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Rising welterweight star Porter to make Showtime tripleheader worth seeing

Shawn Porter, shown last weekend at Nevada's boxing hall of fame ceremonies, defends his IBF welterweight title Saturday on Showtime against Kell Brook in a battle of unbeatens.
Shawn Porter, shown last weekend at Nevada's boxing hall of fame ceremonies, defends his IBF welterweight title Saturday on Showtime against Kell Brook in a battle of unbeatens.Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Shawn Porter headlines a pretty decent Showtime boxing card Saturday as the unbeaten IBF welterweight champion takes on an unbeaten challenger, Great Britain’s Kell Brook, in Carson, Calif.

It’s a three-bout telecast, with WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa facing Daniel Estrada and WBC super-middleweight champion Sakio Bika defending his title in a rematch with Anthony Dirrell.

Showtime had a tripleheader last Saturday, too, but that card was more of a showcase for light welterweights Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson, who won easily in separate bouts that whetted our appetites for a matchup of those two, and middleweight Danny Jacobs, who scored a fifth-round knockout that earned him the WBA’s title belt and kept him on our radar.

Jacobs will be a guest analyst Saturday for Showtime, sitting in for Paulie Malignaggi, who is becoming the best analyst in the business.

Porter’s late-2013 victory over Devon Alexander lifted him into the welterweight elite, which is saying a lot, and made him a target for Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero, who needs a high-profile opponent soon. The problem is that Porter isn’t yet quite high-profile enough as an opponent to make that bout worthwhile for Guerrero, both in terms of money and the risk of defeat. But he will be.

Fighting Porter is a breathrough, on the other hand, for Brook, who hasn’t beaten anyone of stature

Bika, who lost to Andre Ward in Oakland in 2010, isn’t much fun to watch with his foul-prone style, but he’s a tough nut to crack and has remained prominent in the 168-pound division. Dirrell, of course, is the brother of Andre Dirrell, whose injury in Showtime’s fabled Super Six tournament forced Ward to take on Bika.

Figueroa is 23-0 with 17 knockouts, but you’d have to be a real boxing fan to recognize any of the South Texan’s victims. Estrada, a Mexican who will have a three-inch height advantage, is 32-2.

There are two other bouts of interest on the undercard, as unbeaten heavyweight Deontay Wilder and former lightweight champion Jorge Linares both take on oft-beaten opponents who should give them no trouble. Those bouts will air on Showtime Extra, which is available on some deluxe cable and satellite packages.