Southpaw Jack's

Un-Orthodox boxing blog

Khan to headline triple-header against Alexander

Posted by Jack Sumner on October 21, 2014

Amir Khan will take on Devon Alexander in a showcase welterweight bout in December, as he looks to continue to earn a shot at pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather. Khan-Alexander will headline an exciting triple-header at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on December 13th, with the card also featuring the Demetrius Andrade Jermell Charlo title fight and Keith Thurman against Leonard Bundu in an IBF eliminator.

Khan alexanderThe main event is a fight that’s over a year in the making, with Khan and Alexander originally scheduled to meet in December 2013. That fight fell through when Khan pulled out of the bout to pursue a clash with Mayweather this spring, in hindsight an unwise decision as Floyd ultimately elected to fight Marcos Maidana instead.

Khan (29-3, 19 KO’s) kept busy with a twelve-round decision over Luis Collazo on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard and impressed in his welterweight debut, dropping the veteran southpaw several times in a dominant display. The 27-year-old Brit looked more than comfortable at a higher weight and fighting for the first time in thirteen months, crediting improved punch resistance and the training methods of Virgil Hunter as factors in the win.

Alexander (26-2, 14 KO’s) rebounded from losing his IBF title to Shawn Porter with a ten-round victory over Mexican gatekeeper Jesús Soto Karass in June and equally for the St. Louis native, victory over Khan would see his name thrown in the hat for big fights. The welterweight division is as talent-laden as ever, with options aplenty for it’s top stars particularly in the Golden Boy stable. Khan’s team had considered bouts with Robert Guerrero and Josesito Lopez, before settling on Alexander.

Kell Brook remains a lucrative carrot for Khan if he defeats Alexander but fails to land the Mayweather fight, but the man who took the IBF strap from Porter may have obligations of his own in the new year. Brook is currently sidelined after being stabbed in the leg whilst on holiday following his world title victory, but will surely have an eye on Khan’s undercard come December. The winner of Thurman and Bundu will become mandatory challenger for Brook’s 147lb title and the match-up pits tough, unbeaten fighters together at different stages of their careers.

The 25-year-old Thurman (23-0, 21 KO’s) is one of the most exciting rising stars in boxing, an explosive knockout artist with power in both hands who has been putting a solid resume of fringe world-class opposition to the sword in the past couple of years. In Bundu he’ll meet a 40-year-old veteran with almost ten years professional experience in the ring, who’s chartered a much steadier climb to the top through years on the European welterweight circuit.

European champion Bundu (31-0-2, 11 KO’s) upset previously unbeaten British hope Frankie Gavin in his last outing, dropping the former world amateur champion en route to a decisive points win and adding Gavin’s Commonwealth title in the process. Thurman was last in action in April with a three-round demolition of Julio Diaz, in what was arguably his most impressive performance to date.

Perhaps the most intriguing clash on the December 13th bill however is the WBO light middleweight title fight between Andrade and Charlo, in what poses to be a highly technical affair between two young unbeaten fighters. Champion Andrade (21-0, 14 KO’s) made the first defence of his title in June against Brian Rose and thoroughly outclassed the Brit who succumbed to a seventh-round stoppage after two knockdowns and a continued onslaught.

Charlo (24-0, 11 KO’s), the 24-year-old twin brother of fellow unbeaten contender Jermall, scored his most notable victory to date with a unanimous decision over Gabriel Rosado in January and followed up with a decision over Charlie Ohta in May.

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Rematch a long shot for Smith

Posted by Jack Sumner on October 20, 2014

There was a time when it would have seemed unlikely that Paul Smith would ever earn a world title shot. A stalwart of the British super middleweight ranks, the Liverpudlian veteran had come up short in his two biggest tests, suffering stoppage defeats to prodigious talents James DeGale and George Groves. But following a career resurgence with four straight wins heading into this summer – including his impressive dismantling of Tony Dodson in their rematch last year – and a promotional switch to link up with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom outfit, the ‘Real Gone Kid’ received a long-awaited and well-deserved chance at the big time, with an opportunity to challenge Arthur Abraham for his WBO strap in Germany.

SmithSmith snatched that opportunity with both hands and put in the hardest training camp of his life for the battle on September 27th, before storming out of the blocks against the heavily favoured champion, edging the first two rounds at Kiel’s Sparkassen Arena. Abraham then found his feet and would command the middle sessions, landing the more telling blows, but remained typically inactive and the challenger rallied to finish strong down the stretch.

