Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook: High Stakes Welterweight Showdown in California
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Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook: High Stakes Welterweight Showdown in California
By Ollie Odebunmi, Doghouse Boxing (Aug 11, 2014)

Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook
Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook
Kell Brook has been waiting for a title shot for an awfully long time. The Sheffield, England born welterweight turned pro back in 2004, and in compiling an impressive record of 32-0-0 with 22 KOs, is desperate to make his mark.

As mandatory challenger to then IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander, Brook must have thought his career was jinxed as scheduled challenges went down the tubes on three separate occasions in 2013. As someone once said, stuff happens; Brook twice pulled out through injury, and Alexander, once.

Brook finally gets his title shot against talented Shawn Porter, 24-0-1(15 KOs) on August 16 at the StubHub Center, Carson, California. Porter relieved Alexander of the IBF belt over 12 rounds in December 2013.

Porter made his pro debut weighing 165 pounds in October 2008. The ensuing years saw him move down the weight classes, winning the interim WBO NABO light middleweight title in February 2010, and the NABF welterweight title eight months later.

Porter’s steady progress up the welterweight rankings hit a road bump, when he drew against faded former lightweight champion Julio Diaz in December 2012. The Akron, Ohio native redeemed himself in his next fight, handing a painful one-sided boxing lesson to the previously undefeated Canadian, "Italian Sensation" Phil Lo Greco. He then posted a clear point’s win against Diaz in a rematch before winning the IBF title in his next fight.

Porter turned power-puncher in his first defense, blitzing veteran former welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi in four brutal rounds.

After fighting a plethora of trial horses and never-have-beens, Brook underwent his first gut check in July 2012, against hard punching Carson Jones. Jones’s record of 34-8-2 belied a tough capable fighter. Brook started fast, ran out of gas, and had to dig deep to survive a late rounds rally by his opponent. Matched tough in his next four fights, he recorded stoppages against Argentinian puncher Hector Saldivia, Carson Jones in a rematch, former WBA champ Vyacheslav Senchenko, and heavy handed Mexican, Alvaro Robles.

Starting his pro career at a higher weight class, Porter at a mere 5'7" is an explosive, fast-handed, bull-strong, yet nimble fighter. The taller (5'9") Brook is a smooth stylist who likes to set up his combinations behind a stiff jab.

Porter came out all guns blazing against Malignaggi. Will he try the same against Brook? Brook told Seconds Out he was surprised how quickly Porter blew Malignaggi away. "I've got to give credit where credit is due. He looked well stopping Malignaggi. He's never been stopped before, but he's in with a different cat, someone who is big, is hungry, unbeaten and can punch hard. He will feel my presence as soon as that bell rings.”

Talking to Radio Rahim, Porter believes his speed, power and quickness should see him prevail. He is enjoying being world champion and in no mood to give up his belt. "Going around the MGM, everybody recognises's been a long time coming, I know what it took to get to this point and will continue to do that. Kell Brook will be outmatched. Having the IBF title, I have the target on my back. I love a challenge, I love someone that can talk, that way I can punch them in the mouth and make them hush up.”

The welterweight division is laden with talent and potential big match-ups. Both combatants are unbeaten hungry fighters with high ambition to get in on the action and huge paydays.

With the recent gargantuan showdown before a crowd of 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in England between George Groves and Carl Froch in mind, Brook dreams about a defense against bitter rival, Amir Khan. Both have engaged in a war of words over the last couple of years, and a showdown in an open-air venue would come close to matching the Groves-Froch figures. Porter is eyeing a showdown against big punching Keith Thurman, and the biggest prize of all, sharing the same stage with the Money Man and pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather.

With such high stakes, neither man will be willing to give an inch. But I expect the powerful Porter, with the advantage of fighting at home to have just too much for the Englishman. But it would be no shock if Brook emulated the feat of another 147-pounder (Lloyd Honeygan) who in September 1986, travelled to the U.S to rip the title from the defending champion.

Ollie Odebunmi's boyhood hero was Smokin’ Joe Frazier. His book, The Last Great Heavyweights-From Ali and Frazier to Lewis and Tyson is available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple ibooks and Kobo books.

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