Kell Brook is the new IBF welterweight champion after winning a majority decision against Shawn Porter on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
One judge scored the fight 114-114, but two others scored it 117-111 and 116-112 in favor of the 28-year-old Brit, per Showtime Sports:
Brook said the night was the culmination of a long dream:
. @SpecialKBrook - "I was 9 years old dreaming of becoming a world champion and now I am."— SHOWTIME SPORTS (@SHOsports) August 17, 2014
Many questioned the challenger's chances coming into the fight. They figured that Porter was going to defend his title with ease and walk out the champion. Instead, Brook never shied away from the occasion and was the deserved winner.
ESPN.com's Brian Campbell praised Brook for reaching down and putting together a special performance:
I doubted Brook coming in. But you have to love seeing a guy raise his game to that next level in his biggest fight.— Brian Campbell (@BCampbellESPN) August 17, 2014
From the opening round, Brook brought it. He used a measured attack to pick his spots and find openings in Porter's defense. He followed his pre-fight strategy perfectly.
Showtime Sports' Al Bernstein perfectly captured the contrast in this fight. Brook boasts more power, while Porter is the more energetic. Watching how those two styles clashed added an entertaining dynamic to the main event.
Brook looked the better fighter in the first few rounds. He was landing more effective punches while avoiding any major blows by the champ. An inadvertent head-butt from Porter opened up a cut above the challenger's left eye.
As USA Today's Bob Velin tweeted, the cut wasn't serious, but it wasn't the kind of thing Brook would want after looking so strong early:
Brook bleeding from cut over his left eye from sccidental headbutt. Not a huge cut but could cause problems. #boxing— Bob Velin (@BobVelin) August 17, 2014
Perhaps not coincidentally, Porter found his footing in the fourth and fifth rounds. His defending was on point, and he began connecting with a higher percentage of punches. His advantage was fleeting, though, with Brook coming back in the sixth and reasserting his advantage.
Sometimes you can steal rounds by being the more active fighter. In his win over Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard famously instructed his corner to give him a 30-second warning so he'd know when to throw a flurry of punches.
The champion was throwing a larger volume of punches, but not only was he failing to land a significant number of them, they also did little damage.
After eight rounds, Campbell firmly had the fight in Brook's favor, citing his impressive efficiency:
6-2 Brook. Clean and effective punching. Bottom line.— Brian Campbell (@BCampbellESPN) August 17, 2014
Porter's aggressive strategy also backfired a bit toward the championship rounds as he looked to slowly run out of gas. He never looked completely spent, but any sort of late-fight onslaught was out of the question.
In the last two or three rounds, you knew that only a knockout or possibly a knockdown would win him the fight. When neither of those came, he was doomed.
Not only did Porter lose his title on Saturday, but he also lost a potential shot at Floyd Mayweather. A win wouldn't have guaranteed him a fight with Mayweather, but it would have put him in the discussion.
Brook, on the other hand, can look to bigger and brighter things ahead. ESPN.com's Dan Rafael mentioned a battle between the British with Brook and Amir Khan:
The new champion said that Khan would have to get in line if he wants a title shot:
Whether it's Khan, Keith Thurman or somebody else, Brook doesn't have to worry about that now. Saturday is all about celebrating his new title.