If the Shawn Porter hype train isn’t already officially rolling, it’s certainly time to get it moving. After demolishing Paulie Malignaggi on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov card last weekend in Washington, D.C., Porter now finds himself ranked as our #2 Welterweight contender, behind only division champion Floyd Mayweather, and some guy he used to spar with, I think the name is Manny Pacquiao.
Simply put, Malignaggi has never been steamrolled like that. The underrated Magic Man has been a consistently high-level fighter, losing clearly only to the absolute upper echelon of the sport. Even then, it took Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan 11 rounds to seal the deal, and Miguel Cotto battered him for a full 12 without putting Malignaggi out of his broken jaw misery.
Porter ended things in four vicious stanzas. Not fearing Malignaggi’s power, Porter unleashed the full force of his explosive athleticism and stunning speed. Malignaggi fought bravely, but was outgunned and overwhelmed before long.
The crushing stoppage of Malignaggi follows his clear win over Devon Alexander. Just like that, with two fights, Porter finds himself as one of the best Welterweights in the world, and surely even more to his own liking, in the discussion as a potential future opponent for Floyd Mayweather. Of course, it’s also important, for his sake, that his promotional and television network allegiances (Golden Boy and Showtime, respectively) happen to line up just so.
I’ll admit that I was actually one of Porter’s detractors following several less than stellar outings. He needed two fights to put a well past his best Julio Diaz behind him, and sandwiched in between was only a ho-hum win over a ho-hum fighter in Phil Lo Greco. Not exactly compelling stuff, but Porter erased those memories and shattered those doubts with his latest wins.
Looking ahead, and assuming that Mayweather defeats Marcos Maidana as most expect him to, why shouldn’t Porter be one of the front runners for a Mayweather fight this September? His top competition would be the winner of the Amir Khan vs. Luis Collazo bout, Danny Garcia, who says he has just one more fight at 140 lbs before he moves up to Welterweight, the equally explosive but even less proven Keith Thurman, and perhaps Erislandy Lara, should he defeat Canelo Alvarez.
While Lara may be the most compelling choice of the bunch, he’s also the least likely unless he manages to knock Canelo Alvarez out cold in their summer showdown. Barring that, and off the strength of these two wins, Porter is at least as viable of an option as Garcia. Of course, Golden Boy may choose to bide their time, and let the likes of Garcia, Thurman and Porter sort themselves out first, creating one clear-cut young gun opponent to go at Mayweather in spring or summer 2015.
However it plays out, Porter is smack dab in the thick of things now. And after witnessing the sheer brutality of his latest effort just a few rows back at ringside, consider me on the bandwagon.