by Sean Crose
Former welterweight champ Shawn “Showtime” Porter knows his match this Friday Night against Roberto Garcia is a big deal. After all, it’s being aired during the maiden voyage of Premiere Boxing Champions on Spike TV. Yet Porter isn’t going to let the pressure get to him.
“Not only do I have to win, but I have to be exciting, as well,” Porter said during a Monday conference call to promote the event. Still, Porter made it clear he feels that way about every bout. “We treat every fight like it’s the biggest fight of our lives,” he added, speaking in the third person.
Not that he isn’t excited about the opportunity PBC has presented him with.
“I just can’t wait to get in there and do my part,” Porter claimed.
Garcia came across as easygoing during the conference call, as well (“I’m making some breakfast,” he stated nonchalantly early on). Indeed, Garcia made it clear that, big as it is, the PBC bout this weekend will essentially be another day at the office for him.
“It’s Friday,” Garcia claimed. “I go in there and let my hands go.” Like Porter, however, Garcia aims to make the utmost of his opportunity.
“Beating Shawn Porter,” Garcia said. “Man, people will know who you are.”
Ironically enough, both Porter and Garcia are quite familiar with each other. In fact, they’ve even worked together. Not that shared history will keep either man from doing his best.
“I’ve been boxing (Porter) as a friend,” said Garcia. “Now, on Friday, I’m not going to get in there as a friend.” It’s doubtful Porter will step into the ring with warm intentions, either.
Garcia is an admittedly old-school tough guy, a boxer who fights to survive, to improve matters for himself and for his family. “I’ve taken fights without even being in shape,” he said surprisingly. A man has to pay the bills, after all, and sometimes that means taking fights on short notice.
As for Porter, he’s looking to come back in a big way after losing his welterweight strap and looking stylistically outclassed against British top prospect Kell Brook in 2014.
Porter is certain, however, that he can deliver the appropriate number of thrills.
“We can bang, but we can also box,” he said. “I just already have an exciting style that the fans are going to appreciate.”
There’s very good reason to believe fans will also appreciate Friday’s other big bout, where another former welterweight champ, Andre Berto, goes up against a pure warrior in Josesito Lopez.
“We’re two warriors going at it come Friday night,” Lopez told those gathered on the call. “No matter what, I’m here to fight.”
Berto made it clear he’s a lot different from the Berto of old. For a serious shoulder injury helped alter his perception – and his fighting style. “You’re going to have no choice but to be a different fighter,” Berto said of emerging from the experience, “a different person, a different man.”
“I thought my career was probably going to be over,” Berto admitted. “I really had to learn to use my right arm all over again. It took me a year, year and a half.”
The world may indeed see a new Berto this Friday night, but Lopez made it clear he will enter the ring in Ontario, California, fully prepared.
“Like most fighters,” he said, offering more third person analysis, “we’ve got a plan for anything that comes up in the fight.”
Lopez wasn’t afraid to admit, however, that he and Berto were pretty much cut from the same cloth. “We’re both fighters,” Lopez claimed, “and when the going gets tough we only know one way and that’s to fight our way out.”
PBC had a solid, sometimes thrilling start on NBC last Saturday. Berto, however, thinks Spike TV’s Friday bow will be even more impressive.
“I think this show here is going to be a little more exciting,” he said.