to be all right, and we’re going to be focused.
Shawn, he’s shown in the past he can brawl. He can press the guys out. He might try to use something new in this fight. I’m not sure. I’m just focusing on what I got to do. Like I said, we’re in tremendous shape all around the board. We can box; we can bang; we can do whatever we want to do as well. So it doesn’t matter. We’re going to see what it is. We’re getting a start on that.
Shawn do you think Andre can handle your pace?
That’s my mindset, my team says every time we get in the ring is that our opponent won’t be able to keep up with the pace that I perform at. I do everything that I can, leading up to the fight, to be ready for a fight like that.
I never go into the ring with the thought that I’m going to throw 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 punches a round. It’s just kind of how the fight flows and how it goes. So, yes, I’m always prepared to fight at the faster pace – I think at a faster rate than most of the guys that I box.
I think that there is going to be an advantage for myself getting in the ring with Andre Berto, I think that I’ll be able to dictate the pace, and push his heart, and make him work harder.
The skills as well as the power should make this a very good fight. This is why this fight is very anticipated, because you know what I can do and what Andre can do.
But I think I’ve shown out there that there’s nothing that you can doubt when I’m getting into the ring, it’s down to I’m going to perform the way I’ve always performed and the fight will take care of itself.
Besides Mayweather, do you think you’re the most superior opponent that he’s faced, and if so, why?
Yes, yes, yes. I would say I am. He’s fought some very good boxers. Some punchers and guys that were aggressive. Some counterpunchers. He’s fought them all. I think the thing that separates me from those guys is that I can do all of it. Very rarely do you have that in another fighter than can do it all in the ring.
Andre, what are your thoughts on what Shawn brings to the ring, and do you agree that with him, that maybe besides Mayweather, that he’s your most difficult opponent?
I can’t really say until I get in there with him. Like I said, I been there with a lot of guys, and I’ve been with a lot of different type of guys from my first 12 or 13 fights.
I’ve been in there with a few world champions. I have to go in there and see. Mayweather, like I said, you’re bringing up Mayweather. Mayweather is Mayweather.
He’s going to go in there and move around, box, he’s going to play, real slippery. I believe that he is definitely one-of-a-kind and showed it throughout the years.
When it comes to Shawn, he does a lot of things wrong and he does a lot of things right. So I can’t say that Shawn’s going to be my most difficult fight, because I haven’t been in there with him yet. We’ll say that he is definitely a great fighter.
Do you feel that at the time of some of your earlier wins, that you were getting credit, and do you think that you have ever really gotten credit for being a better fighter?
Everybody knows the boxing game, you’re as good as our last performance. Just as they can raise you up high in the next great thing, going through defeat or going through some tough times, they’ll write you off quick.
They’ll write you off quick in this game. And that’s just how the game goes. I can’t sit there and just be upset at it. I knew what I was getting into.
With all of the buzz surrounding me, coming into the pro game, and me being a world champion myself, I can give myself accolades, but if things don’t go your way, they’ll definitely discredit you.
You have to see it for what it’s worth, man, and end-of-the-day, just know who you are. You can’t let this fight game ultimately define you.
It won’t give you the credit that you feel that you deserve at the end of the day, and that’s what, and I believe. Them retiring. I don’t know too many fighters that have retired satisfied.
They’re satisfied with this fight game, or satisfied with the notoriety of things they’ve got, from the writers, from the critics or the fans. I don’t know too many at all. You just got to go in there and do what you got to do. Like, just know who you are, and go and make yourself happy.
Andre, just piggybacking on what you said earlier, do you feel that you’ve been written off, going into this fight?
Well, from my first loss moving forward, I’ve been written off. Like I said. going into it, it’s just where the fight game is. It’s just where the fight game is. From my first loss on, it’s been this and this, this and that. I’ve been through my hard times. I’ve been through everything in this fight game and have been in front of that TV screen.
That’s what you need to understand. I’ve got a chance to fight all over. I was with Lou DiBella and HBO. Everything that I’ve done has been in the eyes of the public. My rise, my fall, going through my defeats.
Coming back from shoulder surgery, coming back trying to continue to make a statement, make people know I’m still here. I love it, because I love that roller coaster ride. I’ve never seen my career coming into the game as being perfect. Never. Never.
I’ve always wanted to feel everything that this game had to offer. But it’s just like Muhammad Ali said a long time ago, he was able to feel everything this game had to offer. He got knocked down. He got stopped. He wasn’t tired. He was the best alive. This and that. He had to experience it all.
When I’m done, I’ll be able to read my story and see that and explains everything this game had to offer.
Andre, he’s obviously he’s the younger fighter and he’s a pretty big favorite in the fight. How much motivation has that given you in this camp?
It’s a tremendous motivation for me. I believe they’ve been able to see a whole different type of determination and motivation in me. And they do see it in these fights as well. So it’s not going to stop. It’s not going to stop me. They can think of that some other type of way, but everybody right now, at this point, it looks like they’re in the way right now for what I want. That’s it. That’s it. That’s all they’re getting out of my way.
How difficult has it been for you to not be more active since the Broner fight?
That’s a tough one to call. I think more than anything it’s been a little tougher mentally, outside of that, we still work hard and I’m on SHOWTIME for a reason.
I’m a Showtime fighter, so I’m never worried, about any amount of time that I stay out of the ring in the actual fight because we have tons of those before the actual match. So, I’m just excited about this fight coming in, and I’m looking forward to it.
Do you think maybe for your next fight if you’re able to beat Andre, do you feel like a Thurman rematch because, especially, this is an elimination match for his title that that is a realistic opportunity for you in your next fight?
I’m hoping so. I know that he has two different belts. He will have two different mandatories, so I understand all that, but I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring with Keith Thurman in a rematch as soon as we can after this fight with Andre Berto.
Andre, you’re going into this fight with roughly a one-year layoff since your last fight with the second fight with Ortiz. Can you tell us about that layoff and how you think it might affect your performance in this fight?
The layoff is the layoff. That’s something you got to ask the promoter, the managers on that. But anybody that follows me, they know I’ve been staying busy anyways. within this year I’ve been staying working out and I’ve been staying in shape.
I’d say we’ve had a nice lengthy camp to make sure to knock off all the rust. And we’re sharp, man. We’re sharp. And all ready to go. So I don’t think it’s going to play too much of a big part in this as well.
How does that affect you being off for that period of time, because as soon as the bell rings, it may get very heated very quickly.
It’s not going to affect me too much at all. Everybody knows me. When it comes to me, I’ve been scrappy that way my whole career. And plus we’ve been having tremendous sparring. We been having tremendous, tremendous sparring here at the gym.
So far everybody is trying to push me to a whole other level. I’m here putting real money on my own head to make sure these guys come from the first round. Always trying to see if they can knock me out.
So all the sparring has been top notch, and it’s definitely been highly, highly competitive. We’re going to be ready to go.
As the more veteran fighter, are there going to be changes in your approach?
Yes, it’s crazy to say; I’m an old vet now. My boxing IQ has changed so much when it comes to everything in general.
We’re doing things for a reason. Not just out there throwing punches because we can. Not just always just being fast because we can, or being strong because we can. Everything is for a purpose and we’ve just been fine-tuning everything. And everything has been falling in place pretty amazingly.
Shawn, do you think there are going to be any ring rust problems, or how are you going to deal with that?
No, no ring rust at all, man. I’m just looking forward to this fight. I know it’s been a while since you guys have seen me, but I’m always working, and my team is always on me, making sure I’m in shape, getting in shape, staying in shape. And that I’m controlling my weight, my eating, all that kind of stuff. So, right now, there’s no problem for Shawn Porter.