NEW YORK -- The search for a mandatory challenger for welterweight titlist Kell Brook is down to a very interesting possible elimination bout between former titleholders Timothy Bradley Jr. and Shawn Porter.
Bradley is the top-ranked boxer in the IBF’s welterweight rankings and was ordered to face the next contender, Amir Khan. The Khan camp rejected the bout so next up was Frankie Gavin. But Gavin understandably turned it down because he is going right to the title fight. Brook is making an optional defense against Gavin on May 30.
Next in line was Porter, who quickly accepted the fight.
“Both Bradley and Porter accepted. They have been ordered to negotiate,” IBF championships chairman Lindsey Tucker told ESPN.com.
Porter said he was excited about the possible fight, which, granted, will be hard to make because Bradley is promoted by Top Rank and Porter is with adviser Al Haymon and, other than the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao mega fight, don’t expect to start seeing them do business.
But, of course, if the sides decide to continue toward the eliminator it would likely go to a purse bid and may the promoter with the biggest checkbook win.
“I think that’s a great match, a great fight for TV and a great fight for my career,” Porter told ESPN.com on Saturday night, where he was ringside at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the Danny Garcia-Lamont Peterson card. “I’m definitely confident I can beat Timothy Bradley. It would be a great night of fireworks. We are both competitive, fast and strong. I work extremely hard and I would be ready for everything.”
Porter said he was hopeful the fight would be made despite the issues between Top Rank and Haymon.
“They’ll make it happen if that’s what they want to do. (Top Rank’s) Bob Arum does like me from my experience with Manny,” said Porter, who once served as a sparring partner for Pacquiao and met Arum during that time. “Maybe that will sway him. Bob has taken a liking to me over the years. We’re just excited about a fight with Bradley. I’m not underestimating him but I’m confident in my ability. I know I can beat somebody like Timothy Bradley, who is a great fighter.”
Porter said he has been told by Haymon that he is likely going to fight next in June, which is also the same month when Bradley is expected to fight again.
Porter (25-1-1, 16 KOs), 27, of Akron, Ohio, lost his title to Brook by hard-fought majority decision in August and bounced back for a strong performance in a fifth-round knockout of Erick Bone on March 13. Bradley (31-1-1, 12 KOs), 31, of Palm Springs, California, lost his version of the world title by decision to Pacquiao in their rematch last April and then was robbed in a draw against Diego Chaves in December.