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Rising welterweight star Porter to make Showtime tripleheader worth seeing

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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.