- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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NEW YORK -- When Devon Alexander and Shawn Porter were maybe 8 or 9 years old in the late 1990s, they met as amateurs at the Ohio State Fair, where Alexander won a three-round decision.
All these years later, they met again as 26-year-old grown men and professionals, and Porter turned the tables, beating up Alexander in a unanimous-decision victory to win a welterweight world title on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Porter controlled most of the fight, which was the co-feature on the card headlined by the all-Brooklyn welterweight showdown between former world titleholders Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi.
Alexander (25-2, 14 KOs), making his second defense, thought he would be facing Amir Khan in a fight that was all but signed before Khan backed out in mid-October because he was the leading candidate to get a May fight with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In came Porter (23-0-1, 14 KOs), who had never before scored a significant professional win, but did have a standout amateur career, gained tremendous experience as a Manny Pacquiao sparring partner and was in tip-top shape for the fight, which he won 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113. ESPN.com also had Porter winning, 117-111.
"We worked hard and it came through in the ring. We made it look easy tonight," Porter said. "This is a blessing. We wanted to come out here and establish that I was the better fighter and we made that happen.
"I think I was able to control the fight with my experience and because I'm the bigger guy. We did what we had to do. The opportunity was here and I stepped up to the plate."
Porter took it to Alexander right away, looking to brawl against the slicker Alexander. He tried to rough up Alexander and was successful for the most part.
"I'm disappointed. I didn't do what I was supposed to do," Alexander said. "I didn't follow the game plan. He was rushing in and I didn't capitalize on that, and that was we had planned on."
In the third round, Porter wobbled Alexander with a right hand early in the round and then again with a series of shots late in the frame. By the fourth round, Alexander, of St. Louis, had a bloody cut over his right eye, perhaps from a head butt, and was having all kinds of trouble with the more physical Porter.
By the seventh round, Alexander's face was a bloody mess as he was taking shots and their heads were also coming together.
"I'm a very proud father tonight," said Kenny Porter, who is also Shawn's trainer.
Porter, of Akron, Ohio, suffered a damaged right eye when an accidental head butt opened a cut bad enough for referee Harvey Dock to call timeout so the wound could be examined by the ringside doctor.
Alexander suffered only his second defeat, also losing a technical decision in a 2011 junior welterweight unification fight against Timothy Bradley Jr.
Lara takes Trout to school
Interim junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara kept a jab in Austin Trout's face throughout the fight, outboxed the fellow southpaw technician and dropped him in the 11th round on the way to a lopsided unanimous decision in his first defense.
Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) won the belt with an action-packed 10th-round stoppage of Alfredo Angulo in June, getting off the deck twice to score the stoppage. But Angulo came at him the entire fight and forced him to brawl. That's not Trout's style, and Lara picked him apart.
Lara danced and moved and kept firing his jab. By the eighth round, Trout's right eye was swelling. In the 11th round, Lara nailed Trout with a clean overhand left and dropped him with about 35 seconds left in the round.
"My preparation was fine, he is just a really slippery fighter," Trout said. "I had trouble getting my shots off. His style is tricky but I'm not signing up for easy fights. He was just the better man tonight."
Trout (26-2, 14 KOs), 28, of Las Cruces, N.M., could not deal with Lara's movement or speed and the crowd spent a good deal of the fight booing the lack of action, the knockdown notwithstanding.
But for Lara, 30, a Cuban defector living in Houston, it was all good as he won 118-109, 117-110 and 117-110. ESPN.com also had it for Lara, 119-108. Trout, who beat Miguel Cotto in December 2012, lost his second straight fight. He also lost a decision, albeit much closer, to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in an April title unification bout.
"I did what Canelo couldn't do," Lara said. "I dominated Trout and I dropped him. Now we have to make the fight everyone wants to see, me against Canelo." He might get his wish. Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com that he would meet with Alvarez next week at the card in San Antonio, on which Alvarez's brother is fighting, and talk to him about Lara as a possible opponent for Alvarez's March 8 Showtime PPV fight.
Bika retains title with a split draw
Super middleweight Sakio Bika (32-5-3, 21 KOs) retained his world title on a split draw against Anthony Dirrell (26-0-1, 22 KOs) in a brutal slugfest that went back and forth throughout.
