The last time Shawn Porter fought in the Southland, it was an epiphany.
“I learned who I had to become,” Porter said. “Before that, I thought it was OK to train six to eight weeks, go home, get fat, train again. I’m in camp year-round now.
“Getting that draw forced me to pump the brakes on my life and my career, to fix the things I did wrong and come back stronger.”
The 26-year-old Porter (24-0-1, 15 knockouts) is 4-0 since then, having avenged that December 2012 draw to experienced Julio Diaz with a September 2013 unanimous decision, and proceeding to wrest the International Boxing Federation welterweight title from Devon Alexander and successfully defend the belt in April against Paulie Malignaggi.
Now, Porter will fight in the main event of the Aug. 16 StubHub Center card in Carson, defending his title against England’s unbeaten Kell Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) on Showtime.
“You have to go through things and learn things about yourself,” Porter said Saturday at MGM
Grand, where he was to watch the pay-per-view bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Erislandy Lara.
“I’ve learned I have what it takes to be at this level now. I always knew it, but getting through fights when you get cut, getting through long fights where guys just don’t quit for 12 rounds, now you really know it.
“[Diaz] was a turning point in my life, in my career. I went home sad, felt like I lost the fight, watched it three or four times and knew I didn’t do what it took to win.”
Porter’s desire has him poised for big things, including another bout in December if he gets past Brook. He could then be in a place to get Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s attention for a May 2015 fight.
“I’m excited about having the main event at StubHub Center and if we dominate the way we
expect to, I think there’ll be a high-level fight,” Porter said.
If he can squeeze in a day off from training here in Las Vegas, Porter, who is from Akron, Ohio, will probably take in a Cleveland Cavaliers game in LeBron James’ return campaign.
“I’m happy he’s back, my city is happy and I’m looking forward to seeing him again,” Porter said. “People move from Cleveland, then move back. It’s something inside you. You can’t explain it, but there’s something inside -- it’s just home.”
The StubHub card also includes undefeated Omar Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KOs) in a World Boxing Council lightweight title bout against challenger Daniel Estrada (32-2-1, 24 KOs) and WBC
super-middleweight champion Sakio Bika (32-5-3, 21 KOs) meeting Anthony Dirrell (26-0-1, 22 KOs) in a rematch of their Dec. 7 draw.