Saturday night on Showtime, at the legendary StubHub Center in Carson, California, undefeated American welterweight Shawn Porter will meet up with another undefeated fighter, England’s Kell Brook in a fascinating matchup of up-and-coming fighters.
Porter was last seen dump trucking Paulie “Side Piece” Malignaggi over four brutal rounds in April. It was a revelatory performance by the Akron, Ohio native, one that immediately shot him to the forefront of young American boxers.
Malignaggi is years away from his prime, but it was still surprising to see Porter just smash through a fighter who is extremely durable. But was it a case of everything coming together at the right time for Porter, or a case of him catching a fading fighter at the right time?
Two fights ago, Porter took on Devon Alexander, and outworked the southpaw on his way to a unanimous-decision victory. And that is Porter in a nutshell–he can and will outwork you. He has a mauling, relentless style. It is sometimes difficult to watch because there are frequent clinches, but it’s extremely effective at sapping his opponent’s energy and his will.
Brook is a more orthodox fighter who has strung together a few knockout victories, but his resume isn’t exactly filled with future hall-of-famers. His best win arguably came against Hatton-finisher Vyacheslav Senchenko. Senchenko doesn’t conjure up memories of Ray Leonard at 147.
Can Brook defeat Porter? Or really, is Brook the truth or not?
The biggest problem fighters have when they take on Porter is that he lands hard power shots and then smothers any counter attack. Brook needs to be able to keep his distance and fire straight shots when Porter is on his way in. There are times when Porter is wide open for a counter, but we’re not sure if Brook has the stuff to pull that off.
If Brook lets Porter get inside, he has no chance of winning. Porter will maul, brawl and maul some more. If he can keep him at arms length, he’ll have a shot. He’ll have to catch the American on the way in and earn his respect, in essence, make him feel his power shots. Does Brook have the power to buzz Porter? Again, we’re not exactly sure.
Can Brook succeed in actually keeping Porter off of him? He does possess a nice jab, and he’ll need to be firing away with it all night in order to hold him off. We can look to his fight with Senchenko as a blueprint for what he should do Saturday night.
Against Senchenko, Brook stayed patient behind a stiff jab, opening the Ukrainian fighter up and slipping his best shots before finishing him with a wicked right hand in the fourth round. But Senchenko is 87 years old. He was once stopped by Malignaggi. Seriously, he was STOPPED by Malignaggi. Porter would have hammered Senchenko out of the ring before the fight started.
Indeed, Porter appears to be on another level at this point. For one thing, he seems to possess the stamina of a horse on amphetamines. He’s there in the 12th round the same way he is when the opening bell rings. And certainly, his competition has been way better than Brook’s. Aside from his fights with Malignaggi and Alexander, he went 20 rounds with tough-as-nails Julio Diaz.
Oh, and he sparred frequently with some guy named Manny Pacquiao.
In this writer’s opinion, Porter will prove to be a bit too much for Kell Brook. The feeling here is that the fight will be somewhat close for a few rounds before Porter takes over, on his way to a decision victory. If Brook pulls out a win, it will certainly prove that he’s the real deal, and will open up a ton of doors both in the U.S. and Britain.
If Porter is successful, he will find himself right in the mix of an absolutely stacked division, with a shot at getting the Holy Grail–a fight with Floyd Mayweather. Despite his lack of name recognition, he’s a young and hungry fighter. He, along with another undefeated American, monster puncher named Keith Thurman, might be the next heir to the welterweight throne.
Hopefully, the fight lives up to the hype and we get an excellent show. It might go a long way toward taking the stench out of the still-steaming pile that was this past Saturday’s Showtime card. Certainly, the fans deserve a win.
Some Random Notes From This Past Weekend:
Yes, Danny Garcia looked sensational. He was supposed to. It was a showcase fight. It’s what happens when you put an elite fighter in with a guy who has zero chance of winning. Garcia fought with absolutely no concern for what Rod Salka could bring, and we saw why. The fight should have been stopped way before that last left hook nearly tore Salka’s head from his shoulders.
You had to love Garcia’s comments to Jim Gray–“I’m all about fighting the best fighters.” When asked who he wanted next, Garcia promptly replied, “that’s up to Al Haymon.” Way to call em out, Danny!
Could it be? Lamont Peterson was WATCHABLE. The only other time I can remember enjoying one of his fights was when Lucas Matthysse spun his head around 360 degrees with that left hook. He actually made a potential showdown with Garcia pretty intriguing…
Vic Drakulich got right back into the mix after defecating all over the Brandon Rios vs. Diego Chaves fight, as he found himself on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights six days later. If he were refereeing Saturday’s main event, Porter would have already been disqualified.
Good to see Pierre Benoist is still as accurate and competent a judge as ever. One wonders if his strategy for picking the winner of each round involves huffing ether and flipping a coin.
Jim Gray continued his quest for ratings gold in his post fight interview with cancer survivor/Pirog concussion victim Daniel Jacobs. Word is that they had to keep the cameras raised higher than normal to hide Gray’s substantial erection.