At the final bell, the proverbial knights in King Arthur’s corner could not have been certain that the home fighter had retained his crown. A draw was a realistic outcome from what had indisputably been a close fight, with either man able to lay claim to deserving the decision by a round or two. But as has often been the case on German soil, the judge’s scorecards did not accurately reflect the action that had taken place a few feet from their tainted eyes. Abraham was announced the victor by awfully wide scores of 117-111 (twice) and 119-109.

WBO president Paco Valcarcel even publicly condemned the scoring, assuring fans he would review the fight and insisting that Fernando Laguna – who favoured Abraham by ten rounds – “screwed up”. But the sanctioning body then announced that they would not force an immediate rematch, with Valcarcel taking to Twitter on October 17th to insist that despite the wide scores, the right man won the fight:

“Resolution on #AbrahamSmith to be notified on Monday. Rematch petition is DENIED. What caused controversy was margin of scores, not result.” – Twitter @Paco Valcarcel

The news came as a bitter blow to Smith, who was understandably aggrieved in the wake of the controversial defeat, yet the 32-year-old remained positive about his chances of securing a return bout:

“Gutted that the WBO aren’t making a straight rematch. I do believe I’ll get the rematch voluntarily, though. I’ve proved I belong up here.”- Twitter @PaulSmithJnr

That sentiment was echoed by Abraham, who informed media that he would be open to fighting Smith again, although it would ultimately be down to the promoters to work out a deal.

And that is where the problem lies for Smith, despite Kalle Sauerland also insisting he was keen on the Smith return. Given the fallout from the fight it’s the politically correct thing to say, but with bigger money fights on the table for the declining Abraham – who turns thirty-five in February – a second bout with Smith is unlikely to be a priority for a fighter with limited miles left on the clock.

November 8th sees an all-German super middleweight affair between Robert Stieglitz and Felix Sturm in Stuttgart, with the winner a mouth-watering target for Abraham’s next title defence. As German boxing’s biggest stars, interest in a clash between Abraham and Sturm has been widespread for years, with the prospect now a realistic one given that the latter has finally moved up from 160lbs. Abraham and Stieglitz have clashed three times already and done big business in Germany, where the public would love to see them meet again.

Money talks in this game and the likelihood of Smith getting another shot at Abraham is therefore slim, but due to his gutsy performance he has at least retained a high ranking within the WBO. A noteworthy victory to kick-start 2015 could propel him towards a second title shot later next year. Unfortunately though, he’d likely have to battle German judging again.

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Demetrius Andrade: “I want to fight in the UK!”

Posted by Jack Sumner on July 25, 2014

WBO light middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade made his first trip to British shores for Matchroom Boxing’s bumper ‘Collision Course’ bill on July 12th, in support of gym-mate Vladine Biosse who featured on the undercard against rising super middleweight prospect Callum Smith. Working the corner for Biosse, Andrade watched on as his friend provided a tough test for Smith, but ultimately came up short against the highly-touted home fighter, who handled the dogged Cape Verde native with great maturity and ran out a clear winner with a disciplined performance.

Jack Sumner Demetrius AndradeBut Andrade (21-0, 14 KO’s) – who last month dismantled Blackpool’s Brian Rose in his first world title defence in Brooklyn, New York – was the subject of huge attention from the boxing public during his short stay on this side of the Atlantic. The Rhode Island southpaw has a growing UK fanbase in the wake of his seventh-round stoppage of Rose and his popularity soared to even greater heights with the humility he displayed whilst posing for pictures and signing autographs with fans in Liverpool.

Following Biosse’s defeat to Smith, Andrade re-emerged at ringside to catch the rest of the action and was later joined by Biosse to watch Anthony Joshua destroy Matt Skelton and Tony Bellew set up his expected rematch with Nathan Cleverly. Almost as dedicated a boxing fan as he is a boxer, Andrade appeared to be enjoying himself at the Echo Arena and expressed his interest in returning to a UK venue in the future, hopefully on the other side of the ropes.

“I’m having a great time over here, the fans have been great here in Liverpool, I’d love to come back,” Andrade told Boxing Mad Magazine’s Jack Sumner. “You know, I’d love to fight over here, I’m gonna talk to the promoter Eddie Hearn and hopefully in the future we can make that happen. I’ll talk to Eddie and we can get it done.”

Andrade’s next fight will be back in the States however, as he chases the big names in his division and the likes of Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara, who clashed in Las Vegas just a few hours later.

