His gloves had been cut off, and Shawn Porter was wrapped in his robe and a serious look of concern. He didn’t try to fool anyone with a premature celebration after his fight against Danny Garcia for the vacant WBC welterweight title Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Porter knew it was close, and as he waited for ring announcer Jimmy Lennon to read the result, he thought of the unanimous two-point loss he suffered two years earlier in the same ring to Keith Thurman and his majority decision defeat by Kell Brook four years earlier when he lost his IBF belt.
“It was tough,” Porter said of those anxious few minutes before the announcement. “Coming back to the corner between rounds, my dad gives me the ‘real.’ My dad wasn’t 100 percent sure, especially given what’s happened to me before.
“When I heard ‘Unanimous decision,’ I just wanted to hear my name. The moment I heard my name was just so surreal for me.”
Thanks to Porter’s determination and a tremendously high work rate, the three judges all came down in his favor, giving him his second world title. Porter only landed 12 more total punches than Garcia, but according to CompuBox statistics, he threw 270 more total punches and 240 more power punches to win the bout on sheer aggression.
Judge Don Ackerman had Porter ahead 116-112 while Julie Lederman and Eric Marlinski each scored it 115-113. Newsday’s card was 115-113 for Garcia, who landed more punches in each of the final four rounds, including a 22-13 margin in power punches in the 12th, according to CompuBox.
Following the fight, IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. climbed in the ring to challenge Porter to a unification fight, and the new champ accepted but later said the WBC might require him to make a mandatory defense first.
“I think Errol is the next guy for me,” Porter said. “It will not be because of me if my next fight is not against Errol Spence . . . I know the WBC has some things in mind for me, and we’ll see what happens.”
While Garcia’s counter-punching style often produced the cleaner shots, there was no denying the pressure Porter applied with his relentless body attack. Porter often moved Garcia backward, forced him to clinch and then push off to get punching room. Porter’s awkward style made it difficult for Garcia to find a consistent rhythm.
“We knew the work rate had to be high,” Porter said. “It wasn’t something I had to force. I expected my punch count to be higher. It was hard work, great bodywork. There were times my jabs landed clean because he was looking for me to go to the body. I knew I would throw more punches, but I didn’t expect it to be 270 more. I’m pretty sure I only landed a few more than he did.”
After eight rounds of shifting momentum, including a career-high 96 punches thrown in the eighth, Porter’s father Ken, who is his trainer, let his son know the bout was even and he needed to make a late push. “My dad had been asking me to put my foot on the gas pedal after the eighth round,” Porter said. “Stay on the body and keep backing him up. We did a good job of defending him and sticking him with good body shots.”
By CompuBox count, Garcia landed 15 more total punches than Porter over the final five rounds, but Porter threw 151 more punches than Garcia, an average of 30 more per round. That show of desire by Porter made the difference for the ringside judges.
“In the late rounds, I did what my corner asked,” Porter said. “They said, ‘Go get that belt.’” Mission accomplished.