Four highly-regarded prospects with a combined record of 52-1 with 28 KOs will put their skills and world championship dreams on the line in co-featured fights this Friday, July 16, on ShoBox: The New Generation, live on SHOWTIME ® at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) from DeSoto Civic Center, Southaven, Miss. In the co-main event, promising, unbeaten knockout artist Shawn Porter (15-0, 12 KOs), of Cleveland, Ohio, will face fellow prospect Ray Robinson (11-1, 4 KOs), of Philadelphia, Pa., in a 10-round junior middleweight bout. Philadelphia’s Lanard Lane (12-0, 7 KOs) will put his unblemished record on the line against another talented, undefeated prospect, Mike Dallas, Jr., (14-0-1, 5 KOs), of Bakersfield, Calif., in an eight-round welterweight bout. In the main event of the tripleheader, world-ranked middleweight prospect Fernando Guerrero (18-0, 15 KOs), will battle tough, veteran Ishe Smith (21-4, 9 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
The tripleheader, which will be the143rd ShoBox telecast since the series began nine years ago on July 21, 2001, is promoted by Prize Fight in association with DiBella Entertainment.
The 22-year-old Porter had a stellar amateur career, winning the 2007 National Golden Gloves title and serving as an alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. Porter, who has sparred with Manny Pacquiao, Kelly Pavlik and Chad Dawson, holds amateur wins over current pro prospects Guerrero, Danny Jacobs, Shawn Estrada, Demetrius Andrade and Edwin Rodriguez.
Porter is coming off a fifth-round TKO win over Robert Kliewer in his last fight on May 22. Prior to that, Porter scored a first-round knockout over an out-classed Raul Pinzon on April 16 on ShoBox.
Porter and his manager, father and trainer, Ken Porter, are starting to transition the 5-foot-7, 154-pounder down to welterweight (147 pounds), where he’ll be a similar height to others in the weight class and likely be more powerful.
“That’s where we want to contend for a title,” Porter said. “Turning pro, we thought we wanted to contend at 154. But after looking at my style, weight and everything else we want to move to 147. I’m 22 and this is the time to do it. It’s a career decision and the best time to do it.”
Porter, who has 12 KOs in 15 career victories, has only gone 10 rounds once but doesn’t mind when his night ends early.
“We’re definitely looking for this fight not to go the distance,” Porter said. “We’re preparing for a 12-round championship fight, but we’re prepared to come in there, bang his body, wear him down and get out.
“I’m very happy with ending it early. In that 10-round fight (against Russell Jordan) I learned a lot. I learned that I’m able to go strong toward the end. It gave me a lot of confidence. We’re prepared to do whatever it takes to beat Robinson and win the fight.”
A highly regarded prospect, Porter knows there’s a target on his back to hand him his first professional loss.
“I was born with a target on my back, so I’m used to it,” Porter said. “There’s a target because people want to take my “0” away. But we’ve got that target covered up. We’re prepared to go deep and knock them out. Ninth round, 10th round, that’s where I shine.”
Porter will take on Robinson, who is preparing for this fight like it’s the biggest of his career.
“This is definitely my biggest fight,” Robinson said. “I know Porter is an undefeated pro, strong and with a good amateur background, but I had a good amateur career with international experience too.
“This is the biggest fight of my life and I’ve trained for it like it was. This is definitely a huge stepping stone for me.”
The 24-year-old Robinson, who is coming off a surprising eight-round majority decision loss to former amateur standout Brad Solomon on December 3, 2009, knows he has big shoes to fill with a name like “Ray Robinson.”
“Growing up with the same name as one of the greatest fighters of all time, there was pressure on me,” Robinson said. “But now that I’m grown, there is no pressure on me at all, which is a good thing. I’d get in trouble if I put pressure on myself like that.”
Robinson, who is used to being the favored fighter, isn’t worried about being the underdog against Porter.
“I hope he doesn’t think this is a walk in the park, although I wouldn’t mind if he did,” Robinson said. “I think this will be the toughest fight for both of us. I know I’ve trained very hard. I am ready for a great, hard fight from both of us.”
Boxing historian and ShoBox color commentator Steve Farhood believes that the Porter-Robinson bout has the makings of a fight-of-the-night affair.
“Shawn Porter will be meeting his toughest opponent to date in Ray Robinson, who’s a talented prospect in his own right,” Farhood said. “There’s pressure on Porter to keep up; the other members of the middleweight class of 2008, including Guerrero and Danny Jacobs, have been rising steadily, and he wants to keep up. His move from junior middleweight to welterweight is an intriguing one, and as short as Porter is, his matchup against the 5’11” Robinson will be Mutt vs. Jeff,” referencing the early 20th Century comic strip featuring pals of disproportionate stature.
The opening fight of the tripleheader telecast features two undefeated fighters with a combined record of 26-0 with 12 KOs, an anomaly in today’s boxing world where young prospects’ opponents are carefully picked.
“Lane vs. Dallas is a rarity: two unbeaten and legitimate prospects squaring off at a relatively early stage of their respective careers,” Farhood said. “In that sense, it’s a pure ShoBox matchup. With lots of risk there’s lots of reward, and the winner will be regarded as a streaking prospect in the welterweight division.”
The 27-year-old Lane knows the importance of this fight if he wants to continue his ascension through the welterweight ranks.
“In order to be the best you have to meet and beat the best along the way and ShoBox is the place to do it,” said Lane, who is a firefighter at the Houston Fire Department. “This is the next step for me.
“Dallas is a good opponent. I knew of him in the amateurs where he did pretty well and he is unbeaten with one draw in the pros. I have to treat him like all the rest, and that’s he’s just another opponent for me.”
Lane, who is fresh off an April 16 six-round win over John Brown in Memphis, Tenn., plans to show that he’s the better welterweight prospect.
“All of Dallas’ fights have been in California, so I plan to give him a very rude awakening on what it’s like to fight on the road,” Lane said. “If he’s not taking me seriously, or if his promoters are not taking me seriously, they are going to learn real fast who they are facing and what they are up against.”
Dallas, 23, who has amateur wins over current pro prospects Solomon, Jeremy Bryan, Karl Dargan, Raymond Serrano, and Danny O’Connor, splits his time between Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood and a gym in his hometown of Bakersfield.
While at the famed Wild Card, Dallas put in more than 50 rounds of boxing with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
“That was a great experience for me,” said Dallas, who worked with the Filipino during his camps for Joshua Clottey and Oscar De La Hoya. “I learned a lot working with him. He has an amazing work ethic, and it rubs off on you just being around him.”
Dallas knows that he’s got a different style than the hard-hitting Lane, who has KO’d more than 50 percent of his opponents.
“I’m more of a boxer,” Dallas said. “He’s got a little brawling style, but whatever – sometimes the whole game plan changes when they get in the ring with me. We’ll see what happens.”
Curt Menefee will call the action from ringside with Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.