“I think October (I’ll fight again), I’m looking to get out before Thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter to me (who wins Canelo-Lara) I’ll fight either one, I’ll fight anyone.”

The thought of Andrade fighting in the UK is a mouth-watering prospect for British fans, with the unbeaten 26-year-old American possessing the potential to go on and become a true pound-for pound great of the sport. Appearances from US megastars are few and far between on our shores, but whilst talk of Floyd Mayweather fighting at Wembley before he retires, or Andre Ward leaving home to fight Carl Froch are unrealistic, you get the sense that Andrade is a man of his word and his desire to fight all-comers, anywhere, is genuine.

Though he came out on the wrong end of a one-sided decision after being hit with Callum Smith’s heavy hands for ten rounds, Biosse echoed the sentiments of his countryman and went a little further to explain the desire to fight (again) over here: “You know what, the boxing fans here in Liverpool are really knowledgeable, they know their boxing. I definitely want to come back here and fight again. They appreciate what’s going on in that ring.”

They also appreciated both Biosse and Andrade, who judging by the attention they got in Liverpool, would be welcomed back with open arms.

 

 

 

 

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COLLISION COURSE COMPLETE!

Posted by Jack Sumner on July 25, 2014

Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly finally set up a long-awaited grudge rematch, as both men won in Liverpool on July 12th to secure a sequel to their bitter first encounter three years ago. The former light heavyweight rivals – now fighting at cruiserweight – are expected to share a ring again in November, but fans inside the Echo Arena on the night were almost treated to the inevitable fireworks right there.

Bellew Clev barny

Immediately after Bellew stopped Julio Cesar Dos Santos in the fifth round with a big left hook, the home favourite turned his attentions to Cleverly, who sat ringside, had earlier dispatched Argentina’s Alejandro Emilio Valori. Having to be held back as Cleverly – who won their first fight on a contested majority decision – taunted him from outside the ropes, Bellew then attempted to join his Welsh rival in the front row but was prevented from leaving the ring.

Once tempers had simmered down, the two were then separated by promoter Eddie Hearn during Bellew’s post-fight interview, but continued to bait each other with a verbal tirade. Both men have now had two successful outings as cruiserweights and settled into the division, with the prize on offer for November’s victor likely a world title shot in 2015.

Dubbed as “Collision Course”, the Liverpool card was essentially a prelude to the mooted Bellew-Cleverly return bout, with Hearn crossing his fingers at ringside hoping both his charges came through unscathed. But he needn’t have worried too much, as neither man faced a great deal of adversity in one-sided showings against their overmatched opponents.

Cleverly took to the ring first and initially received a respectful welcome from the home fans of his sworn enemy as he made his entrance to face the Argentinian Valori. A nice touch from a crowd that appreciates it’s boxing, but once the action was under way, the former world champion perhaps received too much respect from his opponent.

clev valoriCleverly (28-1, 14 KO’s) was in the ascendancy from the opening bell and dominated the first round, then in the second, scored a knockdown when he caught Valori with a hurtful left hook to the body after backing him to the ropes. The 31-year-old visitor made it to his feet and survived the round, but was gasping for breath and breathing heavily and from there, the writing was clearly on the wall.

He was finally put out of his misery just over a minute into the fourth, when the Welshman landed another hard left hand that dropped him again, and referee Terry O’Connor had seen enough. After the fight, as a parting shot to Bellew, Cleverly quipped: “Win your fight, I’m coming for you.”

Bellew (22-2-1, 14 KO’s) perhaps faced a tougher test on paper in Dos Santos, who had never previously been stopped in twenty-nine professional outings. But once the fight got under way, the Liverpudlian was immediately in control and looked comfortable throughout the first two rounds.

Dos Santos wasn’t so easily discouraged however and came back with some of his own fire in the third, landing with a couple of hard right hands and alerting Bellew to the supposed punching power that his record of twenty-three stoppages suggested. But his success was short-lived and after Bellew enjoyed a better session in the fourth, the pair exchanged left hooks in the fifth and Dos Santos was made to pay.

BellewBellew sent the Brazilian crashing to the canvas and although Dos Santos rose to beat the count, his legs betrayed him and the contest was waved off at 1:17 of the fifth round. Cue Bellew’s emotional outburst at the watching Cleverly and the pantomime finish that perhaps spoiled his impressive performance in the ring.

