Shawn Porter turned a lot of heads last year in his gutsy loss to Keith Thurman. But to keep up that momentum, he’ll need to be victorious against Andre Berto on Saturday at the Barclays Center.
“Especially considering this is a title eliminator, I think this is definitely a must-win for myself,” Porter told amNewYork.
Returning from a 10-month layoff, Porter will face Berto on Showtime in a welterweight bout that could set up lucrative fights down the road for the 29-year-old.
In his narrow loss to Thurman, Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs) put on a thrilling effort and pressured Thurman from bell to bell. Against Berto, “Showtime” plans to be a bit more cautious against the solid counter puncher.
“I think that the more important thing with [Berto] is to be in and right back out or turning him so that he can’t set to punch,” he said.
Berto (31-4, 24 KOs) is a quality opponent. He holds wins over Victor Ortiz and Luis Collazo but is just 3-3 in his last six bouts, including a loss to Floyd Mayweather. Despite that, the 33-year-old’s power and toughness make him dangerous.
But with a win, Porter will be in line for a rematch with Thurman, who defeated Danny Garcia in March. He could also pursue a second fight with Kell Brook or one against rising 147-pounder Errol Spence Jr. If he gets past Berto, Porter’s top priority will be to avenge his loss to Thurman.
“Obviously that’s a big fight, one that I thought I won that I’d like to have back,” he said.
The event, which includes Brooklyn resident Amanda Serrano’s attempt to become Puerto Rico’s first five-division champion, is Porter’s third appearance at Barclays. Born in Akron, Ohio, he now resides in Las Vegas but considers the borough to be his second home.
“They’re great, the fans there, they are loud, they say what they want to say. They’re fun to be around,” Porter said. “And then on fight night the energy that they bring makes it very, very, exciting as well.”