Usually, fighters will segregate themselves from their opponents while they train to do battle.
So it was somewhat strange to be at Barry’s Boxing on Wednesday and see Kell Brook inside the ring hitting the mitts while no less than 30 feet away stood Shawn Porter, shadow-boxing in front of a mirror.
The two are scheduled to meet Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., where Porter will try to retain his International Boxing Federation welterweight title and remain undefeated.
“I’m different,” Porter said when asked if he was offended by Brook sharing the gym for a media day promotional event. “I have selective hearing and selective vision. I hardly noticed he was here.”
Later, the scene was reversed as Porter climbed between the ropes and worked with his father and trainer Kenny while Brook headed to the back of the gym and did some interviews. There was no dialogue between the two, no confrontations and no incidents.
“It’s all about staying focused on the task,” said Porter, who is 24-0-1 with 15 knockouts and will be making the second defense of the title he won last Dec. 7 when he beat Devon Alexander. “We’re preparing the way we always do.”
Brook, who is from Sheffield, England, and showed up earlier than his appointed time to be in the gym Wednesday, said while his road to a title shot has been longer than planned, he’s ready to take advantage of the opportunity to win a belt.
“It has definitely been frustrating at times,” said Brook, who was supposed to face Alexander until injuries sustained by both fighters resulted in the bout never materializing. “But I always had my family’s backing and I had faith in my team, and I knew my shot would eventually come. Now, here we are.”
Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) had to fight a series of elimination bouts to get his shot at Porter. He beat Carson Jones, Hector Saldivia and Vyacheslav Senchenko, and he said he’ll be ready for Porter.
“I expect him to do whatever he has to do to keep his belt,” Brook said of Porter, who had a successful first title defense when he stopped Paulie Malignaggi within four rounds on April 16 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. “I expect him to hit me low or hit me in the back of the head. But I’ll be ready for whatever he does.”
■ HOF AWARDS — In addition to the 18 inductees who were honored Saturday, the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame also handed out its annual awards during its ceremonies at the Tropicana.
For the second year in a row, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was recognized as the Fighter of the Year. Special Achievement Awards were presented to Porter, WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne, boxer and mixed martial artist Ana Julaton, UNLV boxer Vinh Thai, UNR boxer Garrett Felling, photojournalist Mary Ann Owen and neurologist Dr. Charles Bernick.
The Presidents Award was given to Joe Bliss of Reno, who was the first national boxing champion for UNR in 1959.
■ LOCAL AMATEURS WIN — Las Vegas boxers fared well at last week’s Ringside World Championships in Independence, Mo., an amateur tournament that attracted 1,500 competitors in 1,000 bouts.
Among the winners were Devin Haney (Boys Junior Open 126-132 pounds), Quontez McRath (Men’s Senior Open 152-156) and Sharif Rahman (Men’s Youth Open 166-178). Other winners included: Jenny Vasquez (Girls Junior Novice 115-119), Floyd Diaz (Boys Bantam Open 56-60), Angel Barrientes (Boys Bantam Open 61-65), Chavez Barrientes (Boys Bantam Open 66-70), Anthony Torres (Boys Pee-Wee Novice 56-60), Jamil Cheatham (Boys Pee-Wee Novice 61-65) and Akeem Cheatham (Boys Match 61-65).
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.