Porter ready for Thurman after KO of Berto
Eyes Rematch of 2016 Thriller Following Impressive Barclays Win
Shawn Porter spent most of the past week in Brooklyn talking about the fight he wanted after his Saturday night bout against Andre Berto at Barclays Center.
And now he’s in line to get it.
Porter knocked Berto down three times, the last two coming in the decisive ninth round of their welterweight eliminator brawl Saturday before a crowd of 9,118 at Downtown’s home for pro boxing, getting himself another shot at unified champion Keith Thurman.
“[Porter’s] team was adamant about the rematch and now he’s fought his way to earning that,” ceded Thurman, who sat ringside for the brutal and blood-drenched encounter that included several cringe-inducing head butts between the two combatants.
“We just need to sit down and talk about it,” added Thurman, who beat Porter and then previously unbeaten welterweight Danny Garcia here in Brooklyn in his last two bouts. “He’s hungry. You see the way he fights, it could be a great fight again.”
Berto made sure Porter’s path to another showdown with Thurman wasn’t easy.
The pair stood toe-to-toe for most of the evening, so much so that their craniums clashed on several occasions, causing a deep gash over Porter’s left eye.
The 39-year-old Porter went to the body early and the damage took effect as he felled the 33-year-old Berto in the second round.
But the pair of former champions continued to battle it out until the ninth, when Porter pounced on his older opponent following yet another head butt, leading to a pair of knockdowns and the stoppage at 1:31 of the round.
“I have to clean up those head butts,” Porter noted on a night he launched himself back into the conversation for best welterweight in the world.
“We tried to use the whole ring, but sometimes in the heat of the battle stuff happens. I’m a fighter and Mr. Berto is a fighter as well, those head butts were just the two of us going in and fighting.”
Berto, who is likely on the downside of an otherwise stellar career in the ring, gave Porter his due following the bout. But he also indicated that Porter’s rough-house tactics made it difficult for him to follow his fight plan.
“I have to give him credit, but he’s a rough fighter,” Berto said. “He has great skills but, at the same time, he was trying to be rough and trying to handle me anyway he could.
“I got a lot of head butts, and he did too. Shawn is a tough competitor. We had a good competitive fight until the head butts got to be a little too much for me. But I thought it was a really good fight before that.”
This was a solid pay day for Berto, who reportedly earned just upwards of seven figures, while for Porter, it was a must-win regardless of the money he earned.
He figures to get his rematch with Thurman before the year is up after the two battled for WBA welterweight supremacy at Barclays last June 25, with Thurman emerging as a narrow unanimous decision winner in a bout many tabbed 2016’s best.
“I thought I fought smart tonight,” Porter said. “I thought I picked my punches well. There were times where I smothered my shots, but there were also times where I smothered him.
“[Berto] has a dangerous uppercut but we had a great game plan,” he added. “This was a just very hard fought battle by both of us and I’m blessed to get the victory.”
The real blessing for Porter came during his post-fight interview with SHOWTIME’s Jim Gray when he was informed that Thurman gave a verbal thumbs-up to a potential rematch.
“I was just up here wishing he said yes,” Porter admitted. “That’s the fight I want next.”
On the undercard Saturday night, unbeaten WBC super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo, who is rising in the ranks of boxing’s best pound-for-pound pugilists, thrilled the crowd with a sixth-round knockout of mandatory challenger Charles Hatley.
Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) landed the crisper shots from the opening bell, using a sharp left jab to set up a remarkably efficient straight right. The Houston native floored Hatley (26-2-1, 18 KOs) midway through the third with a textbook left-right combo that stunned his fellow Texan.
He continued to pepper his game and willing opponent over the next several rounds before a thunderous right dropped Hatley face-first and for good in the sixth.
“I used that jab to set up the right hand,” Charlo said. “I knew Charles Hatley goes down and he gets back up — he’s a warrior — and I knew I had to get in there and be a lion.
Also on the undercard, Amanda Serrano became the first woman ever to win world titles in five different weight classes when she took out Dahiana Santana in the eighth round of their fight for the vacant WBO bantamweight title.
“It means everything to me. We worked so hard. We worked hard for this moment,” Serrano said. “To be a five-division world champion is amazing. To be the first female and first Puerto Rican [to do it] is amazing.”
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