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Snap Judgments: Championship Boxing (Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter)

Robert Cole/ALOST
Shawn Porter (r.) succeeded in his strategy of smothering Andre Berto's offensive power, but Porter did catch a few head-butts in the process, including one that opened up a nasty gash in the third round. (Robert Cole/ALOST)
Shawn Porter (r.) succeeded in his strategy of smothering Andre Berto’s offensive prowess, but he did catch a few head-butts in the process, including one that opened up a nasty gash above his eye in the second round. (Robert Cole/ALOST)

 

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Almost one year after losing the biggest fight of his career – and in the same arena no less – Shawn Porter had the opportunity, with a win Saturday night, to recreate that huge fight night in which he came up short in 2016. Porter did not waste the opportunity.

In a 147-pound welterweight title eliminator, Porter smothered former welterweight champion Andre Berto all night long before recording a ninth-round TKO in the main event at Barclays Center. With the win, Porter now becomes the mandatory challenger to Keith Thurman, the current WBA and WBC welterweight title holder who defeated Porter by unanimous decision in Brooklyn last June.

From the beginning of the fight, Porter’s intentions were clear: fight on the inside, blunt Berto’s explosive, lightning-quick firepower and make the fight be contested in a phone booth. The strategy started to pay dividends in the second round, with Porter recording a knockdown of Berto. Also in the second round, Porter’s in-close strategy caused a series of head-butts, with Porter suffering a nasty gash above his left eye due to one of the head-butts.

Despite that, Porter was relentless in cutting off Berto and continuing his assault in tight.

“I got to clean up those head butts,” said Porter, now 27-2-1 after the victory. “We tried to use the whole ring, but sometimes in the heat of the battle, 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. My intention is never to use my head as a weapon. This was a just very hard fought battle by both of us and I’m blessed to get the victory.”

After tonight’s win, it’s possible that Porter’s next fight will be with Thurman, who was ringside and entered the ring after the match. Thurman also has intentions in setting up a match with Manny Pacquiao, so the Porter-Thurman rematch (the first bout between the two was a candidate for Fight of the Year) might be on hold for a little while longer.

“I was just up here wishing [Thurman] said yes,” said Porter, describing the scene when he and Thurman were standing shoulder to shoulder in the ring after the fight. “That’s the fight I want next.”

Do you know who else was ringside to be a part of all of the hard-hitting action? That would be none other than our photographer, Robert Cole, who once again provides A Lot of Sports Talk and our viewers amazing closeups of the action. There are 45 photos in this gallery and, after clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures.

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