(Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime) Shawn “Showtime” Porter 24-0-1 (KO 15) was the favorite, confident he would be able to reach the taller Kell “The Special One” Brook 32-0-0 (KO 22). He was poised to give Kell a good thumping at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California. After all he took care of the slick, durable Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi in four rounds. Experts were siding with him. They dismissed The Special One’s undefeated record, pointing out only one victory came on USA soil. It was back in 12-17-2011, a 5th rd TKO of Luis Galarza. In their minds he hadn’t really been tested.
Porter planned to quickly and thoroughly check the quality of the challenger. He envisioned himself having the ability to cleverly duck under Kell’s leads and bouncing at least one counter body shot off Kell’s ribs before pivoting off to his right, nullifying Kell’s right, and at the same time inviting the man from Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK to turn to his left, right into more shots before he could reset.
The strategy would be repeated on the other side. Porter reasoned that if Brook wanted to win, he would be forced to lead, and that would create the opportunities Porter desired.
Several things ruined Porter’s plan. First, Brook was faster than anticipated and he was also smarter. The Special One faked Porter out of position. He double jabbed, counter jabbed, and threw effective one-two’s. Porter kept coming, hoping to scuffle at close quarters, but Brook would wrap him up. All that closeness resulted in a couple of head butts that caused abrasions to eyes. First, Brook sustained a cut over his left eye in the 2nd round. Porter was cut on the right eye lid in the 6th round. Brook’s prove inconsequential. Porter’s dripped blood and was more bothersome.
In the later rounds of the fight, all viewers had to do was look at each fighter’s facial expression. Porter looked gassed and despondent. Brook stayed poised and calm. Undoubtedly the judges saw it too. It was interesting to note the two judges from the United States had point scores in favor of the foreigner Brook. His own country man, judge Dave Parris, from Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK had it a draw. Hence the IBF welterweight title goes back across the pond with “The Special One”.
There was nothing special about Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell’s decision win over Sakio Bika. Their first scrap ended in a draw back in December of 2013, which allowed Sakio to keep his WBC super middleweight belt. Prior to the rematch, Dirrell was telling anyone who would listen that he was going to knockout Sakio Bika. That was big talk, considering that Lucien Bute, Andre Ward and Joe Calzaghe couldn’t do it.
The second clash wasn’t much better than the first. Both men fought ilke they had just climbed off a barstool. They had two left feet. They were klutzy and inept. After referee Jack Reiss broke up one of many grapples, he admonished both men, telling them to stop because it looked like S!@^*. Bika lost a point in the 8th round for a low blow. The whole fight was a low blow. It’s difficult to understand how either man deserves to be called number one. Reiss’ description is more apt. They both should be called “number two”!
Omar “Panterita” Figueroa, Jr. 23-0-1 (18 KO) had difficulty making 135lb weight limit for his WBC lightweight title, and it showed. He was a bit drawn, not quite as sharp or powerful as normal, which made for an exciting fight with mandatory challenger Daniel “Tremendo” Estrada 32-3-1 (24 KO). Figueroa, Jr. still had enough strength and skill to outclass the tenacious Estrada.
Figureroa would back Estrada up against the ropes and display a whirlwind attack. He exhibited everything from the Mayweather shoulder row to the Archie Moore cross armed defense. He would slip punches, duck under punches, block punches and snap away from punches. Unfortunately for Estrada, after most of these moves, there would be a corresponding reaction. It came in the form of punishing counters.
By the middle rounds, Estrada’s face was lumping up, but he was still dangerous. In fact, so much so that he opened a bad cut just above the corner of the left eye. The ringside physician was beckoned over to the Figueroa corner. His cornermen seemed to be very concerned about the cut Unbeknownst to them, the physician was even more concerned about the condition of Estrada. Matters were satisfied in a brutal fashion.
The now tired Estrada reached out with a left and failed to pull it back fast enough for protection. Figueroa easily got under the weak shot, and loaded up for a big right. He came up and forward, getting everything behind the blow. It exploded on Estrada’s jaw, and down he went. Some how he managed to beat the count, but Figueroa wasn’t about to let him get off the hook. He swooped in for the kill, reigning punches on Estrada’s head and body. Referee Raul Caiz watched closely as the first few ppunches missed, but within a faction of a second, the big shots started finding their target, and the referee stepped in and the fight was over. A KO win for Figueroa ups his records to 24-0-1, and he retains his WBC lightweight title.