Shawn Porter’s bid to become a world champion for the second time in his career came up short when he lost, via unanimous decision, to WBA champion Keith Thurman last June. The two men left it all in the ring as they battled for the full 12 rounds and although the decision to award the fight to Thurman was booed by many in crowd, the numbers showed ‘One Time’ had done the cleaner work in the ring, landing over 43% of his punches while Porter landed just over 35%.
So now Porter finds himself looking to bounce back from the second defeat of his professional career and he will aim to do it at the expense of another former world champion. Andre Berto is undoubtedly in the twilight of his career, having gone 4-4 in his last eight fights, and he has been largely inactive in recent years. The 33-year-old American has fought just six times since beating Jan Zaveck back in September 2011 and it has been a year since he last stepped inside the ring.
Berto did show there is still some mileage in him by avenging a previous defeat to Victor Ortiz, knocking him out in four rounds, but Porter is a much stiffer test and only the welterweight division – Thurman and Kell Brook – have been able to beat ‘Showtime’ since he entered the professional ranks.
The bookmakers have made Porter the odds-on favourite for this fight and I share their belief that the 29-year-old will have his hand raised. The Method Of Victory market will provide the best option for backing Porter and once the odds have been released I suggest backing the 29-year-old to stop Berto inside the distance.
Berto has only been stopped once in his career but that fight tells you a lot about what will probably unfold here. Jesus Soto Karass battered the veteran fighter for almost 12 rounds before a left-hook sent him to the canvas with just over two minutes remaining in the fight, and Porter’s approach should result in something similar here. ‘Showtime’ is an aggressive fighter with excellent work rate – he will go after Berto from the opening bell, piling on the pressure until Berto goes down and fails to beat the count. That certainly appears to be his gameplan.
“Every time I see this fight in my head, I feel good about it,” Porter told reporters. “I feel like my speed and my boxing ability is going to take care of the first half of this fight. I've seen him in fights where he goes past the fifth and sixth round, and things start to fall apart for him.
“I've seen myself hurting him to the body, but haven't seen myself stopping him. I can see him going down, but I can't see him not getting up. Maybe that's too much respect for him, but I know in the moment, in the fight, I'm going after this dude.”