KELL BROOK will defend his IBF welterweight title against Errol Spence in the UK toward the end of May after terms were agreed yesterday.
Brook had previously been trying to get a fight with domestic rival Amir Khan, but attention turned to mandatory challenger Spence after talks with the Bolton man broke down.
Yesterday’s announcement was met with surprise by many observors who felt Brook might swerve unbeaten Spence and look elsewhere but Kell’s trainer, Dominic Ingle, points to his decision to face middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin last year.
“Well there’s the situation with the Khan fight which ended up being a waste of time. People speak about Kell ducking and diving fights, bar the fact he went in with Golovkin. It doesn’t matter who’s in front of him, Kell wants to fight for titles and fight for money,” he told Boxing News.
“At the end of the day, Spence is a young guy coming through, he’s 26, Kell is 31, he’s experienced, he’s seen these guys before and he’s very good with southpaws as well.
“So you can talk about Brook not wanting to fight and ducking and diving, people will always say it, people said he’d duck Spence, but a fighter’s always going to fight and they want the biggest purse for the fight. Down to a fight between Khan and Spence, you’d take the Khan fight as it’s the bigger fight, you’re not ducking anybody, it’s just the biggest amount of money.
“You’ve got to have a do or die attitude and he’s got that. Fighters fight and this is what annoys us about Khan, because he says he’ll do this and he’ll do that but he never does. If you go back before Kell won the world title he said ‘Kell needs to win a world title,’ and then he won the title and Khan said something else. He’s making himself look silly.”
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) February 13, 2017
There are three dates in play for the fight; May 20, May 27 and June 3. It will take place in the UK and Brook’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, is working to have it land at Bramall Lane, home of Sheffield United FC.
In recent years, Brook has had trouble constantly boiling himself down to 147lbs however he rose to 160 when he unsuccessfully challenged Golokvin in September of last year. He has not fought since then as he had to undergo surgery on the eye injury which prompted Ingle to rightfully pull him out of the fight in the fifth round.
Some have speculated that another arduous camp to get to the welterweight limit may hamper his performance against Spence, but Ingle – a renowned trainer with a terrific team around him – remains unconcerned.
“He’s a big welterweight, people say he’ll be drained but we’re talking about the 20th, 27th [May] or 3rd of June. We’re talking 14, 15 weeks to get down to the weight, and Kell’s already been in the gym, so that’s plenty of time. We had nine weeks’ notice for the Golovkin fight and got down to 11st 6lbs, he knows how to do it, it’s just a harder process,” he continued.
“We’ve got it down to a tee with Kell, getting down to the weight, rehydrating, he always comes in strong to the fight. We’ve never seen him look bad since he boxed Carson Jones really. That was a wakeup call for Kell. He’s always got it right and he’s always going to get it right.
“He’s been in the gym on and off, obviously he had time out because of the [surgery] and he had to wait until the end of January before he could start proper training, but he always relishes the challenge. They’re talking about it being at Sheffield United’s ground which will be a big event, he loves a big occasion.”
Spence earned his mandatory status last year when he pummelled Leonard Bundu inside six rounds. Prior to that he had also stopped Chris Algieri, something Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan had both failed to do. The former Olympian has long been tipped for stardom and his eight fight stoppage streak has seen him become one of the leading contenders in world boxing.
Brook’s best win remains his title-clinching victory over Shawn Porter in 2014, though the Sheffield man is considered one of the most talented fighters in the welterweight division. He has struggled to secure the big fights he’s dreamed of – the Khan fiasco being a perfect example – however his profile soared after he made the stunning and brave move to take on Golovkin last year.
Brook could have vacated his title or moved up in weight, however he doesn’t shy away from a challenge and is hellbent on proving himself the best fighter at 147lbs.
Ingle is aware of the hype around Spence, but isn’t buying into it just yet.
“The conversation I had with him [Brook] after the Golovkin fight was ‘did you expect it to be the fight it was?’ and he said; ‘you know what? The image and hype about Golovkin didn’t actually match up to how he was as a fighter.’ Which happens a lot,” he said.
“We were disappointed it got stopped on the injury because he believed Golovkin was starting to gas and he could have got to the end of the fight and maybe beat him on points, but we’ll never know.
“I’ve looked at him [Spence], watched his fights, watched him coming through. He’s good at what he does, but it’s like anything else, I look back at the situation with Jeff Lacy and he had all this hype and was meant to be the next big thing and Calzaghe took him to pieces. I’m not saying this will be the same thing, but Kell knows what he’s going in with.”