Assessing Shawn Porter vs. Kell Brook

BY Michael Woods ON August 15, 2014
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The trend is not your friend if you are Kell Brook, who has jetted over from merry old England to show off his stuff Saturday next against Shawn Porter, who last year leapt up the ladder from ESPN perennial to full-fledged main evener.

Brian Rose. Tony Bellew. Lee Purdy. Gavin Rees. Came to America, full of brio and promises that this time, the Brit would do it, would upset the favored American.

Each time, the result was the same. Back to Britain with an L tacked on to their resume.

No one here is saying that Brit boxers are inferior as a lot, or that there is any sort of locked in routine which will once again play out at StubHub Center, and on Showtime Saturday night, when Porter puts his IBF welter crown up for grabs. But that trend…

Could Brook, a 28-year-old from Sheffield (Naseem Hamed's old stomping grounds) who owns a 32-0 record but one a bit more debatable than Porter's, as the 24-0-1 Ohioan owns wins over Paul Malignaggi, Devon Alexander and Julio Diaz, three pugilists of tougher grade than anyone Brook has downed. Or maybe not…Vyacheslav Senchenko isn't a bum, and neither is Carson Jones, an American who Brook has beaten by majority decision (in 2012) and then TKO8, in 2013. Brook last gloved up in March, and took out 17-2 Al Robles in Liverpool.

Brook has said that he got interested in fighting from watching karate flicks. He took up boxing at age nine, and knew that was his path. "Porter is a tough fighter, but he's in with me, he's going to know I'm special," said Brook, promising that IBF belt will be coming back to Sheffield. Some of have noted that in the leadup, Porter hasn't given off the same aura of confidence the man nicknamed "The Special One" has. I'm not sure that indicates much of anything, and in fact, might be a detriment to Brook's chances. Porter is a humble sort, quick to mention his faith, while Brook is an advertiser who talks up his skills. Me, I usually go for the more humble hitter, knowing that sometimes peoples' self hype is there to bolster their own insecure psyche. The stakes are immense; if he wins, we can see Brook having something Amir Khan, for one, would love. That belt, and we make fun of them in this diluted era, certainly is an attractive lure to fighters, who can leverage the bauble. Also, Juan Manuel Marquez has expressed interest in getting the winner. But let's not get ahead of ourselves…

If the Porter who imposed his will and low center of gravity on both Alexander and Malignaggi, darn fine boxers, I see Brook getting broken down. He will have a length advantage, but if the 26-year-old Porter can claw his way inside on the Brit, that becomes moot. When things are going his way, Brook dictates the space between him and his foes. His hands aren't lightning, but he's quick enough to land first often, and counter pretty well. His agility is fine, though the brand of pressure Porter can exert is more than Brook has seen, arguably. Brook's defensive reflexes aren't special, so we can expect him to need to shake off Porter's power along the way. Porter will need to be aware of the solid but basic one-two that Brook has command of. A left hook is in the arsenal but isn't a game changer, Porter should know. A lead-hand uppercut has worked against some foes, but against the pressurizing Porter, I'm dubious…Porter has the instinct of a pit bull oftentimes, and I can see him taking a chomp out of Brooks' hide. His punches in bunches, delivered right up in Brooks' grill, will be bothersome, I believe. Porter is a more fervent investor than Brook, in that his punches are usually delivered with more ferocious intent. I expect that to be the case on Saturday and for Brook to taste his first L. The trend will likely not turn out to be the friend of Kell Brook, in my mind.

He, of course, disagrees. Before the weigh in, Brook in a phoner, told me that he is indeed "The Special One," a nickname bestowed upon him by promoter Barry Hearn. He knows that many fight fans lump all the Brits in together, but declares that he isn't of the same ilk as the guys who have come over and lost. "I'm a one off," he said, and not cut from the same cloth as the Rose's, etc., he maintained. The boxer kindly informed me that he has a toddler, a girl 2 1/2, and one child due in January, when I told him he shouldn't please hold it against me if he heard cartoons in the background, because I'm with the 4-year-old, working from home today. Yes, he was pleasant, but Brook sounded ready to rumble. "I'm going for the knockout," he said, while admitting Porter is likely the best fighter he's scrapped with, and that he will need to try and control the pace, but will likely have to adjust some, to Porter's high volume and pressure.

What say you, faithful readers?

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Comment on this article

Skibbz says:

Brian the Lion was below the calibre of his opponent, and there's no shame in that. Tony Bellew was fighting at a weight which made him weak and uncomfortable, and then walked into a trap - and note that it was a Hatian Canadian in Quebec city, Canada who beat him. Gavin Rees will be Gavin Rees, respect to him for what he's achieved but at the end of the day, however long or short you cut it he's Gavin Rees. Purdy took a big step up and fought Alexander and came up short, he recently got beaten by a hungrier fighter for the European title in Leonard Bundu (aged 39 for those that don't know).

Brook has been Stateside in front of a big crowd and fought and won. He's been under the lights and now he's all business coming for the second time to claim what he believes is rightfully his. He is in shape, he is trained, he is ready to turn doubters into believers, and he will do it.

I will be watching from a hotel room on vacation, Kell Brook dish out truck loads of hurt on the bull and become the 147lb IBF World Champ. Kell has many attritibutes. Don't look to his previous fights against competition who in comparison to his boxing are rodents to the bear. Kell knew he had what it takes to beat those guys by only giving 60-70% of himself in training, for those of you calling him lazy - go call all the other world champions lazy too because they all did it. Even one of the best P4P fighters of all time Roberto Duran would neglect training when facing weak opposition, but he always got the job done.

And so will Kell. Now he's in the shape of his life, all those years of training, sharpening his weapons and fortifying his strengths, all the lessons he's learned in the gym and in the ring, all of them will come to his aid and pay off by rewarding him a world title. Just wait and see.

Carmine Cas says:

I believe that Porter will chop down Brooks, Special K's hand and foot speed will off set Porter for a few rounds but Porter's relentless power and pressure will get to Brooks. I will be ringside, and I hope for a great fight!

brownsugar says:

I have to support Porter since he hails from a place that's almost like being in heaven ....due to the fact that its only a few hours away from my own hometown of Columbus Ohio.

Porter has had a vision of becoming the best in his division and unlike other top contenders he has adhered to his goal by making consistent incremental improvements throughout his career.
He's been as focused and deliberate as a top achiever can be but when did he suddenly become a beast in the ring?.

Yes he out hustled Alexander and bum rushed a poorly focused Malignaggi who probably forgot he was no longer holding a microphone waiting on the make-up girl to apply some powder to take the shine off his nose.

However Porter is no KO artist ... He's a hustler that uses perpetual motion and nonstop foot work to out work his opponents.

His strongest asset is his physical conditioning and his tenacious mind.

To place Brook in the company of Brian Rose and Tony Bellow is an insult of the highest order and is an egregious miscalculation of Brooks abilities.

But we don't know anything about Brooks ability to stay focused under pressure or if he possesses the intangible traits to weather the storm.

Thankfully all these questions will be answered tonight.

Go Porter.... Do it for the bountiful state of Ohio!

Radam G says:

Brian the Lion was below the calibre of his opponent, and there's no shame in that. Tony Bellew was fighting at a weight which made him weak and uncomfortable, and then walked into a trap - and note that it was a Hatian Canadian in Quebec city, Canada who beat him. Gavin Rees will be Gavin Rees, respect to him for what he's achieved but at the end of the day, however long or short you cut it he's Gavin Rees. Purdy took a big step up and fought Alexander and came up short, he recently got beaten by a hungrier fighter for the European title in Leonard Bundu (aged 39 for those that don't know).

Brook has been Stateside in front of a big crowd and fought and won. He's been under the lights and now he's all business coming for the second time to claim what he believes is rightfully his. He is in shape, he is trained, he is ready to turn doubters into believers, and he will do it.

I will be watching from a hotel room on vacation, Kell Brook dish out truck loads of hurt on the bull and become the 147lb IBF World Champ. Kell has many attritibutes. Don't look to his previous fights against competition who in comparison to his boxing are rodents to the bear. Kell knew he had what it takes to beat those guys by only giving 60-70% of himself in training, for those of you calling him lazy - go call all the other world champions lazy too because they all did it. Even one of the best P4P fighters of all time Roberto Duran would neglect training when facing weak opposition, but he always got the job done.

And so will Kell. Now he's in the shape of his life, all those years of training, sharpening his weapons and fortifying his strengths, all the lessons he's learned in the gym and in the ring, all of them will come to his aid and pay off by rewarding him a world title. Just wait and see.


You definitely hit it with your prediction on "Special K." I was figuring from the jump that he would win and get robbed. I didn't take into consideration that "Showtime" Shawn Porter was from Ohio, not Cali. A U.S. West Coast fighter would've gotten a gift decision win. Holla!

Skibbz says:

Porter employed no method behind his madness. He's got skill and he's strong but against the best opposition who are equally strong, skilled and determined you simply can't bulldoze your way through. The other mans got arms legs and a head like you have and now it's time to box.

