Shawn Porter Master of Ceremonies for USA Boxing Alumni’s Northeast Ohio Boxing Celebration
by Bob Trieger
Boxing “lifer” “Showtime” Shawn Porter has had a diverse background in boxing and April 24th he’ll add another experience to his growing resume as the Master of Ceremonies for the Northeast Ohio Boxing Celebration, presented by the USA Boxing Alumni Association, at the Crowne Plaza Ballroom in Porter’s hometown, Cleveland.
Akron-native Porter, a now retired prizefighter, will be honored along with other world champions in the pro ranks from Northeast Ohio, including Kelly Pavlik, Ray Mancini, and Mickey Bey, Jr., as well as that area’s five Olympic boxers: Terrell Gausha, Rynell Williams, Charles Conway, Delante Johnson, and Oshae Jones. Other boxers from past and present are also expected to attend.
“I’m very excited,” Porter said about being the MC for the NE Ohio Celebration. “A lot of us have known each other since were 8 or 9 years old. I looked up to Kelly Pavlik when he was still an amateur boxer. I was 10 years old fighting in the Silver Gloves. This event is an opportunity for everyone to see each other again, I’ve known everyone for more than half my life and I haven’t seen a lot of them for a long time. They saw me on television and know what I’ve done. We’ll shine with stories.
“The competition here in Cleveland has always been stiff. We take boxing so seriously but have fun as well. At my first fight, I was the third fight of the night, there was a shooting, and everybody ran out of the gym, showing how everybody took boxing so seriously. I can’t wait to talk about Cleveland boxing.”
Porter started boxing at the age of four, when his father Kenny suddenly took him and his brother to the gym. “We just woke up one day and went with him to the gym,” the-34-year-old Porter remembered. “My dad never asked if we wanted to box. I grew-up in USA Boxing and it literally became a part of my life. We had to do a lot to make it to the top level. If my father trained you, you had to work hard, and we were the best of Cleveland boxing.”
“Showtime” was a decorated amateur boxer, compiling an incredible 276-14 record, highlighted by his gold medal performance at the 2007 U.S. National Golden Gloves Tournament, as well as back-to-back silver-medal winning years in 2007 and 2008 at the prestigious U.S. National Championships.
“It’s like an inheritance out here in Cleveland…..the way we train, the way we fight, and our mindset in the ring. It’s all very familiar,” Shawn recently mentioned in his podcast, ‘The Porter Way Podcast.’ “We all came from the same school. Clint Martin (Kenny Porter Sr.’s former trainer) is boxing in Cleveland. (Charles) Conwell started in Cleveland with Clint Martin. Guys like Montana (Love), like ‘Tiger’ (Johnson), myself…..when we tell you where we come from and that we’re going to make it, please believe it because we’ll be around for a long time!”
After turning pro in 2008, Porter developed into one of the best boxers in the world during a glorious 13-year career. The popular boxer retired last year as a two-time World Welterweight Cham-pion, with a 31-4-1 (17 KOs) record. He defeated eight past or present world champions along the way: Julio Diaz, Devon Alexander, Paulie Malignaggi, Adrien Broner, Andre Berto, Danny Garcia and Yordenis Ugas.
“Shawn Porter represents the best of Cleveland boxing in and out of the ring,” said Chris Cugliari, USA Boxing Alumni Association Director. “He left everything he had in the ring and took on only the toughest challenges. More importantly, he is a role model that parents of young boxers can point to as an example and say, ‘This is how it’s done.’ He embodies the sport of the Alumni Association, and we look forward to him leading our celebration in April.”
“My USA Boxing experience helped me to reach the highest level as a pro,” Porter explained. “Traveling to tournaments was a state of mind because you never knew who your opponent would be. It never broke me, and I got through that in amateur boxing.”
Porter has become one of the most respected color analysts in boxing today, although he crafted this skill in an unusual way.
“I love it (color commentating) and want to do more,” Porter noted. “I followed football more than pro boxing. I listened to how announcers called football games. Once I had an opportunity to do that in boxing, I transferred what I had learned listening to football announcers. I did a little polishing before I got my shot.”
Porter may end up training as well, saying, “I’m interested in coaching. Maybe. I’d be a good coach because I have the spirit to help and teach.” Not to mention all his invaluable experience in the boxing industry.
Shawn Porter is a boxing “lifer;” he wouldn’t want it any other way.