Sandwiched between Cleverly and Bellew’s performances was the latest outing of British heavyweight hope Anthony Joshua (7-0, 7 KO’s), who continued his exciting knockout streak with a two-round demolition of former world title challenger Matt Skelton. The 6’6” colossus has yet to be extended past the second round in any of his seven professional outings, with the 47-year-old veteran Skelton unable to take Joshua as deep as many had hoped.

In the build up to the fight, Skelton had taunted the 2012 Olympic gold medalist by comparing him to predecessor Audley Harrison, who also lifted super heavyweight gold but ultimately underachieved as a professional. But Joshua took it all in his huge stride and when he manhandled his more experienced opponent along the ropes – and almost out of the ring – in the opening session, it was clear that Skelton’s pre-fight assertions had had little effect on Joshua’s psyche.

He was bossing proceedings and took the first three minutes comfortably, punctuating the round with two big straight rights that drew telling smiles from Skelton before the bell. Skelton had some sporadic success with big rights of his own but they did little but boost confidence in Joshua’s ability to take a punch. Then in the second, the 24-year-old giant backed Skelton to the ropes again and unleashed a combination that finished with a big right hook to the head, dropping the Bedford Bear face first on the mat for a count of nine.

He barely beat the count, but it was academic anyway as Joshua moved in for the kill, a jab pushing his victim into a neutral corner before referee Steve Gray jumped in to save a giraffe-legged Skelton from further punishment.

The undercard featured a number of British boxing’s other rising stars, with the most notable standout being Callum Smith, the youngest and arguably most impressive of Liverpool’s four famous fighting brothers. The unbeaten 24-year-old took on American contender Vladine Biosse, who in his last fight had provided a tough test for J’Leon Love and backed by light middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade, crossed the Atlantic with ambitions of his own.

Perhaps the only things that Smith (12-0, 9 KO’s) had been lacking to this point in his professional career were rounds and a decent test, with the much-touted prospect dealing with every prior challenge with greater ease than his handlers had expected. But Biosse pushed Smith for the full ten rounds of what proved to be an invaluable learning curve and one in which the young Brit excelled, a mature and disciplined performance seeing him run out a comfortable points winner.

Callum’s brother Stephen was also on the card, staying busy with a points win over Mexican contender Pedro Navarette, as he awaits a world title shot against WBC super featherweight champion Takashi Miura. Smith won 78-75 over eight rounds and didn’t look his sharpest throughout a drab affair, but that can be expected with his world title tilt almost guaranteed for later this year.

One fighter who did look sharp however was Rocky Fielding, who could be on a collision course of his own with Callum Smith, joining his fellow Scouse super middleweight in the win column with a fifth-round finish of former George Groves foe Noe Gonzalez Alcoba. In what was probably the most entertaining clash of the night as long as it lasted, the two traded periods of ascendancy and at times both looked on the verge of triumph, but it was Fielding who ended matters when a left hook floored Gonzalez in the fifth and a flurry of punches forced the stoppage.

Elsewhere there were wins for Olympians Luke Campbell and Anthony Ogogo, who both kept their unbeaten records intact in scheduled six-rounders. Campbell got rid of some ring rust in outpointing the awkward Craig Woodruff 60-54 in his first outing for five months, whilst Ogogo impressed stopping Wayne Reed in round five after dominating from start to finish.

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Is Kell Brook ready for Shawn Porter?

Posted by Jack Sumner on June 25, 2014

Unbeaten British welterweight prodigy Kell Brook will finally fight for a world title this summer, after Golden Boy Promotions received the signature of the IBF’s mandatory challenger to fight champion Shawn Porter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Originally scheduled for August 9th, speculation arose earlier this week that negotiations for the fight had collapsed, with reports circulating that Porter was yet to sign the contract.

Porter-fist-poseGolden Boy’s Vice President and matchmaker Eric Gomez moved quick to release a statement claiming that Brook-Porter would definitely go ahead however, assuring fans that the fight would “take place within the next couple of months.” There seems to be a number of issues to iron-out, such as the use of random drug-testing, and there’s still no date confirmed at the time of writing, but noise from both camps suggest that confirmation will arrive imminently.

It’s not unchartered territory for Brook, who after a protracted rise to the higher-echelons of the sport seems to have waited an awful long time to finally nail down a world title opportunity. The 28-year-old’s attempt at realising a lifelong dream will come effectively two years after he initially earned his mandatory position, with a three-round blowout of Hector David Saldivia way back in October 2012.

