by Michael Leonard
For Stow-Munroe Falls graduate Shawn Porter, there had been plenty of accolades during his amateur and professional boxing career.
However, the fighter called "Showtime" now has won boxing's ultimate accolade: world champion.
Porter defeated Devon Alexander to claim the International Boxing Federation welterweight (147 pounds) world title Dec. 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Porter won the match by unanimous decision on the judges' scorecards 116-122, 116-112 and 115-113.
Porter, 26, improved to 23-0-1 with 14 knockouts in his professional career. Alexander dropped to 25-2 in his professional career.
Porter said Dec. 11 it took a few days for him to realize what he accomplished.
"It has finally hit me after about three or four days," Porter said. "I was just driving and out of nowhere I just got this feeling of joy and a lot of happiness.
"It's something that I've been working for my whole life."
Although Porter was listed as a 4-to-1 or 5-to-1 underdog heading into the fight, he noted he never doubted his ability to win.
"The day before the fight, I was just sitting in my room," Porter said. "We go to every fight full of confidence and knowing what we can do. I was just thinking 'Man, I've got to come up with some new goals for myself, because this is about to happen.'
"I just feel great that I get to cross off 'world champion' off my list," he added. "I've really got to brainstorm some new goals."
Porter said he modeled his game plan for the fight after what Timothy Bradley had done to Alexander. Bradley handed Alexander his only other loss on Jan. 29, 2011.
"Devon is a guy who throws a lot of punches," Porter said. "We knew the punch count had to be up. We knew we had to make the fight uncomfortable for him. We knew we had to rough it up and make it what we call a dogfight.
"We knew it wasn't going to be the prettiest fight in the world, but it was what we needed to do to get the 'W,'" he added. "After watching the fight yesterday, I think I did exactly what I needed to. I jumped on him."
Porter said he was able to talk with Bradley, reigning WBO welterweight champion, ahead of the fight.
"He walked in the gym about two weeks before the fight," Porter said. "That was the first time I had ever met Bradley. I told him who I was fighting and he immediately started rattling off information. What to look for, what to watch out for. I made the best of being able to talk to him about it."
According to punch statistics from Showtime, Porter landed 184 of 642 punches [29 percent] in the fight compared to 169 of 628 (27 percent) for Alexander.
Porter was on the attack from the beginning of the fight and rocked Alexander in the middle of the third round.
"I hit him with a good, solid straight right," Porter said. "He was able to smother me so I couldn't follow up.
"When I hit that big shot in the third round, I honestly thought the fight was over. There's a reason why I went 12 rounds, though."
Both fighters suffered cuts during the fight, as Porter had a cut open near his eye by an accidental head butt in the eighth round. Porter credited cut man Mike Rodriguez for not letting the cut get more serious.
Porter said he and Alexander butted head "a couple of times," but he was used to fighting with cuts and rough fights in his previous experience.
"Even after the fight, I knew that I had won the fight," Porter said. "I didn't feel there was a need to listen to the scores. At this point, it's important for me to see why the judges gave him the rounds they did so I can improve."
This was actually the second time Porter and Alexander had fought each other. The two boxers met in the amateur ranks in the late 1990s, which was a bout Alexander won.
"Having been in the ring with him when we were both eight years old, I knew that it didn't matter too much," Porter said.
"I knew that he had gone through the amateur program just like me and been a champion in two weight classes. There was no way I was going to underestimate Devon Alexander."
A former Cuyahoga Falls resident and 2006 graduate of Stow-Munroe Falls High School, Porter now lives and trains in Las Vegas.
The former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao trained at the Mayweather Boxing Gym, owned by pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., ahead of the fight.
Porter holds a world title belt in what is arguably boxing's most exciting division. Mayweather holds the WBC title, while Adrien Broner holds the WBA belt and Bradley holds the WBO title.
"We'll enjoy this title for about another week, enjoy the holidays and then start thinking about what's next," Porter added.
Porter also said he planned to return to Akron this week to celebrate the victory.