KELL BROOK fights Gennady Golovkin, perhaps the most fearsome puncher in the sport, on September 10. He is up against it. But he knows that, and so does his trainer, Dominic Ingle, who here explains the decisions behind agreeing to the fight.
When did the option of fighting Golovkin first become realistic?
People need to understand, Kell’s 30 years old and he wants the big fights. Realistically, people are pricing themselves out of fights. I think America got quite a shock when he beat Shawn Porter, because the [Danny] Garcias, the [Keith] Thurmans, the [Juan Manuel] Marquez’s, they were all at ringside for that fight. Compared to Kell, stature-wise, they’re tiny. So why would they want to fight him? So obviously, taking this fight, people will say it’s for the money – he’s had 36 fights, he makes decent money – he relishes a challenge, Kell. That’s the thing, we knew two or three days before this was announced that the Eubank negotiations had gone down the swanny, and we’d considered it [a fight with Golovkin] before. We were trying to get a fight with [Amir] Khan, and I think it was Kell’s dad who went over and spoke with Khan’s dad and they said, ‘Yeah, I think we can do this fight.’ Then three days after that they pulled Canelo [Alvarez] out the bag, and Kell said, ‘Well, you could argue that’s a better fight than me, he’s pulled a fast one there. If there’s a lot of money, he lives to fight another day and he can come back to me.’ That’s when someone suggested fighting Golovkin. In boxing, anything’s possible, you never know. So it was always in the back of my mind. Ultimately, Kell wants to be the best, he wants to fight the best guys. He’s had the IBF welterweight title for two years, obviously there were injuries, and it knocked his momentum. This fight, it was an easy enough decision to make, it was easy to negotiate, according to [promoter] Eddie [Hearn].
What about the jump in weight?
Kell’s not a small kid, his natural fighting weight probably is 160lbs [middleweight], he’s just got the ability to make 147lbs [welterweight] and then get back into the ring in decent shape and deal with that weight loss. Obviously as you get older it gets a little harder to do. It can affect your performance, but because we have him under a strict regime, we monitor him at Sheffield Hallam University, we measure his weight loss, his strength at particular weights. He doesn’t lose strength when he gets to welterweight. They’re the type of things you can tell during the training, how he is at particular weights. So at 160lbs, he won’t have had to go through two or three weeks of that weight loss regime leading up to it, which does take stuff out of you. Without going through the process of getting to 147lbs, he’ll be a strong middleweight, he’s sparring between 156 and 160lbs when he’s training for a welterweight fight, and he looks strong at that weight, and he’s actually sparring bigger kids. What he’s losing as an advantage of being a big welterweight he’s gaining by being a middleweight, because he hasn’t got to go through that extra regime.
Without revealing your tactics, what do you make of Golovkin as a fighter?
His power overrides a lot of his mistakes. He’s not the best boxer in the world. I’ve been watching his fights for a long time and in one of his earlier fights when he boxed Osumanu Adama [w rsf 7 – 2014], he’s not the finished article. He looks all over the place, he’s just got that raw power. Obviously Abel Sanchez has refined him, smartened him up, he’s a much better fighter. He can punch, he throws good body shots, he doesn’t mind taking shots, he walks through them. I know people can say Kell’s not really boxed anybody yet, but I think they’re both in the same position, though the difference is there are better fighters in the welterweight division. Apart from Golovkin at middleweight, who can you really rate? The division isn’t what it once was, with fighters all fighting each other. In this age, there aren’t those fighters there to test him. It’s about who can stick to the game plan, who can handle the shots. Golovkin does have power, he’s strong, he’ll have to be a little bit cautious with Kell, so Kell will have to be super cautious. A good marker is Martin Murray, he did exceptionally well. He just looked, when he first got in there, that he knew he was up against it and the belief only came in about halfway through the fight. It took Golovkin, after having him down, 11 rounds. If Murray had a little more belief he could have done even better. Murray’s a very tough fighter, but he’s not the most skilful, and he made it to the 11th, and that’s where I think Kell will be able to get his shots off because he’s a very good boxer. Everything can change on fight night, though.
This interview was originally published in Boxing News magazine. To subscribe, click here.