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PRITTY Left Hook: The Day Shawn Porter Beat My Ass

In promotion of his upcoming WBC welterweight title fight against Keith One Time Thurman in New York City last week, Showtime Shawn Porter hosted an NYC Takeover to bring his unique pugilistic talents and charismatic personality before the people of The Big Apple.

In promotion of his upcoming WBC welterweight title fight against Keith One Time Thurman in New York City last week, Showtime Shawn Porter hosted an NYC Takeover to bring his unique pugilistic talents and charismatic personality before the people of The Big Apple.

Holding court in the world-famous Gleasons Boxing Gym in Brooklyns rejuvenated Dumbo section, former hard heads and future superstars collide beneath the splendor of the Brooklyn Bridge in rarified boxing antiquity.

It was the perfect blue-collar place for the northeast Ohioan to connect with his true support base, the fans and athletes of the sweet science.

I received a late-night call and request from Las Vegas via Kenny Porter, father and trainer of Showtime, to discuss his takeover of NYC a la holding sparring sessions in Gleasons. He asked me plain and simple if I would join other media personalities like The Breakfast Clubs Charlemagne Tha God and agree to a sparring session with his son to give myself a true perspective of Shawns talents. He informed me that others had been asked too but they chose to punk out.


You would think that anxiety would flood my core but actually I was excited and happy because finally after years of writing about it, I could finally be about it. Team Porter was giving me the opportunity to be great against a former champion and title contender in my hometown.


I accepted the challenge and made my way from the Bronx to Brooklyn when the day arrived.

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(Photo Credit: Van Crawford, The Shadow League)

In the upstairs confines of Gleasons, the sweat-stained walls and crowded work spaces where up-and- coming boxers hit bags, pads and ran on treadmills, reeked with history and its intoxicating visage pumped up my beer muscles just a little bit more.


I hit the exercise bike, did some push-ups and wobbled two extremely long thick ropes until I felt the power surge into my soon-to-be battered arms. The whole time watching Shawn like a hawk and ear-hustling Kennys pro forma edicts to his son on how to put on a good show for the crowd without actually brutalizing us to a pulp.

Once I heard my name called for hand wrapping and boxing gloves, I knew there was no turning back. I listened intently to all the in-house coaches telling me to work my jab and stay away from him and his arsenal.


One trainer tried to set me up by suggesting I attempt an uppercut beneath his vulnerable headgear bar to let him know who I am. The other trainers who pleaded with me not to attempt anything as foolish as that quickly hushed him up.

And then the time came. I entered the neutral corner and waited for the sound of the time clock. “Two rounds,” it was announced by Kenny, and my provided Gleasons in-house cut man strapped up my headgear tight and told me to pray and face the Turnbuckle God of Last Rites.

I obliged. The bell rang and the now swollen crowd of gym members and media all had their camera phones on video record. Their mouths shouted obscenities and jibes that would make any novice like me shudder with mortal fear.

I now understand how any sparring partner felt from a Mayweather 24/7 All Access show getting clowned by the homies on the sideline. A Brooklyn crowd is already inherently vicious, but in a real boxing gym they are down-right predatory. I must have smelled like a succulent curried mutton, post- slaughter, with the roasting I received from random parts of the room.

At the end of the first feeling out round, Shawn came to my corner and instructed me to try to hit him, that it wouldnt be a problem. Clearly he wasnt understanding that I didnt have the natural ability. I also knew better than to try and enter his personal space during this time where he could turn my lights out. He prodded me again to work harder but left one caveat: Do what you can but I will turn it up at the end of the round.



I hoped that was a joke and proceeded forward upon the ringing of the final bell.


I landed one shot. It was not clean, off the top of his ever-moving head. Meanwhile my own snapped back so many times during the first and second round that I saw the aged ceiling more than I care to recount.

By the time Kenny yelled, 30 seconds left, my arms and shoulders burned with exhaustion, my throat was parched from anxiety and my legs screamed for a Laz-E-Boy. Then I remembered Shawns final words before the round began and I wondered what exactly turn it up meant.

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(Photo Credit: Van Crawford, The Shadow League)

I found out when a swarm of arms exploded into bursts of punches and the searing pain that followed solidified the explanation. I ran but was cut off until finally I was trapped in the corner, assaulted by a barrage of body shots and a gut check that left me knowing I would never be a champion.


Afterward, we took pictures and I entertained 1-on-1 conversations with the Gleasons trainers who informed me that I must be a millennial and that I am the reason why most people are shooters due to lack of any hand skills.

A 9-year-old fighter was placed before me with the issued challenge that even at full man strength I would get whooped so badly by him they would have to pull him off of me. Yet amid the constant razzing, I had gained respect by all who saw me willingly embarrass myself for their entertainment. It was truly my Baskets the rodeo clown moment and I relished in it.

Last week, I took the time to let Shawn Porter beat my ass and life is beautiful because I am still alive and knowing more than ever to ‘put some respek’ on another mans hustle.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. Having been involved with combat sports since 2005, Rhett began in the Fighter Relations Department of the UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting. Eventually, he became the Site Coordinator for the now-defunct Strikeforce organization. He then founded Fight Services and handled the event and talent logistics for MMA World Series of Fighting, Titan FC, as well as boxing promoter K2 Promotions. Rhett was also a Stage Manager for Showtime Championship Boxing. Currently, Rhett is the lead combat sports and bodybuilding writer, producer, podcaster, and host for The Shadow League. He has also been published in Money Magazine, reported for TIME Magazine and been a freelance writer for UFC.com, MaximumFighting.com, UFC 360 Magazine, Fight Magazine, MMAPayout.com, and Heavy.com. Rhett has hosted lifestyle TV programming in the Washington, D.C. market on the District of Columbia Network (DCN) and the District Knowledge Network (DKN) and has been a Play-By-Play Announcer for Monumental Sports Network’s PPV streaming service.