by Frank Aceto,

Associate Sports Editor

Shawn Porter kept reminding me.

So did his father, Ken.

Shawn, 19, a Cuyahoga Falls' resident and a Stow-Munroe Falls graduate, had one more amateur fight in this area.

The standout boxer, who has captured at least 10 national titles and a junior world championship throughout his illustrious career, made sure I knew this when I talked to him a couple of weeks ago.

"I haven't seen you in awhile, Frank," he said with a noticeable smirk. "Thursday, June 21, Rockin' on the River," his father said to me about a dozen times.

Both of them made their point loud and clear.

The last time I saw the young 165-pound phenom had to be at least five or six years ago when he was still an up-and-comer.

How things have changed.

Shawn is expected to compete in the Pan Am Games in Rio De Janeiro in July and is preparing for the Olympic Trials.

I talked to them both recently about his second-place finish at the 2007 United States Championship, which concluded June 8 in Colorado Springs. We met privately in our office's conference room.

In other words, I had nowhere to hide.

If two world-class specimens who have more muscles in their right arm than you do in your whole body speak, you better listen.

I promised them I would go see his next bout and thankfully, at least for my sake, I did.

Shawn was the main event at the "Night of Future Olympians" June 21 on the amphitheater stage at Falls River Square in Cuyahoga Falls.

There were several elite fighters at the event, but none of them was nearly as mesmerizing as Shawn.

As I watched the other fights take place, I gazed around the amphitheater looking for Shawn.

I couldn't find him for the longest time. Finally, Shawn got my attention even though I still didn't see his face.

Less than 10 feet behind me, I kept hearing this loud, snapping noise. I turned around and saw Shawn hitting his father's hand pads.

When he landed one of his punches, it sounded like a gun shot. And it was hard for me to see him actually throw a punch because it looked like a blur.

At that point, I kept thinking: Who in their right mind would want to step in the ring with this guy?

Shawn wound up scoring a unanimous decision against Milwaukee resident Luis Arias, a 16-year-old phenom who finished second in the 152-pound weight division at the Junior World Championships.

Arias was no slouch. The promising teenager didn't lay down for Shawn and made a lasting impression. But Shawn had the superior skills. He landed a barrage of heavy punches throughout the fight and had an uncanny knack for making Arias miss.

After the fight was over, the paid attendance, which was roughly 500, gave a rousing ovation to both fighters.

And Shawn, who has more than 230 wins in his career, loved every second of it.

"I wanted to try to please the crowd and make him miss," he said. "I'm really going to miss fighting here."

"It was a great show," said Ken, who also is Shawn's manager and trainer. "We were really happy with it. That kid Shawn fought has a heck of a future in front of him. He missed the Olympic Trials by one point."

Shawn's main goal is to visit Beijing, China, next summer. That happens to be the site of the 2008 Olympics. He also has his eyes set on testing the professional ranks.

"I know I have a lot of room for improvement," Shawn said. "I just have to be smarter and keep fighting hard."

In other words, he knows. You don't have to keep reminding him.


Phone: 330-686-3914