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Kell Brook to fight on March 3 in Sheffield, UK

By Scott Gilfoid: Kell ‘Special K’ Brook will be returning to the ring on March 3 at junior middleweight against an opponent still to be determined in Sheffield, UK. This will be Brook’s first official fight at 154.

The idea is for Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) to take a tune-up fight to get back to his winning ways, and then possibly a title shot against new WBO 154lb. champion Sadam Ali if he’s still the belt holder by the time he fights for the belt. Even if Ali loses his title in his first title defense against #1 WBO Liam Smith, it’s a good match-up for Brook to take. Smith and Brook are both from the UK, and they’ve sparred in the past. Smith helped Brook get ready for his fight against middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin last year.

Former light welterweight title challenger Ashley ‘Treasure’ Theophane (41-8-1, 12 KOs) is being mentioned as a possibility for Brook’s March 3 fight. Theophane says he was approached by Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn about a fight. Theophane now fights at 154. Theophane was recently beaten last summer on August 22 by journeyman Shoki Sakai (23-7, 13 KOs) by a lopsided 8 round unanimous decision in Las Vegas, Nevada. Theophane was stopped in the 9th round by Adrien Broner on April 1, 2016

Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn believes he’s capable of winning a world title at junior middleweight. The only champion that Hearn has chirped about lately is WBO 154 lb. belt holder Sadam Ali, who is clearly the weakest link among the title holders in the division. Hearn is very wily with him targeting the vulnerable Ali for Brook to eventually face. Ali is arguably little more than a weak welterweight contender, who lucked out in facing an over-the-hill, and injured Miguel Cotto last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“He’s going to be back,” Hearn said to talkSPORT. “March 3, Sheffield Arena, Kell Brook will be back at 154 pounds, the light-middleweight division, to begin his assault on becoming a two weight world champion. I believe he can be a force at that weight,” said Hearn.

Brook REALLY needs a win right now to stop the bleeding. His career has gone down the tubes in a hurry with him getting stopped in his last 2 contests by Errol Spence Jr. and Gennady Golovkin. In both fights, Brook suffered broken sockets. Here’s the thing. The injuries occurred to different eyes. What that means is unclear. Does Brook have a weakness with his eyes that make him vulnerable to suffering broken eye sockets? Why is this happening now? If Brook’s eye problems persist, then it’s probably going to end his career soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brook calls it quits after his next fight in March if he suffers another eye injury. It’s obviously not the smartest move in the world for Brook to be moving up to 154, where he’ll be more at risk of suffering additional eye problems due to the increased punching power for fighters in that division.

Hearn seems to be steering Brook towards safer waters for the time being. With Hearn yapping about wanting to match Brook against Sadam Ali for a title shot at his WBO junior middleweight title, it’s a safe fight for Special K. Ali can’t punch. Ali is fast like Amir Khan, but he’s also weak like him when it comes to punching power. Hearn will likely match Brook against a weak puncher for his March 3 fight before setting him up for a title shot against Sadam Ali in the summer.

I agree in part with what Hearn says about Brook being “a force at that weight.” I think Brook can beat Sadam Ali without any problems to become the WBO 154lb. belt holder, but that’s the only thing I see him capable of. Technically, Hearn would be right in saying that Brook can be a force in the 154lb. division, but only with the WBO right now. The WBO’s rankings are horrible in my opinion, with a lot of weak contenders ranked. As I’ve already mentioned, Sadam Ali is a very WEAK champion for the WBO, and Brook can probably beat him with ease. But, it would be a different story if Hearn shoved Brook into the ring with 154lb. champions Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd. Those guys are huge junior middleweights with the same size as Gennady Golovkin. Charlo can punch like Golovkin in my view, and Hurd is an excellent puncher as well. I don’t see Brook being capable of beating any of those guys.

As for Brook’s opponent for his March 3 fight, former welterweight contender Sam Eggington (21-4, 13 KOs) is a possibility. Eggington, 24, was recently beaten Mohamed Mimoune (19-2, 2 KOs) by a 12 round split decision in his last fight on October 7 at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK.

Brook fought well against Errol Spence Jr. in his last fight on May 27 at Bramall Lane in Sheffield. However, once Brook suffered a broken eye socket, which he believes occurred in round 7, it was all downhill from there. Spence took over the fight and pounded Brook into submission. Brook took a knee in round 10, and another knee in the 11th. He was counted out after taking the second knee. It would have been smarter for Brook to stay at 147, because he fought well against Spence. If the difference in the fight was the eye injury, then it makes no sense for Brook to move up to 154, because there’s nobody popular in that weight class now that Miguel Cotto has retired. Brook is better off staying at 147, where he can fight Amir Khan, Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford and Spence.

I really hate to second guess Brook and Hearn with the decisions they make, but his is a dumb one in my view. I wouldn’t have Brook moving up to 154 if I was his promoter. Given Brook’s eye injuries, I would want to keep him at 147 for as long as possible. Putting Brook in the 154 pound division will mean that he’s going to be facing bigger punchers. Of course, I don’t know what Hearn has in mind when it comes to the match-making he’s going to be doing for Brook. If Hearn is just going to match Brook against a soft job in his tune-up, and then put him in with the weak punching Sadam Ali, then it’s pretty much the same as Brook fighting at 147. Brook will have problems when he’s forced to mix it up with Liam Smith and Liam Williams. Those are the only big punchers currently in the World Boxing Organization’s top 15 right now. The WBO’s rankings are horrible. There are no talented fighters from the top to bottom in the rankings. If Brook can get his mitts on the WBO 154lb. title, he might be able to hang onto it for a long time. Hearn obviously sees what I see in the WBO’s rankings, which is why he’s already talking about matching Brook against Sadam Ali.

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