Kell Brook vs. Jessie Vargas confirmed for September 3
By Scott Gilfoid: The unification fight between IBF welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook (36-0, 25 KOs) and WBO 147lb champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) finally has a set date on September 3, according to Vargas’ post on his Facebook. The Brook-Vargas fight will take place in Sheffield, UK, and will likely be televised on Sky Box Office pay-per-view, and on HBO. Vargas is with Top Rank, and it’s possible the fight could wind up on HBO PPV if Top Rank boss Bob Arum decides to designate it for pay television.
It’s obviously not a pay-per-view worth fight in the States, but then again neither is the July 23 fight between Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol. That fight will be on HBO PPV.
“It’s already confirmed my next fight for the 3th of September in England and will be televised by PPV / HBO and / Azteca! I’ll be defending my championship of the world and I’ll be fighting for another world championship to add to my list. On 3 September, I crowned WBO and IBF champion,” said Vargas on his Facebook.
Brook, 30, has been looking or a big name opponent for a stadium fight, but his promoter Eddie Hearn hasn’t been able to find him anyone. They wanted Amir Khan, Tim Bradley, Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather Jr. They got none of them, so now what’s left is Vargas, who is seen by some as a paper champion. Whether you disagree with Vargas being seen as the weak link among the four welterweight champions, you cannot disagree with the fact that Vargas is not a big name. He’s just a guy that picked up the vacant WBO 147lb title by beating Sadam Ali after Bradley gave up his WBO title earlier this year when he decided to fight Manny Pacquiao for a third time rather than defend the belt against Sadam Ali. Bradley likely would have toyed with him if he chose to keep his WBO belt.
The money for a third fight with Pacquiao was clearly too good for Bradley to pass up that fight. Hearn and Brook obviously are hoping that if they can pick up the WBO paper title off Vargas, it will lead to other unification fights against WBC 147lb champion Danny Garcia and the winner of the June 25 fight between WBA champion Keith “One Time” Thurman and Shawn Porter.
If Brook could win those belts, as well as the WBO strap, it would make him a more popular fighter in the UK and he could make bigger paydays from that point on. Brook would then likely move up in weight to the 154lb division to campaign as a junior middleweight division. If Brook stays at 147, it would mean that he would need to fight Errol Spence, and it doesn’t look like he’ll take that risky right because Spence arguably does everything Brook does but much better.
This is a step up for Brook from the poor opposition he’s been fighting recently in Kevin Bizier, Frankie Gavin and Jo Jo Dan. I wouldn’t say that the 27-year-old Vargas is much of a step up from those fighters, but he is a step up to a certain degree. You have to remember how badly Vargas was outclassed by Tim Bradley in their fight last year in June 2015. Vargas lost that fight by a one-sided 12 round decision. The only round where Vargas looked good was in the 12th, when he hurt Bradley with a right hand. However, Vargas couldn’t close the show.
Vargas was initially against the idea of fighting Brook in the UK in front of his own fans, but he was given an offer he could not refuse from Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn. The money obviously is good enough for Vargas to put himself in the position where he might need a knockout in order for him to have a chance of winning the fight. It probably does not matter where the fight takes place because Vargas would have problems anywhere. He does not have much punching power and Brook does. If the judges are going to be scoring rounds based on the harder landing shots, they’ll surely be giving the rounds to Brook based on his superior power.
I highly doubt that a victory by Brook over Vargas will lead to a cascading effect of him getting unification fight against WBC champion Danny Garcia. I don’t see him agreeing to a unification fight because he’s got a good thing going for him fighing guys like Robert Guerrero. Garcia doesn’t strike me as a the risk taking type. His recent fights against Paulie Malignaggi and Guerrero seem to confirm that theory.
If Garcia fights anyway, it’ll be the likes of Andre Berto, Amir Khan and Adrien Broner. I cannot see him fighting Brook and spoiling his situation as the WBC title holder. The winner of the Thurman-Porter fight would fight Brook, but I don’t think that’s a good match-up for Brook. If he takes that fight, then he probably loses badly. Brook might be better off stopping at his unification ventures after he defeats Vargas rather than taking a step too far by fighting the winner of the Thurman vs. Porter fight.
I realize that Brook beat Porter in 2014, but that was with him using a punch and grab [clinch[ technique to keep Porter from throwing punches when he would work himself into range. Porter has improved now and he doesn’t allow himself to be clinched like he used to without him nailing them while being held. If you take away the holding Brook did in the Porter fight, he would have lost because the holding clearly keep Brook from losing. The referee should have taken points away from Brook for his holding but he just seemed more interested in pulling them apart each time Brook would hold rather than controlling/limiting the clinching that he was doing.
Brook would be better off vacating the IBF and WBO titles after he beats Vargas, and then going up to junior middleweight before the IBF forces him to defend against Spence. It think it’ll end badly for Brook if he takes that fight. I see Spence as SO much better than Brook that it’s not even funny. we’re taking different classes of fighters here. Clinching would not work for Brook if he tried that routine on Spence to try and keep him from throwing punches all night long.