Shawn Porter, 26 year old IBF welterweight title holder, will take his talents down to South Bay when he meets “The Special One” Kell Brook on August 16th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Brook is 32(22)-0 and will be challenging for his first world title despite being a mandatory challenger for 4 years.
Kell Brook initially became a mandatory challenger for the WBO welterweight title back in 2010. At the time, Manny Pacquiao held the WBO title and Brook was only a domestic welterweight with promise. Nothing ever came of Brook being WBO’s mandatory contender and away the status went. In 2012, he fought Carson Jones in yet another eliminator, this time for the IBF’s title that hard hitting Randall Bailey held.
Brook would win a controversial, however I believe correct, majority decision over Jones. Much of the controversy came from Jones essentially giving away the first six rounds before coming on strong in the second half. Jones worked Brook’s body, broke Brook’s nose, and just narrowly lost a decision he no doubt could’ve taken if he’d have started fighting earlier.
Brook stopped Jones in an uncompetitive rematch and then won another IBF title eliminator against former welterweight title holder Vyacheslav Senchenko who was coming off a win against Ricky Hatton, but don’t forget, was previously stopped (and lost his title) by welterweight destroyer Paulie Malignaggi.
Brook’s lukewarm opposition has him a clear underdog. Shawn Porter is coming off 2 big wins against legit welterweight opponents. First was his upset of Devon Alexander. Prior to that fight, many sighed and scoffed that Alexander was avoiding a fight with Amir Khan or Robert Guerrero was trying to take an easy fight with then unknown Shawn Porter. At the end of the 2nd round, everyone knew Porter’s name and after 12 rounds Porter was officially welcomed to the welterweight division.
He followed it up by destroying iron-chinned and iron-willed Paulie Malignaggi. Many thought Porter would be outboxed considering Malignaggi’s experience with come forward fighters. Porter ran through Malignaggi and stopped him 4 rounds. A prime Miguel Cotto couldn’t even stop Malignaggi. Porter broke Malignaggi. It’s hard to imagine that Porter won’t be able to get to Brook.
Porter is a compact fighter with an explosive first step. He can effectively lead with hard punches that have caught a lot of opponents by surprise. Brook is fast, but I don’t think he’s got that kind of quickness to avoid getting caught.
Porter is going to place a lot of pressure on Brook and force Brook to make him respect him. If Brook can’t get it, Porter will abandon all defense and go in for the kill. Porter’s got good conditioning and Brook has been known to fade. All the variable are lining up and point to Porter winning big.
And really, Porter needs to win big. Porter is emerging as a real force at welterweight and he’s already got Floyd Mayweather in his sights. Sure, there’s the fight with Keith Thurman that everyone wants to see, but Porter just may be the closest thing we’re going to get to a prime Manny Pacquiao. Not so much style-wise, but the explosive, raw aggression that Porter displays is reminiscent of the Pacquiao with the killer instinct.
If it’s not Mayweather, there are still plenty of good options for Porter at welterweight. There’s Robert Guerrero, a Devon Alexander rematch, Amir Khan, and of course… Keith Thurman.
For Brook, a win puts him in the driver seat. He can insert himself as a crucial piece of the Mayweather puzzle for Amir Khan. A title holding Brook makes Khan almost have to accept a lucrative domestic fight with Brook. There’s already a big demand for the Brits to face each other, and with a title added on and the already existing bad blood between the two, it could rival the Froch-Groves rematch. Should Khan beat Brook on that stage (whether it’s in front of 80,000 or not) he offers the chance of a unification fight in front of 100,000 British fans to Floyd Mayweather. That’s an option Mayweather can’t turn down.
For Brook, a win over Porter would instantly elevate him as one of the premier welterweights in the world. Should he get past Khan, he himself will no doubt be in the running for a shot at Mayweather. Let’s face it, Porter will be the tougher challenger Brook. Brook’s got the style to beat Khan. All he’s gotta do is get past Porter. Easy for me to say.