By Jake Donovan
From his initially missing weight to enduring a hard-fought 12-round challenge from Yordenis Ugas, Shawn Porter will be more than happy to put this one behind him.
The final outcome might now allow that to be the case, with the defending welterweight titlist claiming a contentious split decision Saturday evening at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.
“Ugas is just that, he’s tough,” Porter (30-2-1, 17KOs) admitted to a group of reporters following his Fox-televised main event. “Honestly, I’ve respected him for a long time. I respect his manager Luis DeCubas and his entire team. I hope he doesn’t give up, I’d like to see him go in another direction and grab another title.”
Doing so would actually allow Porter to travel in his own desired direction, which would be unification bouts with the division’s other top players—primarily those who fight alongside him under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner.
“Errol Spence, Manny Pacquiao or Keith Thurman,” Porter stated of his future wish list, without hesitation. “No particular order, all three are who I want. My goal from here on out is to win every fight and every title.”
All three fights are reasonable as a next option, assuming Spence prevails in his March 16 Fox Pay-Per-View headliner versus Mikey Garcia, an unbeaten four-division titlist who moves up from lightweight to challenge for the welterweight crown.
Pacquiao and Thurman are both coming off of victories in January, but have yet to commit to definitive point in the year for their next ring adventure.
Porter dropped a tightly-contested 12-round decision to Thurman in their June ’16 thriller, having since won four straight including Saturday’s victory, Among them was a 12-round nod over Danny Garcia last September to begin his second tour as a welterweight titlist, whereas he entered the Thurman fight as a former titlist and leading contender.
Having survived his first title defense, Porter is hopeful to get all of the other PBC-based welterweights in the ring, simply because such fights are easier to make with all signed to adviser Al Haymon.
The only titlist not currently on his radar is Terence Crawford (34-0, 25KOs), a switch-hitting three-division and reigning welterweight titlist who fights under the Top Rank/ESPN banner—but his reason for not pursuing such a clash goes beyond politics.
“Myself and Terence Crawford, if that fight is going to be made it’s because Terence and myself want it made,” Porter explains. “I’m not calling him out, I respect him. I’m definitely not afraid of him.
“But I do feel he’s one of the most overlooked in the welterweight division and one of the best fighters in the world. Again, if we fight, it’s because him and I decided to fight. Nobody is going to force us to fight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox