Kell Brook vs. Jessie Vargas deal reached for August in Sheffield
By Scott Gilfoid: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has reached a deal for a unification fight between his fighter WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) and IBF 147lb champion Kell Brook (36-0, 25 KOs) for a fight in August in Sheffield, UK, according to Dan Rafael. The contracts are supposed to signed this coming week.
This is obviously a great deal for the 30-year-old Brook because he’s got a light punching fighter in Vargas coming over to his own hometown to fight him. Many boxing fans see the 27-year-old Vargas as a paper champion, and I wouldn’t disagree with that.
Vargas is low hanging fruit for Brook in my view compared to the bigger punching champions Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman. But it’s also the only fight that Brook could probably get in terms of the upper cuts.
Even with this fight, we’re talking about arguably a lesser name than Garcia, Thurman, Shawn Porter, Amir Khan and Tim Bradley.
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn is said to have made Garcia a big offer of three times what he normally receives for his fights for him to agree to the Brook deal and come over to the UK. You can argue that Hearn bought a world title for Brook because Vargas likely would have never agreed in a million years to the fight if he wasn’t given a big money offer. Vargas had been against the idea of traveling outside of the U.S and putting himself in the position where he could lose a hometown decision to Brook.
Vargas captured the WBO 147lb title last March with a 9th round knockout win over Sadam Ali in a one-sided fight. This is the WBO title that was given up by Tim Bradley, who chose to give up the belt so that he could fight Manny Pacquiao last April. Vargas was the WBO mandatory at the time and was due to his title shot. As such, Bradley had a choice of either fighting Vargas in an easy title defense against him or give up the WBO belt for the much bigger payday against Pacquiao in a third fight.
Bradley went for the money against Pacquiao and gave up the WBO title. If Bradley had wanted to, he could have fought Vargas a second time and likely whipped him bad like he did in their previous fight in June of last year. That was an incredibly one-sided fight for 11 rounds until Vargas staggered Bradley in the 12th round when he got sloppy. However, Bradley would have likely totally dominated Vargas in a rematch. T
hat’s why it’s no big deal that Brook is fighting Vargas and will likely beat him with ease. We’re talking about a flawed champion in Vargas, who probably wouldn’t be a champion now if not for Bradley opting to take the money fight against Pacquiao in their third fight.
Brook is coming off of a 2nd round knockout win over mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier last March. It was an easy fight for Brook, of course, but it was made easy for him by the International Boxing Federation giving Bizier the top spot rather than a talented fighter like Errol Spence.
The IBF has had some very, very odd mandatory challengers lately with them picking Bizier and before that Jo Jo Dan as the No.1 mandatory challengers rather than guys like Errol Spence, who you could argue would beat both Jo Jo Dan and Bizier on the same night in back to back 1st round knockouts.
It’s unclear what Hearn’s plan is for Brook in having him pick up the WBO strap from Vargas. Does Hearn believe this move will lead to a cascade effect where Brook will become a Gennady Golovkin like fighter who will then go and beat WBC champion Danny Garcia and then the winner of the Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter? If that’s what Hearn’s grand vision is then he needs to forget about it because Brook doesn’t have that kind of talent. If he tries to beat the winner of the Thurman-Porter fight, he’s going to lose that fight in my view.
Brook had to clinch his way to a win over Porter in their fight in 2014. Without the nonstop clinching, Brook would have lost that fight. I don’t see Brook ever getting a fight against Danny Garcia, so that’s a title he won’t get a chance to fight. But most importantly, Brook will soon need to face Spence after he beats Top Rank fighter Konstantin Ponomarev in their IBF welterweight eliminator fight.
The only way Brook can avoid that fight is for him to vacate his IBF title, and if he does that move, he’ll lose fans because he’ll be seen as a ducker. Spence beats Brook all day long in my view. If that fight happens, Brook is going to be up the creek without a paddle because he won’t be able to clinch Spence 10 plus times a round to keep him from throwing punches because he’s the type who keeps throwing punches when he’s being held. Brook could get clubbed into submission if he tries his holding against him.
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