No high-level prizefighter wants to be viewed as a gatekeeper. Boxing is a brutal sport and if you are not driven to be the best in the world, it’s unlikely you will ever have much success at all.
But earning gatekeeper status is ultimately a very respectable achievement. It means you are one of the best in the world.
Shawn Porter is the premiere gatekeeper of the welterweight division right now. He’s a blood-and-guts warrior. Boxing cannot be great without fighters like him.
Last Saturday night, Porter beat Adrian Granados by unanimous decision–117-111 on all three cards. It’s a victory that confirms Porter is a top-five fighter 147 pounds.
Granados is not a world beater. But he is a tough, intelligent veteran and a credible contender at either 140 or 147 pounds. He came into this bout with a record of 18-5-2, but he’s a School-of-Hardknocks graduate. All of his previous losses had been by majority or split decision, and not all of them credible. I had him defeating Adrien Broner last February.
Porter is the first man to defeat him in decisive fashion.
Porter has lost just twice–to Kell Brook and Keith Thurman. Both fights were very competitive, though in neither case could an observer make any sort of argument for Porter winning.
This win over Granados makes Porter the mandatory contender for Thurman’s WBC and WBA belts. A rematch against Thurman is not unreasonable. The first bout was action-packed. Thurman deserved to win, but he had his hands full. I would expect Thurman to win the rematch, but it’s not impossible.
Still, I would prefer to see a true world champion at welterweight–and that would require Thurman to face Errol Spence Jr. A good fight for Porter would be against Danny Garcia, who lost to Thurman last March. The winner of that fight would be first in line for a shot at the true champion who emerges between Thurman and Brook.