After the first jab rocked his head back and then he got tied up when he tried to rush... Porter got schooled by a Yorkshireman in his back yard!

brownsugar says:

Porter employed no method behind his madness. He's got skill and he's strong but against the best opposition who are equally strong, skilled and determined you simply can't bulldoze your way through. The other mans got arms legs and a head like you have and now it's time to box.

After the first jab rocked his head back and then he got tied up when he tried to rush... Porter got schooled by a Yorkshireman in his back yard!


True .....a guy only fights like that when he's afraid of getting hit and has no better way to avoid the punches. Props to Brooks and Yorkshire.

teaser says:

Brook wasn't going to let Porter make any waves on his pond…calm and steady he controlled Porters storm easily from the onset …good decision

stormcentre says:

Brook wasn't going to let Porter make any waves on his pond…calm and steady he controlled Porters storm easily from the onset …good decision


Brook's use of the jab was reminiscent of Forrest V Mosley; despite the overall fight having a different texture.

The jab was and is the way to stop a guy like Porter rushing in.

Jab, step back and feed in either the right hand or left hook; or both and catch the head rocking back (forwards from the jab) with any of the aforementioned punches.

stormcentre says:

I just re-watched the fight.

I actually think Porter is not being entirely unreasonable with his comments about the scoring.

Sure it sounds like sour grapes, but it's hard to score many of the first 9 rounds for Brook in my opinion.

amayseng says:

It was a very difficult fight to watch. I tried to rewatch it this morning on Showtime and by round 9 I was exhausted. It was sloppy, the clinching was preposterous and it was quite uneventful. It did seem though that Brook did more of what he wanted than Porter did.

Skibbz says:

I personally saw it as a bit of an exhibition of Brook's skill. His jab from the very first few moments of the first woke up Porter to a new level of boxing he hadn't experienced for years and it was evident in his face. The pin point accuracy of his 1-2's flustered Porter and for once in my pinion he started to sag from the 8th.

Also, as RG mentioned clinching is one of the most important skills in boxing. You don't fight someone like Tyson or in this case Porter by swinging it out with them. Keep them on the outside, once they're in grab and get what you can in until you're at jabs length again.

How many times did we see that happen to Tyson? How many times have we seen Bernard Hopkins employ this method of fighting? It's very mature and shows a high boxing IQ, boxing is about winning. This is also the difference between someone like Algieri who doesn't know about clinching and someone who is a well schooled boxer like Brook who does it with ease against the best.

Let's hope we get Brook vs Khan and Brook vs Thurman in 2015. The latter would be be good to watch.

Skibbz says:

I just re-watched the fight.

I actually think Porter is not being entirely unreasonable with his comments about the scoring.

Sure it sounds like sour grapes, but it's hard to score many of the first 9 rounds for Brook in my opinion.


I believe he Porter acted very immature at the post fight interview. He threw his toys out of the pram and complained that he got robbed. His demeanour changed and the loss has clearly left him very bitter. The tactics that he so religiously believed would conquer the world for him came up short and made him look like an amateur in my opinion.

He got schooled, this is boxing. The jab is the most important punch. Also he should have had at least one point deducted but the usually stellar Pat Russell let the rabbit punches slide. He kept coming forward attacking with his dome but again was allowed to employ that tactic without warning to stop.

His punches were wild, his defence sloppy and his jab almost non existent, the few times he flicked it out he still got caught coming in. There was one or two good leaping left hooks but nothing more. Also his lateral movement was again very poor. He was moving left and right but it wasn't affecting Brook in the way it should have.

I think we finally saw Porter's ceiling.

stormcentre says:

It was a very difficult fight to watch. I tried to rewatch it this morning on Showtime and by round 9 I was exhausted. It was sloppy, the clinching was preposterous and it was quite uneventful. It did seem though that Brook did more of what he wanted than Porter did.


Agreed.

Still, I am glad Brook got the decision.

stormcentre says:

I believe he Porter acted very immature at the post fight interview. He threw his toys out of the pram and complained that he got robbed. His demeanour changed and the loss has clearly left him very bitter. The tactics that he so religiously believed would conquer the world for him came up short and made him look like an amateur in my opinion.

He got schooled, this is boxing. The jab is the most important punch. Also he should have had at least one point deducted but the usually stellar Pat Russell let the rabbit punches slide. He kept coming forward attacking with his dome but again was allowed to employ that tactic without warning to stop.

His punches were wild, his defence sloppy and his jab almost non existent, the few times he flicked it out he still got caught coming in. There was one or two good leaping left hooks but nothing more. Also his lateral movement was again very poor. He was moving left and right but it wasn't affecting Brook in the way it should have.

I think we finally saw Porter's ceiling.


Yes - all fair comments as well.

Porter's style was always going to be ugly when/if some had his measure.

