Welterweight titlist Shawn Porter, who scored a major upset to win his belt in December, will make his first defense when he faces former two-division titleholder Paulie Malignaggi on April 19, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
The fight will take place on a Showtime-televised world title tripleheader at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C.
In previously announced fights, light heavyweights Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs) and Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs) square off in a title unification bout in the main event. Middleweight beltholder "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs) is also on the card, defending his title against Lukas Konecny (50-4, 23 KOs).
"This is a very meaningful fight for Paulie and for Shawn," Schaefer said. "I think it's a very attractive fight in the ring as well. To be paired up with Hopkins is absolutely fantastic. I'm happy for the fans, for the fighters and for Showtime. Three world title fights. I think it's going to be one of the biggest cards in Washington D.C., in quite some time."
Porter (23-0-1, 14 KOs), 26, who lives in Las Vegas, won his belt on Dec. 7, taking Devon Alexander by storm and winning a unanimous decision on the undercard of Malignaggi's last fight, a unanimous decision against former titleholder Zab Judah in an all-Brooklyn, N.Y., showdown at the Barclays Center.
"It's great for Shawn Porter because he is fighting one of the most recognized names in the sport of boxing," Schaefer said. "People know Paulie Malignaggi, so for Shawn Porter to go in the ring with someone of the name recognition and resume of Paulie Malignaggi, should he win, it would be a big feather in Shawn's cap. It would be a big win for him.
"For Paulie Malignaggi it's a tremendous opportunity to win another world title. It really is amazing. When I think back to 2010, when most people had written Paulie off after he lost to Amir Khan, he came to see me in Los Angeles and said, 'I'm not done, contrary to what everyone says. I really want to be with Golden Boy.' I believed in him and since then Paulie has had some of his biggest fights and accomplishments."
Before Porter's impressive performance against Alexander, few thought he would win the fight. In December 2012, he had turned in a disappointing outing in a draw against faded former lightweight titleholder Julio Diaz, souring many on his future prospects. But, two fights later, Porter outpointed Diaz in a rematch, paving the way for the fight with Alexander.
Now Porter said he is focused on making sure he keeps the title he worked so hard to get.
"I'm excited about this fight and excited to get back in the ring for my first defense," Porter told ESPN.com. "I was thinking about it last night. I've had [regional titles] and it was just a matter of winning those fights to get to the bigger title fight. Now, this is a matter of holding onto something, holding on to this title. I've been looking at Paulie's fights on YouTube and at his record. He has fought everybody and he's still trying to do it. I won't allow him to screw me and take me to school.
"I see him trying to beat me with his speed and trying to move against me. I know me and my father (trainer Ken Porter) will have a great fight plan consisting of a lot of things we did against Devon Alexander. I think it will be an exciting fight for fans. We knew what we wanted to do against Devon -- contain his speed and movement and limit what he likes to do. Same thing goes with Paulie. The difference here is because Paulie has so much experience, he's not going to allow me to just do anything. He's going to fight back. From round 1 to the end, it will be a fight of making adjustments. You have two guys coming in who really want it and who both legitimately have what it takes to win the fight."
Malignaggi (33-5, 7 KOs), 33, has won titles at junior welterweight and welterweight. He lost his welterweight belt to Adrien Broner by split decision in June but bounced back to beat Judah six months later.
"I've seen Porter through the years," Malignaggi told ESPN.com. "He's a young fighter, an improving fighter. He's gotten better over the years and is maturing into a good solid pro. I'm excited about the chance to win my third world championship. I've been through a lot of naysayers. A chance to win a world title for the third time is special and a motivator and something a lot people didn't expect from me. I'm here and I'm looking to make good by winning a third championship."
Porter-Malignaggi was made possible when the IBF approved Porter's application for an exception to his mandatory defense against Kell Brook of England. April 19 is 12 days beyond the window by which Porter could have made an optional defense without an exception, but that did not match Showtime's schedule.
The IBF granted the exception under the condition that Porter and Malignaggi agree in writing that the winner will make his next defense within 90 days against Brook, as long as Brook wins his stay-busy fight against Alvaro Robles on Saturday in Liverpool, England.
"We had to wait for the IBF for their ruling and they ruled, so the fight is on," Schaefer said. "Both fighters will agree with the ruling of the IBF. Whatever the IBF ordered is fine and both fighters will agree to whatever the IBF stipulates."
Said Porter, "Right now it's Paulie for me. After this fight, it would be Kell Brook. Unless something happens Kell brook, he's supposedly the next guy."