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Spence: I’m taking Kell Brook’s title away from him

By Scott Gilfoid: Errol Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs) says he was asked by his manager Al Haymon if he was fine with traveling to fight in the UK for his title challenge against IBF welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) and he let him know that he has no problem fighting over there. Spence says he’s going to go over to the UK, beat Brook, and take his IBF title back home with him to the U.S.

Brook will have the fans on his side in this fight. It’s likely going to be a huge crowd of 30,000 fans with almost all of them fans of Brook. However, Spence is a pressure fighter who doesn’t let his opponents set the pace of the fights.

Spence goes right after them. What this means for Brook is that he’s going to have Spence all over him in the same way that he did in his recent loss to Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Brook wanted to fight at his pace, but Golovkin wouldn’t let him. Golovkin was literally chasing Brook around the ring from round 3 until the bitter end in the 5th.

The Brook-Spence fight is very likely going to be like round 6 of the Golovkin-Brook fight. Spence is going to be putting nonstop pressure on Brook with his come forward style, powerful jab and big body shots. Spence has the longer arms than Brook, so he’s going to be spearing him with a jab from the outside while coming forward.

The jabs will be head-snapping jabs. Brook will need to figure out some kind of plan to deal with the pressure that Spence is going to be putting on him. I don’t know if Brook’s usual tricks of running and holding are going to work against Spence. The crowd won’t be enough to energize Brook to turn back the threat of Spence. The only way Brook wins this fight is for him to stand his ground and beat Spence at his own game. It might not be smart for Brook to try running, because he’ll waste a lot of energy doing that.

The date for the Brook-Spence fight is still in the works, but it looks like it’s going to be on May 27 at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. Spence has been waiting for the fight against Brook for a while now, but it took a while because of the eye injury that Brook suffered against Gennady Golovkin.

“I know I’m definitely coming back with the belt,” said Spence to espn.com.” It might be a knockout, it might be a win by decision but the end result is I’m coming home with the belt.”

Spence has a number of advantages over Brook in this fight. He’s not battling to make 147lb limit the way that Brook is, and he’s not coming down from middleweight to take the fight. Brook fought at middleweight in his last fight in September against Golovkin. That’s two divisions above his natural fighting weight.

Brook is basically going to be going through the same thing Roy Jones Jr. did years ago when he moved up to heavyweight to beat a vulnerable champion in John Ruiz, and then coming back down to 175 to fight Antonio Tarver. Jones paid the price in moving up and going back down in weight, as he lost muscle and ended up getting knocked clean out by Tarver.

I suspect we’ll see the same thing happening with Brook. It’s a no-no for a fighter to move up two divisions and then go back down to resume fighting in their own weight class. Can some fighters do it? Yes, it’s possible, but it takes a rare fighter to pull off that move, and it helps if they’re young. Brook isn’t young at 30. He’s been struggling with the 147lb weight limit for a long time, and he was never a really dominant fighter in the welterweight class.

All you need to do is look at the high number of weak opponents that Brook has fought during his 13-year career at 147 to know that he wasn’t put in with the best by his different promoters for some reason. Moreover, Brook has had a couple of controversial decision wins during his career at welterweight against Carson Jones in their first fight and Shawn Porter.

If you watch both of those fights back to back, I think you’ll agree with me that Brook lost both of them. Jones almost knocked Brook out in their first fight. I think he would have knocked him out if not for the referee stopping the action to give Carson a warning for something while he had Brook hurt badly. I still don’t know what the referee was warning Carson for. All I know is the timeout to warn him took place when he had Brook out on his feet and in the process of being knocked out. Brook was able to survive, but I thought he still lost the fight.

“Kell Brook is a strong fighter. He likes to dictate the pace, which most boxers like to do,” Spence said. “He likes to use his jab to set up other punches like the left hook. He likes to bait you in, sort of like he did with Golovkin, and hit you with an uppercut.”

Spence is right in describing what Brook likes to do in his fights. He hates being pressured, and he throws a lot of left hooks and uppercuts. Brook landed one left uppercut to head of Golovkin in round 2 of their fight on September 10. Brook kept coming back to that same punch in throwing it over and over again, but he never landed it again. He partially landed it once, but Golovkin was wise to Brook’s tricks after getting hit with a big uppercut from him in the 2nd round.

Brook often would leave his feet and jump in the air while throwing punches. I’m not sure why he does that, because all it did was rob him of his power. Brook isn’t a big puncher despite having a lot of knockouts on his record. He mostly throws arm punches. Brook’s knockouts have come against weak opposition like Jo Jo Dan, Kevin Bizier, Frankie Gavin and a number of obscure fighters. There’s little chance that Brook will be able to hurt Spence with anything he throws.

How the Brook-Spence fight will play out

I see the Spence-Brook fight as a replay of the Golovkin vs. Brook contest. Brook won’t be able to stand his ground as Spence pressures him with body and head shots. Brook will then run around the ring, looking to hold and throw occasional shots. Brook’s boxing fans will scream every time he throws a punches, but those moments will be far and in between. It’ll be Spence landing most of the shots. Once Brook realizes that his movement isn’t working against Spence, he’ll resort to the likely Plan-B, which will be constant holding like he used in his win over Shawn Porter.

I suspect that Brook will dive forward to grab Spence over and over again to keep him from throwing punches. Brook will try and stall out Spence’s offense by clinching repeatedly. That approach won’t work. I’ve watched some of Spence’s fights, and he doesn’t let his opponents get way with clinching him without him nailing them with body shots. Unfortunately, Brook is going to find out the hard way that Spence’s upper body is too powerful for him to be clinched 10 times per round to stall his offense like we saw in the Brook-Porter fight. Spence is very strong and can’t be held on the inside without him being able to use his strength to reach back and hit his opponents with body shots. Chris Algieri tried the clinching against Spence to keep him from throwing punches, and it didn’t work. Spence was able to hit him each time. Spence will hammer Brook to the body until he drops to the canvas in pain. If Brook does make it up off the deck, Spence will nail him with an uppercut and finish him like he did with Leonard Bundu last August.







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