Porter prepares for Brook, ponders Mayweather
Unbeaten welterweight to risk belt, campaign for big-ticket opportunity in Saturday night title defense on Showtime
The “Money” meter is running.
And just like every other high-end fighter between 140 and 160 pounds, Shawn Porter knows it.
So when he reaches the ring at the StubHub Center on Saturday night to risk his International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight title against unbeaten challenger Kell Brook, at least a sliver of his psyche will remain focused on the straw that stirs the sport’s most lucrative pound-for-pound drink:
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Because Mayweather -- who owns the World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) championship belts next to Porter’s at 147 pounds -- has hinted that only two more fights remain on post-2014 schedule, getting on the radar for a place on that dance card is a real, if involuntary, priority.
A smashing success Saturday, Porter concedes, could mean a prodigious windfall down the road.
“I don't consider my fights as auditions, I consider them performances,” he said. “I don't go out there and give it my all with expectations of getting something bigger and better, but with the expectations of making that fight the biggest and best fight that I've had, and then going from there.
“But at the same time, yes, Mayweather. We all know he's on the clock and we're all right there standing there hoping that we're next in line.”
The Porter-Brook fight will headline a three-bout card to be broadcast by Showtime at 9 p.m. ET. The show will open with a WBC lightweight championship match between Omar Figueroa and Daniel Estrada and also include a WBC super middleweight title fight between Sakio Bika and Anthony Dirrell.
Showtime Extreme will show two live bouts as part of a 7 p.m. ET show, featuring undefeated heavyweight Deontay Wilder in one and former two-division title-holder Jorge Linares in the other.
As for Porter, should he defeat the 28-year-old Brook, who’s unbeaten in 32 fights since turning pro in 2004, he would retain a lead position among young welterweights angling for a Mayweather date.
It’s the third championship-level fight for the Akron, Ohio native, now 26, who won his IBF belt with a unanimous decision over Devon Alexander last December and defended it with a violent four-round stoppage of former two-division champion Paulie Malignaggi in April.
He’s slotted sixth among the welterweights in the latest Independent World Boxing Rankings, which place all active fighters in a division regardless of what sanctioning body titles they possess, and is the first undefeated commodity on the list after Mayweather at No. 1.
The four fighters between them -- Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Marcos Maidana -- have combined for 17 losses and the youngest of the quartet, Bradley, is 30.
Mayweather, who’ll meet Maidana next month in the rematch of a May 3 victory, is 37.
Still, chance at Mayweather or not, Porter claims he feels no extra burden because he’s labeled by many as the future of the 147-pound ranks.
“There's no added pressure at all,” he said. “This is what I love to do, and I'm having fun with it right now. We work extremely hard, and you know my dad, you know my trainer, my manager, Kenny Porter -- nobody sets the bar higher than him. I'm working extremely hard every day, and the pressure is put on me all in the gym and on the track and in the swimming pool and in camp.
“Once I get to the fight all the pressures, I've already felt them all. There's no pressure to deal with in the fight, just going out there and doing everything the Porter way and getting the job done.”
Brook, who fancies a possible match with fellow Englishman Amir Khan if he wins, pursues that fight while entering Saturday night as an underdog according to odds-makers at VegasInsider.com.
A $100 wager on Brook would return $215 in the event of an upset, while it will take a $275 outlay on Porter to recoup $100 if he follows through and defends his championship.
“(Porter) knows that he's up against someone who's 32-0, who's passionate about actually becoming world champion and he's probably seen the cat-like reaction,” Brook said. “I'm a big welterweight and strong and determined. I think that he can maybe see it in my eyes that I'm not coming to lay down, I'm coming to lay it on the line. I'm a lion and I'm coming to take that title.
“I think he knows that it's going to be like that.”
Weekend Watch List
ESPN2 -- Friday, 9 p.m.
Denis Shafikov vs. Rustam Nugaev -- 12 rounds, lightweights
Jose Pedraza vs. Juan Carlos Martinez -- 10 rounds, junior lightweights
Showtime Extreme -- Saturday, 7 p.m.
Deontay Wilder vs. Jason Gavern -- 10 rounds, heavyweights
Jorge Linares vs. Ira Terry -- 10 rounds, lightweights
Showtime -- Saturday, 9 p.m.
Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook -- IBF welterweight title
Sakio Bika vs. Anthony Dirrell -- WBC super middleweight title
Omar Figueroa vs. Daniel Estrada -- WBC lightweight title
UniMas -- Saturday, 11 p.m.
Felix Verdejo vs. Oscar Bravo -- eight rounds, lightweights
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