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Errol Spence Jr. vs. Jeff Horn possible for IBF title

Errol Spence Jr Kell Brook

By Scott Gilfoid: If IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook decides to vacate his title, #1 IBF Errol Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs) and #2 IBF Jeff Horn (15-0-1, 10 KOs) will reportedly wind up fighting for the vacant IBF 147lb title. The two fighters are waiting to find out what Brook’s decision will be in regards to whether he’ll hold onto his title or not.

The International Boxing Federation recently gave Brook a 60-day medical extension this week for him to recover from eye surgery from his broken eye socket he suffered in his 5th round knockout loss to IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin last September.

Brook said he was going to move up to 154 after that fight to start campaigning as a 154lb contender, but he now appears to be dragging his heels about the issue for some reason. Could it be that Brook realizes how tough he might have it if he got in there with the wolves in the 154lb division?

Yeah, there’s some big money fights potentially against Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez that Brook could potentially get if he fought at 154, but those are the only fights.

The rest of the contenders and champions in the 154lb division are bruisers, who don’t have huge fan bases. As such, Brook wouldn’t be making big money to fight the top guys in the junior middleweight division despite the huge risks involved in fighting all of them. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Brook is better off fighting at 147.

Horn and Spence both competed in the 2012 Olympics with both getting eliminated. Horn fought for Australia, and wound up getting eliminated by Denis Berinchyk by a 21-13 score. Berinchyk was beaten by Roniel Iglesias (Cuba) in the gold medal match by a 22-15 score. Horn, 28, recently defeated German fighter Rico Mueller (20-2-1, 14 KOs) by a 9th round knockout win on October 21 in Australia. It was a mismatch, and hard to determine whether Horn was as good as he appeared in the fight. Horn reminds me of a welterweight version of Saul Canelo Alvarez. He’s got heavy hands, and he seems to be pretty skilled. However, I think the 5’9” Horn would be potentially over-matched against a fighter like Spence despite the two fighters being the same height.

Spence is the bigger puncher by far, and has the longer reach by three inches. Spence’s power and jab is better than Horn. Their hand speed appears to be about the same. Spence isn’t a guy known for his hand speed. He’s mostly known for being a tremendous puncher, especially when going to the body.

“And it’s such a relief to come out of a big important fight undamaged,” said Horn to the “I could be fighting for a world title next. I’ve watched Errol Spence and I think I’ve got what it takes to beat him right now.’’

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Horn’s other big win of his career besides the victory over the little known Mueller was a 7th round knockout win over 42-year-old former two division world champion Randal Bailey last April. In that fight, Horn was dropped in the 3rd round. However, Horn got up off the canvas to defeat Bailey in the 7th round. It’s obviously not a good sign that an older fighter like Baily was able to drop Horn.

If Bailey, 42, was able to knock Horn down, then what do you think that Spence will do to him? I don’t think it’ll be a pretty picture. Horn has decent boxing skills, but he tends to come forward in the same each time when he’s trying to land. Whether Horn is coming forward or not, he’s going to have Spence all over him if the two of them wind up facing each other.

I think this I a step down for Spence from his last fight against 41-year-old Leonard Bundu, who he stopped in the 6th round last August in an IBF welterweight title eliminator that was televised by Premier Boxing Champions on NBC from Coney Island, New York. It wasn’t big news that Spence was able to destroy a warrior like Bundu, but it was still impressive none the less. This is the same Bundu that gave Keith “One Time” Thurman fits in their fight in 2014. Thurman won the fight by a 12 round decision, but he took some heavy shots from Bundu early in the match, and he decided it was safer to just box rather than try and slug.

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We’re going to find out in two months whether Brook will vacate his IBF 147lb title or not. Brook is kind of in a bind. If he can’t get a big money fight against Canelo, Cotto, Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr., then he would need to take on a good contender in the 154lb division in order to keep his popularity high. Brook won’t be able to move up to 154 and fight scrubs and expect the results of that fight to interest boxing fans.

I honestly don’t see Brook getting a big fight because all the top names will be busy in early 2017. If Brook stays at 147, then he’ll need to defend his IBF title against Spence, because his title defense is due against him. That’s a dangerous fight for Brook, especially with him coming off of an eye injury. He’s talked about how hard it is for him to make the 147lb weight limit, and he feels it potentially weakens him, even though Spence also comes down from the 170s to fight at 147 as well. Spence doesn’t bellyache about the hard work that is involved in making the weight. He just toughs it out, keeps his mouth shut rather than complains, and then goes out and produces.

If Spence does end up facing Horn, I see it as a basic massacre for Spence. It might be a duplicate of Spence’s wins over Bundu, Alejandro Barrera, Chris Van Heerden, Samuel Vargas and Phil Lo Greco. Horn won’t be able to get away from Spence for long. He’ll be trapped into a fight, and I think it will end badly for Horn. At best, I see Horn lasting maybe four rounds against Spence. At worst, the fight could be over in two rounds.

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