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Kell Brook: I need to fight Thurman!

Keith Thurman Kell Brook

By Scott Gilfoid: Sporting a slight double chin, IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-0, 25 KOs) said last Saturday night that he wants to fight WBA World welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) after he beats WBO 147lb champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) in their unification fight in September at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, UK.

Brook says there’s no reason for Thurman to fight a rematch against Shawn Porter, who Thurman defeated by a razor thin 12 round unanimous decision last Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Brook, 30, wants a crack at Thurman, because he wants to collect his WBA belt after he’s taken care of business in taking Vargas’s WBO strap.

Thurman would have to be seen as the favorite against Brook, because he’s faster and a very elusive. Brook wouldn’t be able to go back to his bag of tricks to try and beat a fighter like Thurman like he did in his 12 round decision win over Porter from 2014, because Thurman doesn’t fight on the inside that often.

As such, Brook wouldn’t be able to use nonstop clinching to shutdown Thurman’s offense like he did against Porter. Brook would need to actually fight Thurman to beat him, and I’m not sure that he could. If Brook does choose to revert back to his punch and grab technique that he used in the Porter fight, he could wind up getting knocked out from one of Thurman’s left hooks while he’s reaching forward to try and clinch. Thurman will make Brook pay for each time he tries to clinch him.

If Thurman doesn’t knock Brook out, he’ll win the fight by a fairly wide points decision by landing the cleaner shots in each round. I haven’t seen Brook show any real ability to cut off the ring and pressure a mover before, and Thurman would no doubt e moving all night long to keep Brook from landing his shots and/or holding him.

Thurman, 27, has talked about wanting to unify the belts, but he hasn’t done a lot of talking about wanting to fight Brook. Thurman has focused his attention on calling out WBC 147lb champion Danny Garcia, a fighter that is pretty much at the same level as Vargas in terms of talent.

It seems that all the top fighters at welterweight want a piece of Garcia, especially after the way he struggled to defeat Robert Guerrero last January to win the vacant WBC 147lb title. The fighters obviously smell blood in the water when they see Garcia, and they’re tripping over themselves to try and get that fight against him so they can take his WBC strap. I think Garcia doesn’t belong at welterweight. He’s too vulnerable to last long in this division as the WBC belt holder. Unless his manager Al Haymon can keep him away from the cream of the division, I see him losing very soon.

“We don’t need to see a rematch (of Thurman v Porter),” said Brook to “I need to get in with Thurman. I need to collect this belt from Vargas and then me against Thurman. He’s got a lot of respect for me and vice versa. I think it’d be a massive fight and would top this with how exciting it’d be.”

Brook needs to focus on burning off some of that weight he’s put on since his last fight in March against Kevin Bizier. Brook is one of those guys that is big for the welterweight division, and I’m not sure how much longer he can continue to melt down in weight to make the 147lb limit. In looking at his flabby jowls, I think he could have problems burning off the weight needed for him to get down to the welterweight limit for his unification bout against Vargas in September.

Brook can’t fight unification match after unification match without facing his IBF mandatory challenger, which will likely wind up being Errol Spence after he faces 41-year-old Leonard Bundu on August 21 in their IBF eliminator bout. I can see the International Boxing Federation insisting that Brook fight Spence after the Vargas unification fight. Of course, Brook can always vacate his IBF title after he beats Vargas, because he would have his WBO strap. But it would look bad on Brook’s part for him to give up his IBF belt to avoid facing Spence. If Brook is seriously all about wanting to unify all the titles at welterweight, then he sure as heck can’t be vacating his titles to avoid a talent like Spence if he wants to be seen as the best in the division.

There are certain fighters that Brook does well against, such as the stationary guys that are completely and utterly immobile. But against a circle fighter like Thurman, I think Brook would wind up getting royally clowned by him in a one-sided loss.

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