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Prizefight Preview: Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook

Photo: Esther Lin / Showtime

Photo: Esther Lin / Showtime

When you are competing in boxing’s rock star division, every accolade and credential that is brought to the negotiating table is a valuable bargaining chip in the poker game of contract negotiations. This Saturday night on Showtime, two budding stars will push all of their chips to the middle of the table in a high stakes welterweight showdown.

When IBF champ Shawn “Showtime” Porter and #1 contender Kell Brook meet at center ring in SoCal’s StubHub Center, not only will their respective unbeaten records will be on the line, but also their spots at the big-money table aside the likes of Mayweather, Maidana, Khan, and Pacquiao. So this begs the question: when the final bell rings, who’s gonna take that seat at the table, and who’s headed home with empty pockets?

To say that Porter (24-0, 15 KO’s) is coming into this match on a bit of a hot streak would be a huge understatement. If his dominant December 2013 title winning effort against Devon Alexander had taken place a month later, the Ohio Player would easily be the front-runner for 2014 Fighter of the Year. Porter’s encore performance in April was the most sensational of his career, as he steamrolled former 2-division champ Paulie Malignaggi over the course of four one-sided rounds en route to a technical knockout victory.

Kell Brook

The road to a title bout hasn’t exactly been silky smooth for Brook (32-0, 22 KO’s), who has had to deal with injuries, cancellations, and promotional issues en route to this Saturday’s confrontation. Still, the 28 year old British pugilist has done nothing but win, taking down mid-rank contenders (M. Hatton, C. Jones) as well as former title holders (Ndou, Senchenko) along the way. He has steadily carved out a fan-following in the UK during his 10 year pro career, and now brings his boxer-puncher style to the US in search of championship gold.

Porter’s blitzkrieg boxing style is an absolute nightmare for all prospective opponents, combining hard charging head shots with well-timed footwork. Outside of Manny Pacquiao, no other top fighter is able to close the distance and land power punches as quickly and/or as effectively as Porter. When he is on his A-game (which is generally the case), Porter also takes the time and energy to invest body shots downstairs in order to steadily break down his opponent and increase their vulnerability to haymakers upstairs.

Does Brook have the reflexes and boxing acumen to offset Porter’s über-aggressive approach at center ring? Considering his two inch height advantage and educated jab, Brook should have some success early on in the contest. If he is able to tie up Porter on the inside and keep his back off the ropes, he can potentially make things ugly and steal a few of the early rounds.

Ultimately, this match will come down to the championship rounds, when experience and ring generalship will become primary factors. Considering that Porter has taken on better competition and flourished in the spotlight, I can’t see him faltering in the late stages of this match. Expect a tough battle throughout, with Porter’s power shots upstairs ultimately making the difference on the cards in what should be an exciting battle for 36 minutes.

PREDICTION: Shawn Porter by unanimous decision, 116-112


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