One judge had it for Bika, 114-112, one had it for Dirrell, 116-110 and one had it 113-113. ESPN.com had it for Dirrell, 114-112.
Bika, 34, of Australia, was making his first defense of the vacant title he won in another rousing battle against Marco Antonio Periban in June, also at the Barclays Center. His defense against Dirrell, a mandatory, was similarly hard-hitting.
Bika, as usual, tried to fight rough, shoving Dirrell to the mat in the second round. But Dirrell landed some hard, including a terrific fight hand and left hook that rocked Bika in the third round.
In the fifth round, Dirrell, 29, of Flint, Mich., nearly ended the fight, badly hurting Bika with a series of right hands that finally dropped him to all fours with about 30 seconds left. Bika, who had done a good job of working Dirrell's nobody, barely made it out of the round.
The went toe to toe in a tremendous sixth round in which both guys were in serious trouble. Bika hammered Dirrell with a left to the head and had him wobbly but Dirrell came right back and unleashed a right-left combination to stagger Bika as the crowd went wild.
It was a grueling fight and Dirrell got the worst of it in the 11th round. Bika hit him while he was down after a slip, drawing a warning from referee David Fields and then Bika lost a point for drilling Dirrell below the belt. He also cut Dirrell over the left eye in the round on an accidental head butt.
"I feel like I was fighting the referee as well [as Dirrell]," Bika said. "The body shots was a legit body shot was not a low blow. I caught him on the belt line and Dirrell wanted to milk it."
For the fight, Bika landed 170 of 609 punches (28 percent) and Dirrell connected on 167 of 477 blows (35 percent), according to CompuBox.
"I was the busier fighter and now I just want to fight the best moving forward," Bika said.
Said Dirrell, "I put on an A performance but I think I got the job done," Dirrell said. "I'm disappointed."
• Junior middleweight Julian Williams (14-0-1, 8 KOs) of Philadelphia blew through Mexico's Orlando Lora (29-5-2, 19 KOs), stopping him in the third round when Lora's corner threw in the towel.
Williams, 23, was taking on his most experienced opponent and had no problems, beating Lora him to the punch throughout the fight. In the third round, the faster Williams began unloading clean combinations that were snapping Lora's head back and forth, prompting his trainer to get up on the apron and wave his hands. Referee Eddie Claudio called off the fight at 34 seconds.
It was a strong performance for Williams considering that Lora, although stopped, had last longer in his previous two fights against Keith Thurman and Jermall Charlo.
• Welterweight Sadam Ali (18-0, 11 KOs) plowed through Jesus Selig (12-2-1, 6 KOs), en route to a sixth-round knockout.
Ali, 25, of New York, was 2008 U.S. Olympian but his career stalled when he declined to sign with a promoter and had trouble getting fights on a regular schedule. But a few months ago he signed with Golden Boy and returned from an 11-month layoff to outpoint Jay Krupp at the Barclays Center.
He wasted no time returning to action against Selig, a Mexico native living in Arizona, and looked sharp. He boxed circles around Selig and nailed him repeatedly with clean shots.
In the fifth round, Ali landed a chopping right hand that dropped Selig and hurt him badly but Ali could not get off another punch because the round ended. But when the sixth round began, Ali went right to Selig and landed a couple of clean right hands and referee Pete Santiago stepped in 22 seconds into the round.
• Light heavyweight Marcus Browne (8-0, 7 KOs) took care of Kevin Engel (20-9, 16 KOs) with ease. The 23-year-old 2012 U.S. Olympian from Staten Island, knocked Engel out just as the bell was ringing to end the first round. Brown, a southpaw, tattooed Engel, 33, of St. Louis, with right hooks throughout the round before landing one that finally put him down. Engel went down to his a knee and was counted by referee Eddie Claudio at 3 minutes.
• Featherweight Juan Dominguez (16-0, 11 KOs), born in the Dominican Republic but living in Brooklyn, outboxed Camilo Perez (9-2, 4 KOs) of Puerto Rico in a unanimous six-round decision, winning by scores of 79-73, 79-73 and 78-74.