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Kell Brook vs. Sergey Rabchenko fighting for WBC Silver 154lb title

Kell Brook

By Tim Royner: The WBC Silver junior middleweight title will be on the line this Saturday night for the Kell ‘Special K’ Brook vs. Sergey Rabchenko fight at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England.

The significance of the WBC Silver 154 lb. being on the line is the World Boxing Council is going to give the winner of the Brook-Rabchenko (29-2, 22 KOs) fight a big push up in their top 15 rankings at 154. Rabchenko, 31, is already rated #5 with the WBC.

A win for either fighter could vault them into the No.1 spot to become the top contender to WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs). Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) is expected to defeat the Belarusian Rabchenko on Saturday. If Brook wins that fight, he could be put in the tough position of challenging the unbeaten Jermell Charlo for his WBC title. Brook has talked about wanting to capture another world title before he retires from the sport.

Charlo, 27, is looking very good right now with 4 consecutive knockouts. If Brook decides to steer around Charlo, he’ll look like he’s ducking him, and that’ll make him look bad in the eyes of many boxing fans. Brook choosing to fight Charlo could be a mistake on his part, he could get knocked out by him. A loss to Charlo would hurt the promotion of an Amir Khan vs. Brook fight.

“I’ve got the hunger. I’m a born winner. I want to compete and I want to be the best. I need to go out and win another world title,” Brook said to Sky Sports News.

Well, the opportunity to fight for a world title will likely be given to the 31-year-old Brook on a silver platter if he defeats Rabchenko, which could be easier said than done. The WBC is making it clear by putting their WBC Silver junior middleweight title up for grabs that they want the winner of the Brook vs. Rabchenko fight to battle Jermell Charlo for his title. It’s probably Brook’s best shot of getting a quick world title fight at 154. IBF champion Jarrett Hurd and WBA champion Erislandy Lara will be facing each other next. WBO 154 champion Sadam Ali will likely be facing Liam Smith in his next fight once they get the contest negotiated.

Charlo will be making his next defense of his WBC belt on June 9 against an opponent still to be determined on Showtime Boxing at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. In theory, Brook could face Charlo in June if he beats Rabchenko and if he’s willing to challenge for his title. It’s a bad match-up for Brook though. Charlo regularly spars with Errol Spence Jr., and the two are very competitive with one another. The 6’0” Charlo has the size advantage over Spence during their sparring. Brook was stopped by Spence in the 11th round last year on May 27. Charlo might have too much size and explosive power for Brook to deal with.

Brook has dealt with 2 broken eye sockets in the last year and a half that has limited his activity to 2 fights. He’s been out of the ring for 10 months since his loss to Spence. In Brook’s fight before that, he was stopped in the 5th round by middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin in September 2016. Brook suffered a broken eye socket in that fight took. The way that Brook’s eyes have been giving him problems in his last 2 fights, anything is possible for his match against Rabchenko on Saturday night. Rabchenko hits plenty hard, and Brook is coming off of a bad injury.

Without question, Rabchenko is facing Brook at the right time to deal him another defeat. If this was a healthy Brook, he’d probably take care of Rabchenko without any problems. It still wouldn’t be an easy fight though. Rabchenko isn’t the type of fighter who just folds in his fights. He’s a tough guy with a lot of power, and a good chin. Rabchenko has only lost 1 fight by knockout during his career, and that was against 6’1” Tony Harrison in a 9th round stoppage in July 2016.

If Rabchenko is able to survive for 9 rounds against Brook, he’ll have a chance of hurting him with one of his big shots to the head or body. Rabchenko has heavy hands. His only other defeat during his 12-year pro career is a controversial 12 round split decision to Anthony Mundine in November 2014. A lot of boxing fans had Rabchenko winning that fight.

Brook has a lot of wins over soft opposition in the last 4 years of his career. His one big win, a 12 round majority decision, came against Shawn Porter in August 2014. That was a fight that was largely won by Brook tying Porter up all night long. It was a messy fight that really proved little other than Brook could by spoiling for 12 rounds.

Brook’s wins over soft opposition in the last 4 years has come against these fighters:

• Kevin Bizier

• Frankie Gavin

• Ionut Dan Ion

• Alvaro Robles

It’s been 2 years since Brook last won a fight in stopping Bizier in the 2nd round in March 2016. That’s why it could be a mistake for Brook to be facing Rabchenko. He’s not a soft opponent like the fighters that Brook has been beating to pad his record with since 2014. Rabchenko might beat Brook, and that would ruin his dreams of facing Khan in a big mega-fight on Sky Box Office. That fight could still happen even if Brook loses to Rabchenko and Khan gets beaten by Phil Lo Greco in his next fight on April 21. The boxing fans won’t be excited about Brook and Khan facing each other if they come into their fight off of recent losses.

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