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Spence talks strategy to KO Kell Brook

Image: Spence talks strategy to KO Kell Brook

By Scott Gilfoid: Errol Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 Kos) says he’s going to wear IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) with body shots, and then switch upstairs to knock him out in their fight on May 27. Spence isn’t giving away his specific game plan for the fight against the 30-year-old Brook, as he always throws body shots in all of his fights. Hitting Brook in the body is just a standard thing that Spence is doing. Whether Brook can handle getting hit to the bread basket is the big question.

Even if Spence only throws a handful of body punches, he could still knock Brook out or make him stop punching. We saw Brook pretty much quit fighting after he was hit in the midsection by Gennady Golovkin in his last fight in September. Brook will obviously not admit that he quit, but the fact that he stopped punching after getting hit with a body shot from Golovkin in the 5th says a lot. The only conclusion I can draw from seeing Brook’s reaction to getting hit to the body by Golovkin is he couldn’t handle it. Golovkin was missing a lot when he was targeting Brook’s head, but it was a different story when he went after his body.

“Hopefully, the judges are fair. I think they’ll be fair, but we’re not going to leave it in the judges’ hands,” said Spence to about his fight against Kell Brook. “Hopefully, I do get a knockout,” said Spence.

It’s always best for a visiting fighter to take things into his own hands and look to score a knockout rather than leaving it up to the judges. Spence has a nice outlook to the Brook fight. The last thing Spence needs is for him to be on the receiving end up a controversial decision on May 27. The thing with being a visiting fighter, it puts Spence in a situation where every shot that Brook lands in the fight, they’ll be cheered loudly by the boxing fans.

There are some who believe that judges are unconsciously influenced by the cheering of the fans. If the only thing the judges hear is cheering for Brook all night long, then they could be unconsciously influenced. Spence is a lot like Golovkin with the way he takes the judges out of his fights by him knocking out his opponents. That might be the smart thing for Spence to do if he wants to make sure he gets the victory against Brook.

When asked if he’ll target Brook’s surgically repaired busted right eye socket, Spence said, “I can’t get worried about that. I’ve got to stick to my game plan, and do what I have to do and that’s to win and look impressive. The fans will know who won at the end of the night. I think the body work plays into everything, especially in a 12 round fight. I have to work the body early. Later on, he might get tired. The body shots play a toll in any fight. We definitely got to work the body early. I’ll bring it back upstairs, and hopefully I’ll stop him,” said Spence about Brook.

Attacking Brook’s body is the smart way for Spence to break him down, because he’ll likely be using a lot of head movement like he did in his 5th round TKO loss to Golovkin. However, Brook is likely to present himself as a moving target at all times. One way for fighters to take away the body attack from their opponents is to stay on the move for 12 rounds, and rarely stand and fight. As such, Spence is going to need to cut off the ring and use stabbing jabs to the midsection that he can land if Brook stays on motion all the time.

Spence is very good at cutting off the ring through. He should be able to force Brook to fight him. You never know though. If Brook gets trapped by Spence, he may elect to grab and hold repeatedly like he did in his fight against Shawn Porter. Brook was holding all night long. Surprisingly, many boxing fans think Brook wasn’t holding at all. It’s as if they never saw the Brook-Porter fight. I watched the fight recently, and I was shocked at how much holding that Brook did in that fight. The referee dropped the ball entirely in not stepping in and taking points away from Brook for his holding. It was excessive and clearly a tactic that he was using to nullify Porter’s offense. When you have a fighter that is bending the rules the way that Brook did, the referee is supposed to step in and prevent the fighter from gaming the system. Just as if one fighter decides he’s going to game the system by throwing constant low blows to weaken his opponent, you can’t let a fighter hold excessively to slow his opponent.

“It’ll be a good fight. I feel that he’s ready,” said Shawn Porter to about Spence. “When the bell rings, he’ll be ready for the fight. A lot of people are knocking his lack of experience, and that he may have been pushed into the fight a little bit too soon. I have a feeling he can go over there and win the belt,” said Porter.

Spence is about to turn 27. I don’t see how it’s too early for him. 3 years ago, Brook was 27, and he won the IBF title against Shawn Porter. Spence is definitely ready to win a world title. I don’t see it helping him to wait any longer.

“I think he has to win a very decisive fight, and a knockout would be the way to secure the win,” said trainer Kenny Porter to about Spence needing a knockout to beat Brook. “I’m pretty sure Kell Brook will try and hold him down by doing a lot of clinching. After a certain point in time, the clinching becomes a foul. I would advise his coach to talk to the judges and referee before the fight to make sure that they know what’s a hold, what’s a clinch, and what’s a foul so that they get some kind of order in the fight because that would be a way to stop Errol from punching. It would be very hard. It was hard for us in the U.S to be able to understand why we couldn’t get the referee to stop the holding. If you’ve got over 70 clinches in the first 8 rounds, it’s no longer clinching. By the middle of the fight, 6 rounds through it, the Commission came over and said, ‘tell your coaches to stop yelling at the referee,’ and they were yelling at him to stop the holding. But nobody was doing any cursing or anything overboard or anything negative. They were asking him to stop the holding. If you stop the holding and give a couple of warnings and take a point, there’s a totally different fight. The guy is unable to hold anymore. Now he’s got to fight,” said Kenny Porter about Brook.

Kenny Porter does bring up a good point about Brook’s excessive clinching in the Shawn Porter fight. If the referee had stepped in and done something about it, we’d have had a different fight. It’s nice when you get a referee that does his job by warning and taking points away from a fighter that has decided to clinch repeatedly. The Lennox Lewis vs. Henry Akinwande heavyweight clash is a good example of a referee deciding he wasn’t going to let a fighter clinch over and over again. The referee disqualified Akinwande for his frequent holding in that fight. The thing is, I don’t see much difference between the holding Akinwande was doing and the holding Brook was doing against Porter. I think they were both holding at the same rate. The difference is, Brook wasn’t disqualified, and he didn’t even have a point deducted.

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