By Scott Gilfoid: In less than 2 weeks from now, IBF welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) will be putting his IBF strap on the line against his mandatory challenger Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs) in a very big fight on May 27 at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. On May 27, we’re going to find out quickly if there’s any residual damage to Brook’s surgically repaired right eye from his last fight against Gennady Golovkin. If the titanium plate that was inserted into Brook’s right eye socket isn’t as strong as he’s been blathering about, we could see that eye swell up almost immediately when Spence nails on that spot.
Spence is ready to take Brook’s title off of him in style by shutting him on the scorecards and/or knocking him out to ensure that he leaves the UK with the IBF title in his possession. You can bet that the huge British boxing crowd that will be turning up to see Brook will be shouting their support for their fighter all night long on May 27, trying their best to get the 31-year-old to fight at a higher level to get the ‘W’ on the night.
The problem is a fighter can only do so much inside the ring. If a guy like Brook doesn’t have the talent needed to begin with to beat Spence, then there’s nothing much that the boxing fans can do about it. In this case, the cheering of the crowd might actually hurt Brook in this fight, because it’s going to cause him to be brave. The last thing Brook needs is for him to be brave against a puncher like Spence.
Brook’s entire game when fighting the upper level talents is to run, hold and pot shot. Brook basically fights off the back foot most of the time, and tries win rounds by throwing brief 3-punch combinations. We saw that from Brook in his fight against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin last September. Brook was running most of the fight, but he would stop every once in a while to try and steal the rounds by landing a few shots. I only had Brook winning round 2 with him fighting this way.
Brook was done for the night after tasting some leather from Golovkin in round 3. For all intents and purposes, Brook had the white flag of surrender up on the flag pole after the 3rd. Brook just didn’t announce it to the crowd, but he was pretty much done for the night as far as fighting goes. . I think we’ll see the same thing from Brook on May 27 against Spence.
I just hope Brook’s boxing fans don’t take his loss too hard and start throwing stuff into the ring. The fans need to be good sports. Brook is facing the best in Spence. This isn’t Frankie Gavin or Jo Jo Dan. This is the best. You can count on Brook to beat the likes of Dan, Gavin and Kevin Bizier, but he’s a different animal when he faces talented fighters like Golovkin, Shawn Porter and now Spence.
— Errol Spence (@ErrolSpenceJr) May 13, 2017
Spence has already made it clear about what he plans on doing against Brook on May 27. Spence says it’s definitely going to be “Mandown” when he gets Brook inside the ring. Spence doesn’t care how much yapping Brook’s diehard fan base does in support of their hero. He plans on hammering Brook into submission until he either drops for the 10 count or his trainer Dominic Ingle throws in the towel like he did in Brook’s fight against Gennady Golovkin.
Spence has already said that he’s been working on a strategy to deal with Brook’s clinching, if he decides to go that route. Spence hasn’t said what his strategy will entail to negate the nonstop holding from Brook, but you can imagine it will involve Spence using his powerful upper body to get an a hand loose so that he can pound Brook with body or head shots repeatedly until he lets go of him.
Spence says he’s hoping that the referee will do his job and make sure that Brook doesn’t hold excessively like he did against Shawn Porter. But if the referee isn’t feeling like doing his job on the night to control Brook’s excessive clinching, then he’s going to take matters into his own hands. The good news is that Spence has been working on a strategy to deal with Brook’s holding. Porter didn’t seem to know what he was getting himself into when he fought Brook in 2014.
Porter looked totally unprepared at stopping Brook’s constant holding. If Porter had asked me, I would have told him, ‘You better work on stopping Brook from holding you, because he’ll do it all night long if you let him.’ Porter should have watched Brook’s first fight against Carson Jones to see what kind of night he would be in for. Brook was holding Jones something fierce in the last 6 rounds of the fight. The referee just stood and watched Brook without taking points off for the excessive holding.
Sadly, Jones would have won the fight if the referee had actually taken points off from Brook for all the holding he was doing in the fight. Jones literally couldn’t throw punches at times in the last 6 rounds because Brook was holding him like an octopus from the deep. Like Porter, Jones wasn’t prepared for the cinching either. Jones acted like he was surprised at the nonstop clinching from Brook. He shouldn’t have been surprised. If Jones had done his homework ahead of time, he would have seen that Brook is a clincher. When the going gets tough, Brook starts grabbing and doesn’t stop grabbing.
The co-feature fight on the Brook-Spence card is a decent one involving former WBA super middleweight champion Fedor Chudinov (14-1, 10 KOs) fighting #2 WBA George Groves (25-3, 18 KOs) for the WBA Super World super middleweight title. I still can’t believe Groves and Chudinov are going to be fighting for the Super World WBA strap. That’s the World Boxing Association’s top strap with their organization. I’m sorry, I just don’t view Groves and Chudinov as the best in the 168lb division I think they’re both good fringe level contenders at best, but definitely not good enough to fight for the WBA’s top belt. Groves has already lost 3 times in the past when fighting for world titles.
I don’t know why Groves doesn’t get dropped down to the No.15 spot or removed from the top 15 altogether each time he loses when fighting for a world title. Who can forget what happened with Shawn Porter when he lost his IBF welterweight title to Kell Brook in 2014. Instead of Porter being shifted from champion to a top 5 contender in the IBF’s ratings after he lost to Brook by a 12 round majority decision, Porter was dropped completely from the International Boxing Federation’s top 15 rankings. How is that Porter gets dropped from the IBF’s top 15 after losing a close and some would say controversial 12 round majority decision to Brook and Groves stayed ranked high at 168 despite losing 3 times in attempts at winning a world title? I can’t begin to understand stuff like that. Kevin Bizier remained highly ranked by the IBF after he lost to Jo Jo Dan in 2014. That was Bizier’s second loss to Dan. 2 years later, Bizier gets a title shot against Brook in 2016. In the meantime, Porter still hasn’t been given a rematch with Brook. It’s so, so sad.
Also on the Brook vs. Spence card this month is Jamie Cox (21-0, 12 KOs) fighting Lewis Taylor (19-3-1, 3 KOs) for the vacant WBA Inter-Continental super middleweight title. Cox, 30, is one of those fighters that gets rough inside the ring when he really doesn’t have to. I don’t know why Cox does it, but I think it’s going to backfire on him when he eventually fights someone with talent and punching power. I just hope for Cox’s sake that he doesn’t get disqualified against Taylor if/when he starts roughing the guy up and turning the fight into a foul fest. Cox should be able to win this fight easily, but nothing comes easy for this guy. Cox’s last match against journeyman Martin Fidel Rios was so awful to look at.
Cox lost two points and Rios was deducted 3 for rough stuff. You just don’t know what you’re going to get with Cox. Sometimes he shows good boxing skills, but then he turns around and starts roughing up his opponents. The thing is, Cox doesn’t seem to come out ahead with his rough stuff. He’d be better off focusing on throwing punches and beating his opponents in style. It’s not as if Cox has been fighting quality opposition during his 10-year pro career. The guys that Cox has been fighting are the type of opposition that he should have been able to beat with ease. The fact that many of these fighters turn out to be tough matches for Cox kind of indicates his talent level.