Top prospect Shawn Porter had a rough go of it from Russell Jordan for a variety of reasons on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, but ultimately was the better junior middleweight, emerging with a unanimous decision that was closer to the two 97-92 scorecards than the 100-89 scorecard.
Jordan on paper didn’t figure to be such a tough out. He’d been knocked out a number of times, including in his last fight by light-punching Luis Collazo, and he hadn’t been in the ring in 17 months. But Jordan — perhaps benefitting from a rare eight-week training camp for an FNF “opponent,” a trend I can get behind — proved a little more formidable than his record suggested. His 6’2″ height gave the stocky 5’7″ Porter fits, and with his ducking and repeated tying up, Jordan broke Porter’s rhythm. What’s more, he had a nice short right hook on the inside that a couple times, especially in the 2nd, had Porter backing up or even on wobbly legs — a disincentive for Porter to get on the inside where he needed to be. An unwarranted point deduction for losing his mouthpiece hurt Jordan’s chances of winning, but didn’t prove decisive; geez, the thing only fell out twice, and once was from a big left hook by Porter, so it’s not like the guy was trying to get a reprieve.
The 22-year-old Porter, for his part, started way too hot, perhaps feeling the pressure of being in a televised main event before his hometown Cleveland fans. He was bouncing around needlessly, which made it easier for Jordan to anticipate when he would stop and throw, and he kept his hands too low, which made him easier to hit. But Porter had a big hand speed advantage, and as the fight wore on and he settled down, he finally began finding his target more reliably, winning most of the late rounds definitively compared to a number of difficult-to-score early rounds. He also fought well through a cut, always a good sign.
Maybe people will look at this as a setback for Porter, but I won’t. This was a learning experience. This was an opportunity to find out what he needed to work on, and now he should know a bit. Every prospect needs to get tested. Just because it came earlier for Porter than expected doesn’t make it a bad thing — his opponent proved to have more mettle than expected as much as Porter proved that he’s got some holes in his game.
On the undercard, late-starting 27-year-old welterweight prospect Lanard Lane looked very good against his own game opponent, Martin Tucker. Lane scored a unanimous decision that should have been wide but was fairly close on the scorecards (77-75, 78-74, 80-71), which maybe had something to do with Tucker being from Toledo. The fight became increasingly taxing on Tucker, to the point that maybe someone should have stopped it in the 7th round, when Lane was really putting on a combination-punching exhibit. Tucker was tough and never fought like he was trying to survive or like he thought he was going to lose, and I’d like to see him (and Jordan, too) get himself another good payday because of his effort. Lane fought with a ton of poise in his second televised undercard appearance, the first being a knockout win on ShoBox. Lane may not have a whole bunch of natural power, but he’s got speed and he’s very accurate, and he’s a go-getter without taking unnecessary risks, which was too much for Tucker. This Lane fellow’s worth keeping an eye on.