MICHAEL ZERAFA hasn’t been billed as a dangerous opponent for Kell Brook. For the vast majority of the boxing fraternity, Zerafa is here to make Brook look good, as he continues along the path towards a fight with his bitter domestic rival Amir Khan.
However, Zerafa and his team are bullish in the face of all the talk and his trainer, and former light-heavyweight world title challenger, Blake Caparello is adamant that they are not here to make up the numbers.
Zerafa has been defeated both times he has fought outside Australia, by Peter Quillin and Arif Magomedov, and his record sits at 25-2, 14 by way of stoppage, but Caparello and the team have no doubt that it will be third time lucky for the Melbourne born “Pretty Boy”.
“We’re excited to be here in England and looking forward to the challenge of taking on Kell Brook in his hometown. We’ve been dismissed by everyone already and even at the press conference all they could talk about was Amir Khan, but we’re not here just to be an opponent, we’re here to shock the boxing world,” Caparello said.
“When he went abroad before, he was young and it was a massive learning experience. I think Michael actually won in Russia and then against Quillin he was doing well before he got caught, but there is no disgrace in losing to him. We’ve looked at the mistakes, fixed them up and it will be third time lucky tomorrow night.
“The odds are wide, but we’re confident in Michael and as I’ve said to him, we wouldn’t put him in a fight if we thought he had no idea of winning the fight. You don’t take a fight just because it’s Kell Brook, you take them because you are going there to win. That was the same in my career, where if you have the belief you are going to win, then that’s the fight you take.”
Like Zerafa, Caparello has had to travel for his biggest fights during his 32 fight career, which sees him back on the other side of the ropes next February. The 32-year-old has been in the opposite corner to Sergey Kovalev and Andre Dirrell and believes it is important that he has experienced the same situations as his fighter for that all-important minute between rounds.
He also revealed that originally there were plans Zerafa to be taking on Anthony Fowler before the deal was struck to take on Brook instead. Fowler has his sights on winning a Commonwealth title, a belt Zerafa won back in March when he breezed past current English champion Adam Harper by unanimous decision.
But, Caparello insists that despite all the talk of a fight with Fowler, they are here to pull off the upset against Brook and become the mandatory to Jarrett Hurd, who remains the IBF and WBA champion after stopping Jason Welborn last weekend in Los Angeles.
“I’ve got the experience of fighting in the lions’ den as well and it’s important that I’ve been in the same position as him because I can use my knowledge and transfer it to Michael in the corner. I’ve been in the opposite corner with Kovalev and Dirrell, so I know what he’s going through and we’re both very comfortable with the situation,” Blake said.
“Anthony is a big up-and-coming prospect in the UK, but he’s only at 8-0, so from Michael’s perspective it’s good to have the offer from Anthony, but let’s speak to them about fighting Brook instead. If Michael beats an 8-0 guy, he gets no reward off the back of a big risk and everyone just says he should have beaten him anyway.
“If he beats Kell, well it’s as good as a world title fight for Michael anyway. The fight with Fowler was there but Michael’s manager saw the opportunity and went back to Matchroom with a counter offer and that’s why we’re here now.
“The winner is mandatory to Jarrett Hurd, but the way his team are going on, it sounds like the winner gets Amir Khan! If Michael gets this win, then his name and stock get bigger and there are even more options out there for him.”