Kell Brook believes boxing should follow UFC’s example
British welterweight star Kell Brook lost his first professional fight last September when he made the audacious decision to challenge unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin.
The Englishman absorbed torrid punishment, sustaining a broken orbital bone, which would later require surgery, before being rescued by his corner team in the fifth round. The more balanced among us gave Brook full credit for rising to the challenge, whereas cynics stated that it was an unapologetic money-grab.
Give the guy a break. Brook (36-1, 25 knockouts) wasn’t short of a pound or two prior to taking on Golovkin, and the reality is he went in there to throw down. There are a lot of fully fledged middleweights who have been checking the closet for “GGG” before going to sleep at night. Brook, a welterweight titleholder, jumped at the chance.
“I believe that I was in the fight and it was a freak shot that caused the injury,” said Brook in an interview with RingTV.com. “I would like to have seen how that fight was going to unfold (without the injury).
“It was such a big opportunity for me to go in with an animal like Golovkin. I was devastated afterwards but this is boxing and I think I gave a good account of myself. I proved that I’m willing to go in with anyone they put in front of me. A lot of people have given me credit for taking it and putting up a good fight.”
Following the Golovkin defeat, many had expected Brook to target the 154-pound division and a second world title. However, armed with an IBF belt at 147 pounds, he committed to dropping back down to welterweight to fulfill a mandatory obligation against talented American southpaw Errol Spence. The fight takes place on Saturday at Bramall Lane soccer stadium in Sheffield, England.
From Golovkin to Spence; you’ll struggle to find too many fighters who can match that dance card. Critics, again, have said that it’s nothing special and that Brook is merely fighting an untested mandatory challenger. Be real. With Eddie Hearn at Matchroom Boxing, along with the backing of Sky Sports and solid name recognition, Brook could have walked straight into a big fight at junior middleweight that was significantly less threatening.
Spence might be untested but he passes the eye-test with flying colors every time he enters the ring. He’s a quick-fire southpaw, wonderfully athletic and a chilling puncher. Put simply, Brook is doing exactly what we wish more fighters would do and it’s still not enough.
“I don’t want to fight just normal guys,” Brook explained. “I want to fight the best in the sport and I want to challenge myself. I’m up for the biggest challenges and the fights that get people talking. I want matchups where experts can’t split the fighters, matchups where people think I’m going to get beat. I want to prove people wrong and have that adrenalin buzz after beating the best fighters in the world.
“I would like to see more of what is done in the UFC. If you look at the records of their fighters, most of them have losses. Nobody bats an eyelid because these guys are always in competitive fights. You know that both guys are going to bring it, and both guys are there to win. In boxing, there is still so much emphasis on staying unbeaten and it hurts the sport. People want to see 50-50 fights and providing those fights are exciting, the fans will watch the loser again.”
Boxing is on an upswing right now. Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko made the world stop. Canelo Alvarez and Golovkin have agreed to face off in the sport’s ultimate confrontation. The World Boxing Super Series commences in September. We are in a strong position right now, but if more individual fighters followed Brook’s philosophy, the sport would continue to flourish.
Tickets are on sale from Sheffield United’s Box Office Tel: 0114 253 7200 and in person from the box office at Bramall Lane – all tickets purchased from Sheffield United are subject to a 10 per cent booking fee. Face value tickets for May 27 are also be available from StubHub.
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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