By Sean Crose
I’m still not sure it was Shawn Porter I saw on Saturday…or Jack Dempsey. I know, I know, Dempsey died back in the 80s – at least that’s what we’ve been told – but Porter really reminded me of the guy as he absolutely destroyed the talented Paulie Malignaggi live on Showtime.
For, like the 20s era heavyweight champ, Porter entered the ring on Saturday night to do one thing and one thing only: destroy his opponent. He may not have looked pretty doing it. In fact, he looked more like a brawler than a craftsman; but man, the dude was impressive.
Before you roll your eyes at the Dempsey comparison, chew on this: Dempsey reportedly wasn’t held in high regard before he demolished Jess Willard for the heavyweight title way back in 1919. Likewise, Porter has not been held in high regard lately, either.
In fact, he’s been the least respected of all the welterweight champions since he won the IBF belt late last year. No one has ever mentioned him as belonging at the top of the division. Perhaps he doesn’t belong there (it’s by far the toughest division in the sport, after all). Still, it’s hard to deny that the man viewers saw on Saturday is a force to be reckoned with.
The question now is whether or not Porter will henceforth be embraced as an opponent or avoided. Remember, this is a Showtime fighter we’re talking about here. And at this point it’s anyone’s guess whether any Showtime boxer aside from Mayweather can take him.
Think about it. Two months ago, someone like Keith Thurman would likely have been predicted to turn Porter into rice pudding. Still think Thurman can destroy the guy? Porter’s just gone through some serious competition. What’s more, he’s looked dominant doing it.
And what about Adrien Broner? Think he’d withstand a Porter onslaught if he were to move back up to welterweight? Chances are that Porter would prove to be a problem the guy called The Problem might not be able to handle.
Danny Garcia? Let’s just say he should avoid Porter at all costs if he intends on fighting like he did against Mauricio Herrera last month. For the man called Showtime would end the show very quickly indeed. And since Garcia is looked upon as a future ATM machine, his time might be better invested down at junior welterweight.
Last but not least, what will Floyd Mayweather now think of Porter? The way Money’s handling the last portion of his career, my guess is he’ll avoid thinking of him much at all. Not that I think Porter could actually beat Mayweather. I just think Floyd wants to wind things down with easier pickings at this point.
Still, it’s not like Porter has much to worry about. The guy’s only 26, for Pete’s sake. He has his whole career ahead of him. What’s more, he’s now proven to the whole world that he’s exciting. And excitement is more valuable than platinum in boxing.
One could only imagine how thrilling Porter’s career could be if the idiotic cold war that’s been plaguing boxing were to somehow come to an end. Porter-Provodnikov? Poter-Bradley? Porter-Pacquiao? If Showtime were to fight like he did on Saturday, each of those bouts would be like a live action version of a Hollywood blockbuster.
As things stand, however, the cold war is still in an overheated state. That means Porter will have to stick to his side of the fence. There’s plenty of competition for him there, of course. The question is, how willing will that competition be to step into the ring and face the man at this point? This isn’t an era of risk taking, after all. It’s hard to imagine Porter waiting in the wings forever, though.
Like Dempsey, he might just barge right through any wall erected in his path.