Plenty of fighters who meet in the pro ranks have seen each other in the ring before as amateurs.
A famous example from my time on the boxing beat was the late Vernon Forrest and Shane Mosley. Forrest beat Mosley twice in welterweight world title fights but had also upset him in the U.S. Olympic trials to gain a spot on the 1992 team in place of the heavily favored Mosley.
But they were young men at the time they fought in the amateurs.
When welterweight titlist Devon Alexander (25-1, 14 KOs) and Shawn Porter (22-0-1, 14 KOs) talked about their amateur meeting, I figured it was in a top level tournament, since they were both excellent amateurs.
Then came the surprise. They had fought at the Ohio State Fair in the late 1990s when, as the Alexander recalled, they were 8 or 9. Now they are both 26.
They are set to meet for Alexander’s world title on Saturday night (Showtime, 8 ET) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the co-feature of a loaded card that also includes former welterweight titleholders Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi meeting in the main event, interim junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara facing former world titleholder Austin Trout and super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika defending against Anthony Dirrell.
“I know Shawn from the amateurs and I fought him when I was little and I beat him and I don't see any difference in (Saturday),” Alexander said. “Might as well keep the thing rolling. But, I know Shawn. He's a good fighter, a good kid. But his skills are limited.”
Alexander claims to remember the specific amateur meeting with Porter.
“I remember the fight,” he said. “That was one of my bigger tournaments that I went to when I first started, so that's one of the ones that stuck with me that I remember, because it was one of the very first ones that my coach (Kevin Cunningham) took me to.
“And there were some rides there, some roller coasters and I was excited to be there, so I was a kid, so you know I was happy.”
“I remember going three one-minute rounds throwing punches at each other, I remember that,” said Porter, who will be getting his world title opportunity. “It's not much difference between then and now, but we're grown men now and I'm hungry and I'm up for the challenge.”