Shawn Porter is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. In 2007, as a World Golden Gloves Champion, Porter was left off the 2008 Olympic team.
In 2016, Porter lost by unanimous decision to undefeated WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman. Though it was unanimous, the fight was so close, each judge's scorecard ruled 115-113 in favor of Thurman.
Because of Thurman's inactivity – he hasn't fought since March of 2017 because of injury – the belt is up for grabs. Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) will now fight Philadelphia native Danny Garcia (34-1-0, 20 KOs) for the title Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The 30-year-old from Akron, OH is considered an underdog.
"My whole life [I've been overlooked]," Porter said Thursday at the Dream Hotel in Downtown, Manhattan. "My dad (Kenny Porter) calls it the fight before the fight. Anything that can happen or go on negatively before the fight is called the fight before the fight."
Since losing to Thurman, Porter got back on track with a ninth round TKO over Andre Berto in April of 2017 and a unanimous decision over Adrian Granados that put him in prime position for another shot at the welterweight title, a belt Garcia once held before losing it to Thurman before he became injured.
Porter attributed his two victories to making more in-fight adjustments. Something he didn't do a good job of against Thurman.
"I think the number one thing I learned from fighting Keith is to be able to judge the fight as you're going through it," he said. "I think I was foot on the gas pedal — go go go. I think there were times where if I hadn't pushed forward and took a different approach at certain points in certain rounds, I might have came out with the victory."
Going pedal to the medal, as Porter explained, is his claim to fame boxing style: in your face, all out aggression, and physicality. That style has mostly faded because of the work that's necessary to maintain stamina.
But Porter is able to fight in that manner because of his work ethic. Yoga, and sometimes hot yoga, is what keeps Porter fresh.
"I used to have fun taking the boxing guys to do yoga," Porter said, "because they don't do it. I just want them to feel other things out there that can get you in supreme condition for what you have to do."
Porter is putting the pressure on himself as the biggest fight of his life.
"There's nothing I've ever wanted more in my life — at 30-years-old — than this [championship]," Porter said. "With that being said, I'm out there to take it."