By Cliff Rold
It looked like a good fight going in.
It wasn’t much of that.
It looked like it was a 50-50 fight.
It was…for about six rounds. That’s how long it took before Kell Brook, behind a long jab, more accurate punching, and using a wise variety of clinches frustrated and solved the pressure of Shawn Porter. It was a dominant second half.
It was a new titlist at 147 lbs.
Let’s go the report card.
Pre-Fight: Speed – Porter B+; Brook B+/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Power – Porter B; Brook B/Post: B; B+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Porter B; Brook B/Post: C+; B+
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Porter B+; Brook B+/Post: B; B+
Going into the fight, two things stood out in Brook’s favor. Brook has good head movement and that could be useful against a winging puncher like Porter. Also, Brook is quicker than a lot of people gave him credit for.
In the first half of the fight, both factors were at play. Porter, attacking to the body and making the fight, stayed in the game for six. He had to attack downstairs because he was often missing badly to the head. Brook’s chin is an inviting target and he doesn’t always tuck it. It’s a sucker bet, daring fighters in before he slips away. He doesn’t always avoid contact but Porter could be seen getting flustered at the elusive target.
Brook doesn’t appear to have much of an inside game when he isn’t clinching. He’s not going to bang away and doesn’t go to the body much. As he showed, against Porter tying up and landing the cleaner shots (both from range and catching Porter on the charge), was enough.
It wasn’t always pretty but it worked.
In a fight where both men suffered cuts on head clashes, it was the man who fought with his head better who won the day. Brook was a clear winner (117-112 on this card). That didn’t mean we weren’t without curious scoring.
Porter, credited for ineffective aggressiveness, got a draw on one card and in statement after the fight made clear he felt he’d won. He hadn’t and the other two judges got it right. Porter’s ties to advisor Al Haymon made scoring an interesting subplot going in as sometimes his fighters get strange scores. Two judges got it right this time.
Kudos for doing their jobs.
The fight brings back into perspective some of the hype Porter had picked up in his last two fights. He’s clearly become better than the fighter who managed only a draw against the chinny Julio Diaz in their first fight and couldn’t put him away in the second. He’s also not the destroyer he appeared in running over Devon Alexander for a decision or stopping Paulie Malignaggi.
Neither means he’s done. Porter comes to fight. He’ll have more chances ahead.
Brook will have stadiums.
Let’s be clear: Brook has already been selling tickets in the UK. Now, with a title in tow, the chances are bigger. He may think it’s a good time to thumb his nose at Amir Khan, but it doesn’t erase the possibilities. Brook-Khan at one of the outdoor venues overseas is a monster. Juan Manuel Marquez might want a shot too. A living legend like Marquez, if he would travel, could also put butts in the seats.
It’s an enviable position. Brook didn’t have to be pretty every moment of the fight to win. He just needed to be better than Porter and leave with his strap. Mission accomplished.
Now it’s his turn at the box office.
Report Card Picks 2014: 35-17
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]