That win gave Brook a shot at then titleholder Devon Alexander, with whom a meeting was scheduled for the 19th of January last year, but in training for the fight Brook sustained an ankle injury and the transatlantic battle of stylists was pushed back until February 23rd. Further injuries to Alexander and Brook respectively then ultimately led to the cancellation of the fight, with Alexander instead routinely defending his title against Lee Purdy and Brook’s future, at that time, left uncertain.

But the Sheffield star bounced back and having eventually gotten over the disappointment of missing his world title chance, returned to the ring to stop Carson Jones in a rematch, before signing off 2013 with a four-round mauling of former titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko. Those victories retained his standing as the IBF’s number one contender and following an eighth-round stoppage of Alvaro Robles in a tune-up on March 15th, Kell was back in line to face the champ.

This time however the IBF had a different ruler. Whilst Brook was rebuilding, Alexander scheduled another title defence for December of last year. Enter Porter, who upset the odds and wrested the crown from the St Louis native in surprisingly dominant fashion, with a bullish display of aggression and variety en-route to a unanimous decision verdict.

With the mandatory against Brook looming, Porter then scheduled a voluntary defence in the meantime, agreeing to take on popular former two-weight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi in April. In one sense an eliminator to fight Brook with the IBF ruling that Porter or Malignaggi do so within ninety days of their bout, British fans perhaps hoped that Porter had bitten off more than he could chew, preferring the 33-year-old ‘Magic Man’ as an opponent for Sheffield’s unbeaten hope.

Familiar with them since he fought Ricky Hatton, the Brooklyn native possessed a sizeable fanbase in the UK and aroused hope that should he emerge victorious, a fight with Brook on British shores would be a realistic possibility. There were many who thought stylistically he could pose serious problems for Porter, who in hindsight may have been flattered by his win over a potentially below par Alexander.

porter malignaggiBut if the victory over Alexander had been Porter’s coming out party, then his fight with Malignaggi was an unadulterated confirmation of his surest assets. Spiteful and venomous from the get-go, the 26-year-old from Ohio demolished his much more experienced foe in just four rounds, administering a brutal beating along the way. Admittedly never one of the sport’s true elite, Malignaggi had been a world-level campaigner for a number of years and fought a long list of the top names in and around his division. Nobody before had been able to bully him the way that Porter did.

Able to boil down to welterweight from a middleweight’s frame and vastly improved from the talented if unspectacular prospect he had once been, following his ferocious first title defence, Porter has suddenly been portrayed as a 147lb Mike Tyson. Brook has waited a long time for his opportunity and now it will finally come his way, but after Porter’s destruction of Malignaggi, few are envious of the task he has at hand.

A professional for eight years, many moons have passed since Brook (32-0, 22 KO’s) was first earmarked as a potential superstar. Hailing from the same Wincobank gym that produced the likes of Johnny Nelson, Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham and a fighter that a young Brook idolised in ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed, the brash and exciting youngster set tongues wagging when he claimed a Lonsdale belt outright less than thirteen rounds after winning the British title.

But five years have passed since then and it’s almost four years since Brook bested Michael Jennings in a WBO eliminator, which should have begun his assault on the world stage. Now looking back, the cut-induced stoppage of Jennings was something of a false dawn, with what seemed like a never-ending conveyor belt of preliminary bouts standing between Brook and his long mooted world title challenge.

It’s been the source of much derision, which is unfortunate for Brook, but understandable particularly in this fickle age where social media rules. Fans have become frustrated with his development and tired of the countless times when it was deemed Brook’s crowning was just around the corner. In his first bout with Carson Jones he was on the ‘Edge of Glory’, against Hector Saldivia we were told ‘This Is It’, but, until now, a world title shot has not materialised. Much has been of the fact that since Kell first became a mandatory, newly-crowned IBF bantamweight titleholder Paul Butler has turned professional and gone on to win a world crown.

Of course, Brook cannot be blamed for the collapse of the Alexander fight through injury, but there are those who suspect that the ankle ailments were nothing more than convenient get-out-of-jail-free cards for a fighter who felt he was not ready to mix with the best. The delayed announcement of the Porter clash has been met with jeers and eye-rolling by the anti-Kell Brook society on Twitter, who’ve made Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn all too aware of how they feel.

One man who could perhaps chair that club is Brook’s longstanding rival Amir Khan, a fighter with his own fair share of detractors but a successful world-level operator for a number of years. In Khan’s mind, Brook doubts his ability after some of the scares he has encountered along the way and isn’t, nor ever will be ready to win a world title.

“Brook-Porter is not going to happen because Kell doesn’t think he can win it,” Khan told BBC Sport in May, “I don’t think Kell has got the bottle to take a big fight like that – he’s always been all talk when it comes to the big fights.” There’s clearly no love lost between Brook and Khan, who offers a jaundiced view of his compatriot, but you have to credit that the former light-welterweight king has plenty of material with which to base his damning verdict.

If Khan and his anti-Brook army are correct, perhaps the doubt began with Kell’s first meeting with Jones back in July 2012, where he put was through the grinder and had to dig deep to survive a gruelling twelve-round war of attrition. Brook dominated the fight’s early rounds, compiling a healthy lead on the scorecards by the sixth and looking a class above the journeyman-turned-fringe-contender. But from there, it all turned rather sour.

brook_jones

Brook dominated the early rounds of his first fight with Carson Jones, but was put through hell by the American down the stretch.

It’s long been suspected that Brook has stamina issues and simply may not be a twelve round fighter, evidence of which began in round seven of what was truly a fight of two halves. If Brook had dominated the first six rounds, Jones was on top for the majority of the last six, breaking Brook’s nose in the eighth and down the stretch looked on the brink of claiming a stoppage in his opponent’s backyard.

Kell hung on in a reassuring display of heart if nothing else and at the fight’s conclusion was adjudged to be a majority decision winner, with close scorecards across the board. In the aftermath, Brook and his camp blamed poor preparation for what they saw as a lacklustre performance and a result that was far too close for comfort. Brook handled Jones easily in their rematch last year en-route to an eighth-round stoppage and ever since the scare on that summer’s night, his diet and conditioning has reportedly come under greater focus. Hopefully it was just that, a blip, a wake-up call and a lesson learned, but the worrying fact remains that a fighter of Jones’s calibre was able to cause Brook so many issues.

A skilful, dynamite puncher with terrific speed and reflexes, Brook does however leave gaps defensively and isn’t the most active of fighters in terms of his low punch-output. Though he may have run out of gas, Brook allowed an active pressure fighter like Jones to outwork him for long periods in the fight. Shawn Porter is leagues above Jones as a pressure fighter, not to mention as a fighter altogether and can match Brook in areas that Jones didn’t.

On the evidence we have to go on, Porter will be the aggressor come fight night, something that is routinely rewarded by judges particularly on American shores. Trained by his father Kenny, Porter is an undoubtedly well-conditioned athlete and again on what we’ve seen, would appear to trump Brook in both fitness and strength. He’s got fast hands, is vey mobile, versatile and can probably match Brook for speed. Although a quick glance at his record would not indicate a puncher, he demonstrated against Malignaggi that he has the power to take out a world-class fighter who’s always displayed reliable punch-resistance.

Another concern is Brook’s overall level of opposition up to this point. He’s beaten all who’ve been put in front of him and compiled some impressive looking numbers, but his biggest scalps are Jones and Senchenko. Porter’s victories over Alexander and Malignaggi ensure he’s been in with the better adversaries and not only that, but he beat them both convincingly.

Porter (24-0-1, 15 KO’s) will enter the ring as the favourite and rightly so. Particularly on American soil, the world title Brook has long been waiting for won’t come easy. But to flip the scrutiny, it’s worth noting that whilst the American represents a difficult task for one of Britain’s brightest hopes, there’s also plenty that can offer reassurance in the coming weeks.

Brook Senchenko

Brook stopped former world champion Vyacheslav Senchenko in four rounds in his biggest test to date.

Brook has had his struggles, but it’s not too long ago that Porter received the only blemish of his professional career, fighting to a draw with Julio Diaz only eighteen months ago. Forgotten in the wake of his more recent form and rematch victory over Diaz, it’s clear however that Porter isn’t the invincible beast that many are inevitably portraying him as since his win over Malignaggi.

Also, whilst both wins were impressive, the man who failed to qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympics team faced light-punching foes in both of his biggest fights. Alexander and Malignaggi between them don’t have as many knockouts as Brook, who took out Saldivia with a jab and clearly possesses world-level power. At his slick, sharp best, that power might be enough to dissuade Porter from bulldozing in and even if it doesn’t, Brook’s powerful counter shots are a priceless commodity against such an aggressive foe.

As with any unbeaten and largely untested fighter a question-mark remains. We simply don’t how Brook will fare at the highest-level. What we do know however, is that at twenty-eight and after a particularly long and winding road to the top, if Kell Brook isn’t ready for Porter now, he never will be.

 

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