By Sean Crose
The crowd outside the StubHub Center in Carson, California seemed rather sparse at first as Showtime began its weigh in for Saturday night’s IBF welterweight championship bout between undefeated Brit Kell Brook and Shawn Porter, the rising star intent on holding onto his belt.
Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos
The scene seemed to fill up with people quickly, however, which really was no surprise. For Porter-Brook is an interesting, solid matchup, one befitting a pay cable broadcast. Brook, who’s been first in line for a title shot since 2012, weighed in at 146 and a half while Porter weighed in at 146 and three quarters. Both fighters looked fit and sharp throughout the short affair.
“I’m coming here to win,” Brook exclaimed in his thick English accent after he stepped down from the stage. “This is it now, this is my time.” Team Porter, along with many fans and analysts, might ultimately beg to differ. Few, if any, however, are saying Brook doesn’t have a solid shot at walking away with the belt on Saturday.
In fact, Brook himself feels he’s going to knock his man out. Porter, he claimed, will be “getting took out,” on Saturday. “It’s going to be very exciting for the fans,” he added. He’s no doubt hoping it will be. Although he’s been a very successful and longstanding contender. Brook is virtually unknown in the states.
A stunning victory over Porter, while fighting both in America, as well as in boxing’s premiere division, would do wonders for Brook’s career, reputation and bank account. The thought of a virtual unknown bursting onto the scene would send shockwaves, not only throughout the welterweight division, but throughout the entire boxing world, as well.
Yet Porter doesn’t expect anything like that to happen on Saturday. The man was simply all smiles and confidence during the weigh-in. While Brook looked intense, the champion looked at ease. While Brook talked tough, Porter spoke in a manner that could best be described as easy going.
“He’s sweating out here,” he said jokingly of his opponent. “It’s not that hot, is it?”
Showtime commentator Brian Custer mentioned that Brook feels Porter is far too cocky. Porter, however, disagreed with that assessment. “It’s never cockiness,” he said, “always confidence.” Yet the champion made it clear he’s still the same asserted athlete who bested Devon Alexander before absolutely blowing out Paulie Malignaggi.
“Anyone out there trying to outshine me,” Porter said, “they’re in for it.”
Porter then went on to explain the difference between a good performance and an exciting performance, the likes of which Brook was trying to promote. “It doesn’t mean anything,” Porter quipped, “if you’re exciting if you don’t win.”
Still, Porter brought home the message that he wasn’t looking to disappoint on Saturday night. “I need a great performance,” he claimed, “because it’s what I ask and what I expect out of myself.” Interestingly enough, Porter’s great performance, should Porter deliver it, will be against his third straight quality opponent.
Indeed, the man’s choice of opponents clearly separates Porter from Danny Garcia, or even Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao, men who have taken what are regarded as easy fights throughout the past year. A fighter on the rise should always want to impress, and Porter clearly wants to keep on impressing the fight world.
A serious fighter meets serious competition, however. And Saturday night’s competition may well present Porter with a real challenge. “All out action,” Brook said. “I’m bringing it.”
If Brook does, it might be the fans who end up being the real winners on Saturday.