Shawn Porter, fighting frenetically but seldom effectively, lost his IBF welterweight title Saturday to Kell Brook by majority decision in Carson, Calif., on Showtime. The scorecards read 114-114, 117-111, 116-112.
“I kept calm, listened to my corner, and did what I had to do,” Brook said.
It was a disappointing bout, regardless of whether you had been putting much stock in Porter’s eminence.
Brook (33-0) landed decidedly more clean shots in the bout, often with counter punches, and also landed more jabs. Porter (24-1-1) landed body shots and obstructed shots that often hit Brook in the back of the head.
It was clear that the stubby champion would have trouble getting inside, and thus the frenetic pace he set in the first half of the fight as Porter tried to discombobulate Brook to create opportunities.
Although Brook was cool under fire, often jabbing Porter as the champion lunged in, and Brook won the first two rounds, the challenger was also holding Porter on almost every lunge, which may have been enough to earn Porter the third, fourth and fifth. It appeared Porter intended to fight more conventionally once the roughhousing made an impact and he could impose his will.
Porter began landing the occasional left hook, and by the sixth round he seemed to be gaining control.
But that turned out to be the only round Porter unquestionably won, as Brook continued to land cleaner punches. The Briton stole the seventh round with a three-punch combination punctuated by a big right that sent Porter into retreat.
For the next four rounds, Porter slowed down and Brook was able to control the bout conventionally from outside. Although Brook was still holding too much (and was never warned by referee Pat Russell), Porter began to hold in the eighth, too.
Porter tried to come on strong early in the 11th, landing three or four left hooks, but in the final minute of the round, Brook was the one landing punches. Although the 12th round was much like the third through fifth and was probably won by Porter, Brook had mounted too big a lead.
“I think I was effective in my attack, and he did hold a lot,” Porter said.
Indeed, Brook wasn’t all that mesmerizing, and it wasn’t clear how well he would do against the other welterweights in the picture. He mentioned Keith Thurman, who was a ringside. Brook and Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero would appear to be an even match.
Brook did not propose a bout with Guerrero. Nor did he express interest in fellow Briton Amir Khan, as Thurman did in an interview from his seat.
“I think Amir Khan can get in the queue now,” Brook said. “I’m top dog in England.”