IBF welterweight champion, Kell Brook will return to the ring on May 27th at Bramall Lane football stadium in his hometown of Sheffield to make the 4th defense of his crown against American sensation, Errol Spence Jr.
Former Olympian Spence will be travelling for the first time out of his native United States, a move that would be curious enough for most if it was not for the fact that he will surely be facing a hostile and passionate crowd when he makes his way to the ring. At their initial press conference, Spence shrugged off the possibility that he will be affected, telling everybody to “bring it on.” There is no doubt that is what will happen when the atmosphere reaches electrical proportions!
Brook has not fought since being stopped by Gennady Golovkin in London in September last year. Brook gave Golovkin some things to think about with his swift mobility and standing toe to toe with the Kazakhstan fighter. But power told in the end and the towel came in as Brook was being pummelled while laying on the ropes.
‘The Special One’ had to travel up to the 160lb division for that contest and there are mild concerns that coming back down to 147lb may take something away from him. It has happened before to the likes of Roy Jones Jr after he stepped up to the heavyweight division and back down to cruiserweight where he was never again the same fighter that he once was. But Brook has stated that he has enough faith in his team to get him back at the weight in safe fashion, although some are skeptical.
Spence has halted 18 of his 21 victims, so Brook simply cannot afford to go wrong in his preparations. As well as power, Spence is athletic and has a good left hook to follow by an effective lead right from his southpaw stance. He is a good finisher so the champion will probably need to bring his cast iron jaw with him once again as he evidently showed against Golovkin. One potential pitfall in Spence’s approach is that he tends to trade when it isn’t necessary but it is expected that he will gain more discipline as he advances.
Brook has beaten every southpaw he has faced, although it is a surety that the challenger will be the best southpaw he will have come against so far. If he manages to bring Spence out of his shell and make him trade with him then things could get interesting. Brook is a natural counter puncher and the fight could turn out to be a frustrating one for both if they wait for one another to open up.
Leonard Bundu tried educated pressure on Spence, which worked to a degree, but he did not have the power to put him in any serious trouble. Brook will probably be finding himself throwing many shots in this one to keep Spence busy and preventing him from getting off on his punches. But at some point Spence will know that he has to go for broke and the fight could heat up as it progresses.
It would not be surprising if the contest was a slow burner as both feel each other out for a few rounds, but the sense of urgency will make itself known eventually for the fighters, especially if Spence’s strength begins to take it’s toll.
Expect a closely fought contest that will require a lot of thought as both guys put their skills on display, with Kell Brook taking the bout on points after putting in the classier work.
That is assuming any weight problems withstand.