Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight
Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter defends his belt against British contender Kell Brook. These are two of the division's young lions, so this fight will impact some of the biggest bouts in the sport going forward.
Both men are unbeaten, talented and hungry to stake a claim to a spot at the top of the sport. This has the potential to be a classic.
Tale of the Tape
|Per Boxrec||Shawn Porter||Kell Brook|
|Record:||24-0-1, 14 KOs||32-0, 22 KOs|
|Weight:||147 lbs||147 lbs|
|Hometown:||Akron, Ohio||Sheffield, Yorkshire|
Porter is listed at 5'7" on Boxrec, but when I watched his first fight with Julio Diaz again, I noticed that Showtime gave his height as 5'5.5". So Brook will be the significantly taller man.
But the reach is nearly wash, with Porter holding a slight edge. The two are close in age with a similar amount of professional activity, although Porter's level of competition has been a notch above what Brook has faced.
Porter emerged as one of the sport's hottest young fighters last December when he captured the IBF welterweight title from Devon Alexander by unanimous decision. He followed up with a Round 4 TKO over veteran Paulie Malignaggi in April.
At 26, Porter has followed a solid path of development as a professional. He served a stint as a sparring partner for superstar Manny Pacquiao. After drawing with the far more experienced Diaz in December 2012, he made adjustments and won decisively in the rematch.
Brook's career trajectory shares some similarities. He also struggled with a more experienced opponent in 2012, barely edging Carson Jones by majority decision. But, like Porter, he came out stronger in the rematch, winning by TKO.
Brook's quality of competition has lagged behind Porter's, but his Round 4 TKO of former titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko was impressive.
These are two of the top emerging fighters in the welterweight division. It's always a treat when young stars like this face off.
Porter is an extremely powerful and compact welterweight with great athleticism. He's a tough pressure fighter, but his boxing skills and speed allow him to operate successfully from the outside.
Porter is an intelligent fighter. He's self-confident and has momentum entering this fight.
Brook is an athletic fighter with good speed. He throws fluid and compact punches from a wide variety of angles. His uppercut is a very good punch.
Like Porter, Brook has the benefit of great self-confidence and momentum. He's unlikely to be intimidated by the magnitude of this fight.
Porter struggled at times in his first fight with Diaz when he let the more experienced fighter control the pace and the tempo of the fight. Porter's well-rounded skill set has also caused him to try to do too much at times, rather than committing to a consistent strategy in a fight.
Brook often leaves significant holes in his defense when he is exchanging. A skilled counterpuncher will find openings to exploit.
Brook had trouble with his stamina when he was forced into a rugged, physical fight with Jones in their first meeting.
Shawn Porter Will Win If...
Porter did an excellent job against Alexander of switching between fighting on the outside and exploding into the pocket to apply pressure. He should look to do something similar against Brook.
Porter should move laterally on the outside to draw Brook forward. Then, he should use head movement and level changes to get inside and play the bully.
Porter is the physically stronger athlete, and he should make sure Brook can feel that. When they are in the clinch, Porter should push forward and walk Brook across the ring, tiring the Brit out by forcing him to carry his weight.
Porter should look for his big-scoring opportunities by countering Brook in the exchanges with his left hook. Brook leaves openings when he lets his hands go. If Porter can exploit them, he should be able to pull further and further ahead as the fight grinds on.
Kell Brook Will Win If...
Porter is a significant step up from anybody Brook has faced to date. So the Englishman is going to need to elevate his own game if he hopes to bring the title back to Great Britain.
Brook is going to have to return his hands to good defensive position when he is exchanging. Porter has a solid chin, and he'll land his counters even if Brook lands some himself, if there's a hole to exploit.
Brook is going to need to control the tempo of the fight by getting off first with his jab and overhand right. He needs to make sure he's moving out of range at an angle and not simply stepping straight backward. Porter will be moving forward on him quickly and will steamroll him if Brook's own momentum is already carrying him in that direction.
Brook uses the uppercut well, and it's going to be a critical punch for him to bring into play against the shorter man. Well-placed uppercuts could be the difference between winning and losing for Brook in this fight.
Brook is a very good boxer and has been impressive in his career to date. Even when he struggled in his first fight against Jones, he showed real grit and heart to hang on and grind out the majority decision.
But Porter is a different level of fighter. He's stronger and quicker than Brook and is a more skilled boxer. He's faced better talent than Brook, both in sparring and in actual fights.
Brook won't make this an easy night of work for Porter, but the champion will pull away in the second part of the fight and win a decisive decision. I'm predicting something like eight rounds to four.
As Porter's status continues to rise, he will start to become a candidate for a fight with Floyd Mayweather. Whether or not he ever actually faces the pound-for-pound king, he'll continue to develop into one of the sports' biggest stars.