Fight Pick & Preview – Porter vs. Brook:
Shawn Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) has emerged as a welterweight force to be reckoned with. The broad-shouldered puncher went straight through Paulie Malignaggi in his last outing, but now he faces a fresh test in fellow undefeated Kell Brook (32-0, 22 KOs). Brook has waited a long time for his shot at an alphabet world title, and now his chance finally arrives. Will he be ready for it? Read on for a breakdown of Porter vs Brook, and a prediction of how the fight will play out.
Neither fighter has suffered defeat yet in their professional careers, giving each man the kind of confidence that only a long undefeated stretch can give. This confidence is perhaps more obvious in Porter, who will fight this weekend on the back of two career-best performances. In outworking Devon Alexander for the belt, he proved he could cope at the highest level, and his emphatic mauling of Malignaggi was an example of the ideal that many espouse – that winning a world belt takes a fighter to a new level.
Brook does not have the same momentum as Porter going into this clash, dealing with myriad injuries which have led to pullouts and cancelled title fights with previous belt owner Devon Alexander. This means that, perhaps for the first time in his career, Brook is a genuine underdog. Some thrive in such status, but it is yet to be seen if Brook has that mentality. He was battered by Carson Jones in victory in their first meeting, and was hurt by Vyacheslav Senchenko too. As a result, it is likely to be Porter who is more sure of himself entering the ring this Saturday night.
Porter is the slightly smaller man here, and that will only be accentuated by the pair’s contrasting fighting styles. While Brook boxes in an upright fashion, Porter tends to hunch forward in a crouch, allowing him to make full use of his great strength and burrow against opponents on the inside.
This stocky physique was something Malignaggi and Alexander found difficult to offset, with Porter also showing little regard to his opponents punches as he comes forward, showing off a sound chin in the process. It helps that with his explosive athleticism, he bolts inside and into his own punching distance before opponents can tag him. Porter is also a slightly stiffer puncher than Brook.
Brook has had stamina issues in the past, most notably against the strong, come-forward Jones in their first bout. Brook ended that fight with a bloodied nose and exhaustion – an ominous sign considering Porter is also a strong, come-forward fighter, albeit at a significantly higher plain than Jones has ever been. These issues could since have been worked on, though Brook has yet had to prove that in the ring, and so we can only speculate on them having been resolved. Brook does have an advantage in hand-speed, although Porter’s overall athleticism likely negates that.
Porter’s brawling style may not always be aesthetically pleasing to the purists, but it is effective. His wide, winging punches are thrown with conviction on the inside, causing maximum damage to his opponent. Brook fights out of the famed Ingle gym in Sheffield, a gym renowned for producing a specific style of boxer. This style incorporates footwork, agility and fast punching, usually with some switch-hitting. This makes Brook’s style slightly less orthodox than Porter’s.
Brook picks his punches well and delivers them with sharp precision backed with good technique. They probably land with a harder thud than can be comprehended simply by watching them outside the ring, something proven by the fact Brook has disposed of more than two thirds of his opposition within the scheduled distance. Brook utilities a nice jab to tee up his work, while Porter tends to leap in with aggression to start his attacks. The most important factor here is therefore likely to be whether or not Porter can overcome the smoother Brook’s jab and get inside.
There are two different possible fights which could play out here. Should Brook box and move, the onus is on Porter to negate his jab and get inside where he can work away with hard hooks and body shots. Should Porter achieve this, the onus is then on Brook to prove he has the sheer mettle and desire to take shots as well as he lands them.
It makes for a fascinating contrast of styles, and potentially an explosive fight, particularly when you consider that this may well prove to be the toughest fight each man has had in their careers to date. Porter is in the form of his life though, and one feels that Brook’s peak may have come and gone due to injuries and time spent out of the ring. Porter’s harder chin and harder punches should therefore help him grind down a fading Brook, possibly after a fast Brook start, to a stoppage within ten rounds.
Verdict: Porter TKO 10