It’s probably the best weight division in boxing. Notable welterweights include the sport’s biggest stars, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, as well as a slew of top-level talent.
Juan Manuel Marquez, Tim Bradley, Marcos Maidana, Keith Thurman, Amir Khan and Devon Alexander fight there.
The list goes on and on and looks like it will even be added to soon. Junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia will move up eventually as will Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson and Ruslan Provodnikov.
Welterweight is stacked, and Shawn Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) just might be the future of it. That’s how good the 26-year-old looked against Paulie Malignaggi on Saturday.
Porter ran right through Malignaggi like he wasn’t even in the ring with him. It was akin to watching the star senior football player tackle a scrawny freshman benchwarmer. It was a pit bull versus a toy poodle. It was a parent spanking a child.
But Malignaggi’s no benchwarmer. He’s not a toy poodle or a child either, though as far as the latter goes, his outside-the-ring antics might lead one to believe otherwise sometimes.
No, Malignaggi is a solid fighter, a pro’s pro who has been in the ring with some of the very best fighters of his generation. No one had done this to him before. No one.
Porter knocked him out in just four rounds and dominated every bit of it.
Porter looks to be on his way to the top of the sport. He has all the qualities outside the ring his handlers and marketers could hope for. He’s genuinely kind, affable and accommodating to media.
He smiles and talks to fans. He takes pictures with them. He doesn’t treat them like second-class citizens.
He comes off as the nice and intelligent sort. Boxers aren’t always this way, for it’s a violent sport with the main intent of inflicting physical harm on the opponent. Nice guys usually don’t make it in that kind of sport. Neither do those smart enough to know how terribly dangerous it is and how they could probably make a better living doing something else.
But there’s a special breed of fighter who turns from an angel to a demon once the bell rings. His smile turns to a frown and what moments ago looked like someone you could pal around with becomes the scariest person in the room.
Porter looks to be this type of fighter.
Make no mistake. Porter isn’t some half-winded brawler. He has real skill and it shows. His last two fights, in fact, were good examples of Porter’s intelligence as a fighter.
Against Devon Alexander in December, Porter proved he could outbox a slick boxer. He outthought and outworked Alexander of 12 rounds to become the IBF welterweight titleholder.
He was even more impressive against Malignaggi.
Porter used a murderous jab to rock Malignaggi back on his heels. Once off-balance, Porter threw hard, smart combinations at him.
Other times, Porter moved away from Malignaggi. He used good footwork to create opportunities for him to explode at Malignaggi and then did so with ferocious intent.
Porter is skilled and smart in his approach, but he’s also the type to throw virtually every punch as if his life depended on it.
Malignaggi had no answer for Porter, and it’s beginning to look as if that might be the case for most all of Porter’s future opponents.
Porter’s one of the most physically gifted athletes at welterweight and he seems to be getting better and better each time out.
According to ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, the IBF has now ordered Porter to fight England’s Kell Brook next. Brook is a talented, undefeated prospect who has fast hands and flashy feet.
A win over Brook would cement Porter as a legitimate contender to become the face of the welterweight division once division stalwarts Mayweather and Pacquiao move on to greener and less violent pastures than boxing.
That, or it gives him a shot to force them into those pastures of retirement himself.
Don’t be surprised if Porter becomes boxing’s next big thing.
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