I recall you called Brook's win before it happened; so I can see your POV.

Skibbz says:

Yes - all fair comments as well.

Porter's style was always going to be ugly when/if some had his measure.

I recall you called Brook's win before it happened; so I can see your POV.


I did pick Brook because I had seen much of his ability in the UK for many years but when the fight was announced I had it fairly even between Porter and Brook. I believed it would come down to who could impose their style nad will upon the other.

As the fight grew nearer, I took a closer look at both fighters' preparations and recent fights and I came to conclude that Brook would most likely be victor. This was because that although Porter is a great talent with potential, in his last 5 fights how impressive has he been? The best performance was against a fading former champion who didn't have a look in from the moment the fight was signed.

That fight against Malignaggi fed Porter's camp (and his fans) hope that he could and would blitz through any opponent thanks to his sheer power and ability to throw punches for 36 minutes, where has all the talk of Porter dethroning Mayweather disappeared to? They believed in his athleticism to get him from the outside to the inside in one swift movement and land blows before the opponent could defend. They based their primary tactics off somebody covering up, not someone who breaks his attack with strong accurately placed jabs and tie him up when he got on the inside. Brook's jab was sublime all night and a pleasure to watch.

Their arrogance and naivety cost them their world title, and even in defeat Porter and his camp failed to realise and accept this which is upsetting because I believed Porter had what it takes to reach the P4P rankings. After his faltering display I have seen a ceiling for him and it's below the top P4P rankings. It's telling that against Diaz when he tried to box he got a draw and a decision, Diaz who has guts and experience managed to hold him off once and finished on his feet the second time round without going through too much trouble and winning a few rounds.

stormcentre says:

Yes - fair call.

There's no doubt that Porter and his camp were certainly arrogantly overconfident before the fight.

Choosing to train/prepare in front of Brook in an act of defiance and supreme confidence was a pretty audacious move on Porter's behalf even if it had not occurred after Porter publicly released comments alluding to Brook (supposedly) being not so special and most likely (due to be) the recipient of Brook's "going for the KO" fight-approach.

Good post Skibbz.

brownsugar says:

Agreed Skibbz.....Porter laughing and joking his way through the prefight hype at Brooks expense was the wrong approach. Also the poor sportsmanship afterwards isnt going to win him any new fans ...and there is hardly any reports on the web calling the decision controversial or unfair.

Maybe the message will get out in England that its possible to win fights without being a Bob Arum or Al Hayman fighter.

Maybe Frampton or Quigg will be one of the the next fighters to brave the journey to the states and test themselves against Cruz.

Somebody roll out the banner....Fair Decisions rendered Here!

Lol...

Radam G says:

Agreed Skibbz.....Porter laughing and joking his way through the prefight hype at Brooks expense was the wrong approach. Also the poor sportsmanship afterwards isnt going to win him any new fans ...and there is hardly any reports on the web calling the decision controversial or unfair.

Maybe the message will get out in England that its possible to win fights without being a Bob Arum or Al Hayman fighter.

Maybe Frampton or Quigg will be one of the the next fighters to brave the journey to the states and test themselves against Cruz.

Somebody roll out the banner....Fair Decisions rendered Here!

Lol...


Fair indeed! But with a twist and turn. You must not be from that state or residing there. I didn't believe no way in heck was "Special K" going to get a fair decision over "Showtime" Shawn. Then I realized that Cali is so diverse that most Yanks says that it like semi being in the USA. That it is not hardcore USA behavior except for home state dudes and dudettes.

It most like the U.S. places of Hawaii, Guam, Western Samoa, Alaska, Saipan, Marshall Islands, Puerta Rica, Yap and the Virgin Island. You Yanks have never thought of it -- I will bet you -- but 75 percent of Cali residents speak more than two languages and American Standard English as a second or third language. And Cali has it own English dialects -- SoCal and NoCal -- of English.

Showtime Shawn's cocksure confidence with an Ohio accent got him into deep kimche. The judges favorited the accent of "Special K," not that of Showtime. And that is not some jive. A fight starts long before entering dat squared jungle and shooting the first punch. And a lot of variables come into effect. Tone, temperment and way of speech are big time influences.

A southern U.S. accent Special K would have been ROBBED big time, IMHO! Holla!

brownsugar says:

I'm as shocked as you are RG... I JUST KNEW a robbery was in the making... Especially with the announcers playing dumb for most of the fight (since they spent a considerable amount of time riding Porters coat tails)
Finally Bernstein returns to reality late in the fight by admitting that Brook was landing a majority of the clean punches.
I braced myself for the home cooking.....but was pleasantly surprised when Brook actually got the verdict.

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