He stands only 5’7”, but Shawn Porter is the next big thing in boxing. The 19-year-old middleweight has already left many opponents face up on the canvas, most recently at the Junior Olympics and Pan Am Cadets—both of which he won. Although he’s a tremendously gifted athlete, Porter’s future success will be based on the fact that he’s always thinking in the ring and can adjust to anything his opponents throw at him. Below, Porter explains what drives him to rule the ring.
STACK: What is your biggest source of motivation?
Porter: I want to make everyone at home, my family and friends, happy. Knowing that a good victory or championship comes with recognition, and being rated number one, also keep me motivated. It’s all about being called number one.
STACK: What are your athletic goals for the next couple years?
Porter: Right now, my main goal is to make the Olympic team. I made the Pan American team in February, and fought in the Pan American games last July. Now I’m looking to make the 2008 Olympic team. From there, I want a successful professional career.
STACK: How do you mentally prepare yourself to fight?
Porter: I visualize the match and what I’ve trained to do. I go through the match in my head and work through my plan of what I want to do to the guy. I try to stay as focused as I can and just listen to my trainer—my dad.
STACK: Do you get nervous before big fights?
Porter: Some of the international fights get me a little nervous, because I’m out there representing the United States, so that adds pressure. I do a little stretching, listen to music and warm up to get my mind off the match.
STACK: Do you have any pre-fight rituals?
Porter: When I get into the ring, I start circling it. I started doing that when I was eight, and I will keep doing that as long as I box. I also say a quick prayer with my dad. That’s our special thing.
STACK: What’s it like having your father in your corner?
Porter: It’s good. We’ve been working together for so long, it’s like we’re one person. He’ll be ready to yell something during a match, and I’ll do it right when he’s about to say it. I really want to please him and make him happy, so I know if I do the things he wants me to do, he will be happy and proud.
STACK: What song will you enter the ring to for your first professional title match?
Porter: There’s a song by Jay Z called “The Ruler’s Back.” I would like to let everyone know that the ruler’s back—and I’m the next ruler.