Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy
On paper, two years is all that separates the careers of Kell Brook and Shawn Porter. But in boxing, 730 days might as well be a lifetime. Careers and dreams can be established, resurrected or snuffed out in this span. When it comes to the IBF world title matchup the pair will engage in this Saturday August 16, the storyline opens with each fighter vying for different degrees of recognition. Brook, a 10-year pro at 28 years old, seeks to finally cash in on a title shot that has literally been delayed for years due to injuries and questionable opponent decisions. For Porter, the reigning IBF titlist, Saturday’s fight represents the establishment of what could be argued as the most consistent run among the current welterweight champions.
“I have that determination to prove I’m the best.”
The above is the first statement made to this writer from Kell Brook’s mouth after completing a fight week media workout. He’s brimming with the confidence you’d expect from an undefeated fighter currently nursing a four-fight KO streak dating back to mid 2012.
A native of Sheffield, Yorkshire, Brook’s nickname of “The Special One/Special K” signifies the hope of UK fight fans to have a fighter that can compete on the world stage in the glamorous welterweight division, a distinction they haven’t had since Ricky Hatton’s decline post 2009.
Unfortunately, the last two years of Brook’s career have been filled with stumbles. In 2012, Brook reportedly turned down an offer to face then WBO welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley in order to receive mandatory status with the IBF. That move turned out to be a disaster – Brook saw three fight dates with then IBF titlist Devon Alexander fall through due to injuries (twice due to Brook, once because of Alexander).
Despite his recent failures in getting a title, Brook is relieved his title shot is coming against Shawn Porter and not Alexander. And no, it isn’t because he sees Porter as an easier fight. In fact, he relishes the likelihood of their bout being much more brutal than anything he could have experienced against Alexander.
Obviously, Devon Alexander is a good fighter. But he brings a lot of negativity by running around the ring during fights,” says Brook, who’s last in-ring appearance was a fourth round TKO of Vyacheslav Senchenko. “With Shawn Porter, you won’t have to go and look for him. He’s definitely going to be there and that’s more appealing to the fans.
“It’s going to be a tough fight with a little bit of everything. It will have it all and be a candidate for Fight of Year.”
Fans got a glimpse at Brook’s’ toughness and heart in July 2012 when he waged a bloody war with Carson Jones. It was a bout he nearly lost. Brooks’ broken nose spewed geysers of blood as Jones continually battered him during inside exchanges. Brooks’ stronger technical skill and early lead was enough to get him a majority decision. Less than a year later, he showed marked improvement in the rematch with his left jab, the power and accuracy of his right hand, and a newfound calmness when pressured to knock Jones down twice in route to an eighth round stoppage.
More than anything, that fight is responsible for Brook’s confidence.