Sheffield, England will host one of the most hotly anticipated welterweight fights of the year when undefeated American Errol Spence crosses the pond to face 147lb IBF British champion Kell Brook in what is sure to be a terrific fight.
The challenger Spence comes into this fight as the -150 favorite with champion Brook coming as a +120 underdog.
Spence enters his first world championship fight off the back off a formidable resume. Twenty-one wins with eighteen coming via knockout have put the boxing world on notice, and many experts have him tipped as the next p4p superstar.
Champion Kell Brook has a stellar resume of his own. Thirty-six wins with only one defeat – to middleweight king Gennady Golovkin – puts Brook up there as one of the best welterweights on the planet.
Both men have interesting styles that should mesh in this fight to create a fascinating battle for fans of the sport.
Spence’s style is one of offence. He is one of the most offensively gifted fighters of the last decade. A two-fisted heavy handed puncher, Spence looks to get fighters out of there early and is relentless in his attack. He goes both up top and to the body and softens opponents up with hard straights that enable him to work his way inside where he can then punish opponents with his most damaging shots. Both Bundu and Van Heerden, two of Spence’s most recent opponents, had opportunities early in the fight but were simply worn down by Spence’s constant pressure and withering punches to the body.
Brook on the other hand utilizes superb counterpunching along with a quality inside game to beat his opponents. His most notable win against ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter for the IBF title three years ago showcased Brook’s talents at their absolute finest. Jabbing and turning Porter throughout the fight, he nullified most of Porter’s strong pressure attack and utilized compact hooks and uppercuts when Porter did get inside to stall the stronger man. Brook looks to confuse and disorient fighters with angles and glove manipulation, where he can then connect with short, sharp counter-punches to both hurt and potentially finish opponents.
This is one of the potential fights of the year for a variety of reasons. Questions over Brook’s devastating loss to Golovkin – one in which his orbital bone was shattered – and his subsequent weight loss for this fight going all the way from 160lb back to 147lb. And Spence has his own question marks. While Van Heerden, Bundu and Algieri are all quality operators, none of them bring the sharpness and technical ability that Kell Brook possesses, so this will be a huge step-up for the young Texan.
Overall, I see this fight being extremely competitive early on with Spence continually coming forward looking to land some hard shots and Brook countering this by trying to jab and constantly turn the younger fighter throughout the fight. Brook will look to try and counter with his trademark short hooks and uppercuts inside anytime Spence manages to close the distance. Brook has ‘tells’ however and his perpetual decision to duck right everytime opponents pressure him might be all the gift a fighter like Spence needs if he can lure Brook in with his sharp feints. A combination of weight loss, hi-tempo activity and hard punches should wear down Brook in the latter half of the fight, especially if there is any residual after-effect from his orbital bone shattering loss to Golovkin, and I envision a late stoppage in Spence’s favor. Brook’s main chance in this fight is to catch Spence with one of his solid uppercuts, a punch he throws extremely well, as one of Spence’s main flaws is his propensity to lean forward too far when chasing after opponents. Both Bundu and Van Heerden nearly caught him with big uppercuts in their respective fights and Brook hits harder and more accurately than those two fighters. Bar that, however, Spence is a lot more active than Brook and arguably possesses more power also, so unless Brook gets creative and looks to time him with that uppercut, a Spence win looks the most likely outcome in this fight.
With a potential monster unification looming against unbeaten WBC and WBA champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in the near future, both Spence and Brook will bring their ‘A’ game and it should be a cracking fight between two of the world’s best welterweights.
Pick: Take Spence by stoppage