Shawn Porter returned to the ring, kind of, this past Saturday night, fighting a 12-round exhibition against veteran welterweight Lanardo Tyner, on the date that Porter was supposed to face Keith Thurman in a big showdown on CBS, capping off a training camp the best way he could, by getting some work in and resetting before heading back into the gym in the near future.
Porter and his father/trainer Kenny were both pleased with the event and with the work they were able to get done, with Shawn telling Fighthub's Marcos Villegas that the exhibition was what they needed.
"I feel great, man. This turned out to be exactly what Team Porter needed," he said. "12 rounds tonight with Lanardo Tyner was not easy. He pushed me for 12 rounds and we kept it going. I think we got everything we wanted to get out of tonight. I hope the fans did, as well."
Porter (26-1-1, 16 KO) was happy that the event got the attention it did, and a bit surprised.
"It turned out to be so much more than what my dad wanted it to be. I think at first he just wanted some people in here, a fight atmosphere because I hadn't been in the ring in so long, and someone to come in here who was gonna fight me, not back down," he said. "I think it just turned into a worldwide thing, which is pretty awesome, that people are interested in me like that, and wanna see me. We worked hard in camp and we wanted to put a stamp on this camp. Tonight turned out to be bigger than we thought it would be, and even better. We got a fight atmosphere tonight."
Porter said that when he first heard about the car accident that canceled his fight with Thurman, he was concerned, but he didn't spend time upset about the cancellation, either.
"My initial reaction was, 'Oh, my God, is he alright?' Then I'm hearing that he's just rear-ended, and I'm like, 'OK, well, what's going on?' I didn't speculate. I have understood this for a very long time: I don't control everything that happens in my career. Obviously, I try to control as much as I can, but when something like that happens, it's just out of your control," he said.
"Do you cry over spilled milk? Do you whine? Do you make a fuss? The fuss is going to be overlooked, anyway. Harness that energy, turn it into positive stuff, continue to work, put on a great show, take some time off, come back on June 25th, and make it big and bad."
Asked if he thought Thurman (26-0, 22 KO) was watching the exhibition, Porter replied, "I think if he wasn't, he was doing himself a disservice. Not to say that I'm great and you should watch me, but I think this is just a prime opportunity to see what you're going up against. I'm sure he watched me. If not, he'll watch it at some point. He'll learn from it."
Porter, though, was quick to point out that the two opponents are very different. "Don't get it twisted, this was not Keith Thurman. This was Lanardo Tyner. After a round or two, we figured out what we needed to do to work with Tyner. There wasn't much we did tonight that we thought, 'We're gonna do this against Keith, so we're gonna do this tonight.' Not one time did that come out of my dad's mouth, believe it or not.
"Actually, earlier this week, we were in here, and we went over something real quick, and Keith Thurman's name never came up. This was all about this night against Lanardo Tyner. June 25th will be all about Keith Thurman."
Porter says he plans to "maintain" where he's at right now, taking a short break before going back into the gym to get ready for his now rescheduled bout with Thurman.
"For me, maintaining is being able to go off and have a little bit of fun, relax, kick my feet up," he said. "Wake up as late as I can, which is usually nine o'clock. Maybe eat some Cheerios or some Reese's Puffs cereal. Things I don't normally get to do in camp. Relax just a little bit, then come back and do it again."
Porter vs Tyner, full exhibition fight: