BOXING CLEVER: Kell Brook (left) in action against Hector Saldivia
FINALLY, FOLLOWING a rollercoaster 18 months of injuries, accusations and cancellations, Kell ‘The Special One’ Brook will get to live out his childhood dream by contesting for the world welterweight title against ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter on August 16 at the StubHub Centre in Carson, California.
It’s been nearly two years since the Sheffield boxer was first named mandatory challenger for the IBF title.
During that spell three scheduled bouts against former champ Devon Alexander failed to materialise due to injuries to both men.
Following Brook’s latest setback (a fractured metatarsal), Alexander ‘the Great’ moved on and subsequently lost his title to up and coming Ohio native Shawn Porter.
Up until that point, Porter had yet to register a win of any real significance and despite being a former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao, came into the fight as a clear underdog expected to lose to the slick southpaw.
However, against expectations, Porter utilised his physical advantages to rough up, hustle and basically bully his way to a 12 round unanimous decision.
Many observed that he fought using the blueprint created by Timothy Bradley who at that point had been the only other fighter to defeat Alexander.
Although this title winning victory caught public attention, it was during his first title defence in April where ‘Showtime’ truly made his mark sending out a statement and announcing his arrival on the world stage.
It wasn’t so much of a surprise that Porter was able to beat Paulie Malignaggi, but more to do with the manner and brutal fashion of the Tyson-esque four round demolition.
The durable Malignaggi had previously shared the ring with future hall of famers such as Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan and more recently Adrien Broner.
However, no fighter had ever come close to giving him the beating he received at the hands of the unorthodox and offensive Porter, who literally sent the overwhelmed former champion through the ropes and onto the ring apron before the contest was halted.
The surge in hype around Porter which has followed the Malignaggi win has led many to totally dismiss the chances and credentials of Brook.
A number of boxing writers (particularly in the US) have instead chosen to hail their new golden boy as the future of American boxing whilst gathering excitement about a potential future match-up between Porter and pound for pound king Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather.
For Brook, who is relatively unknown in the US, this encounter is undoubtedly a chance for him to catapult himself onto the world stage to instant stardom.
He is also aware of the opportunity victory could provide in setting up a potentially huge title fight on British soil (possibly at Wembley Stadium) against local rival Khan.
"I know that this is the key to Fort Knox. It's a massive money fight out there, not just Amir Khan but international fights like Mayweather, Pacquiao. I think people in America and around the world will take note after beating Shawn Porter."
‘The Special One’ comes into the fight fit and in good form with a still unblemished record from 32 professional fights.
He’s currently on a streak of four consecutive stoppages including a fourth round KO of former world champion and Ricky Hatton conqueror Vyacheslav Senchenko.
“I think that he knows that he’s going in with a guy who is 32-0, and who is passionate about becoming the world champion. I’m a big welterweight,” said Brook.
“I’m strong. I’m determined, and I think that he can see it in my eyes that I’m not coming to lay down. I’m going to lay it all on the line. I’m coming to get that title, and he knows that.”
In a recent international media conference call Porter retorted: “I think I have the edge on Brook with everything.
“I’m faster than he is, stronger than he is, quicker than he is, more athletic, and if you put all that in one fight, I’m going to be the winner.”
In a potential candidate for fight of the year featuring two characters from opposite sides of the pond both yet to taste defeat, somebody’s zero will have to go on August 16 in Carson, California.