Kell Brook had to sweat it out before the scores were read, but in the end, he left the StubHub Center this evening as the new IBF welterweight world champion, beating Shawn Porter by majority decision on scores of 116-112, 117-111, and 114-114. BLH had it 116-112 for Brook.
Brook (33-0, 22 KO) showed he was ready for the world stage with this win, traveling abroad to win a world title in his first opportunity. At 29, Brook has been waiting since he first won an eliminator fight in 2012, having to win another one last year after injuries kept him from a winter and then spring 2013 date with Devon Alexander, who later lost the belt to Porter (24-1-1, 15 KO).
It was a tough night for Porter, 26, whose aggression wasn't effective, as he lunged constantly, missed a ton of shots, and got picked off with jabs and counter shots from Brook. That's not to say it was a truly sterling performance for Brook, either, as the fight certainly lacked grace. Aside from counter shots, and maybe even more than those, Brook's strongest asset in this fight was his ability to smother Porter, often clinching him when he'd get in close. To Brook's credit, it worked and was smart. And Porter, it seemed, let himself simply get too far inside -- a half-step back, and his work might have wound up tidier, even if Brook did intend to hold.
"20 years since I was a little boy, being nine years old, dreaming of being world champion. Now I'm champion of the world. It's unbelievable," Brook told Showtime's Jim Gray after the fight. "I'm normally a slick fighter. It might have been scrappy at times, but I'm the champion."
Both men suffered cuts in the bout, with Brook's seemingly less severe and/or dealt with better by his corner. "It didn't bother me at all," Brook said of the cut. "I kept calm, listened to my corner, I did what I needed to do tonight. I've come here and took it off him in his backyard."
Porter didn't agree with the judges' decision, but also didn't say that he was robbed, or go into any hysterics over the scoring.
"Too much went on tonight for me to give my final conclusion. I will say that I think I'm still the champion. I fought like a champion, and I don't think he beat the champion tonight," Porter said to Gray.
"I thought I was effective with my attack," he added. "He was ready for it. He did hold a substantial amount tonight. Giving no excuses at this point. He took my belt tonight. I want the rematch. I'll fight him wherever he wants next to take it from him."
Porter gave the typical answer when asked what was next, saying he'd learn from this loss and come back better than he was tonight.
"Tonight, we didn't get it all right, but next time we will get it all right," he said. "We'll come back stronger and we'll win the next one."
For Kell Brook, it's affirmation that his hard work has been worth it, and that he truly is as good as advertised.
"It's been a long time coming, but it's worth it, let me tell you. Training hard, going to bed early, sacrificing for this moment now. It's worth it, ten times over."