Shawn Porter is preparing for a tough test against Paulie Malignaggi when the two meet on April 19, as Porter will make the first defense of the IBF welterweight title he won in December against a former titleholder at both 140 and 147 pounds.
Malignaggi (33-5, 7 KO) says he feels Porter (23-0-1, 14 KO) is a better fighter than past opponent Adrien Broner, and Porter can't help but agree. "I feel the same way. I think that I'm one of the best welterweight fighters here. I feel like I have everything that it takes, the mentality, the physicality, the strength, everything, the heart, everything that it takes to become a world champion," Porter said on a conference call.
"I think I have all that. And again, like Paulie said, I am extremely competitive. I would not be fighting Paulie Malignaggi if he was a filler fighter, if he was just someone for me to get in the ring with and showcase my skills against. I wouldn't do it, because that's not what we accept. We don't accept anything but the best. Everybody thought he was the best opposition for us, and so with that being said I'm really looking forward to April 19. And I'm excited that Paulie is willing to get in there and be as competitive as I expect him to come into the ring and be."
Porter, 26, knows he's up against a well-schooled, smart fighter who has been counted out before, only to bounce back strong. "I'm up against a crafty veteran, someone who's got the hands, feet, and likes to hustle his hands, and like he said, he's in shape," he said. "So I'm prepared to come in there, man, and be in just as great a shape as he's in and be just as smart as he is, and be aggressive and do what I have to do to hold onto my title."
"I've watched Paulie, I've seen what he can do. I've seen it before; I've been against it," Porter continued. "And like he says, it's just a matter of being smart, making adjustments: he's quick, I'm quicker; he's fast, I'm faster; he works hard, I'm going to work harder than him. I'm going to keep my title. What he can do to make me uncomfortable or make me slow down or anything like that remains to be seen. I really don't know what that is, so when we get in the ring I'm going to expect that to come up. But every round we'll take it one round at a time and make our adjustments as we go."
Porter believes he's a fighter who simply will not be denied, and plans to leave as the IBF champion, just as he came to win the title against Devon Alexander in December.
"I've been bred that way, I've been trained that way my whole life. I've always been taught to be hungry, be aggressive, and not to allow someone to get comfortable in the ring, and that's going to always be my mentality against whoever it is I'm going to be fighting.
"Same goes with Paulie. I know he's fast and he has good feet and he knows how to move around the ring, so my plan is to cut him off and be really aggressive and get to his body and make it uncomfortable for him for 12 rounds or less."