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Brook wants “old school” fight with Rabchenko

Kell Brook

By Tim Royner: Kell ‘Terminator” Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) says he’ll be looking to make it an “old school” fight this Saturday night in his debut at 154 against Sergey Rabchenko (29-2, 22 KOs) at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, UK. The fight is scheduled for 12 rounds for the vacant World Boxing Council Silver junior middleweight title. A win for Brook could put him on a collision course with WBC 154 lb. champion Jermell Charlo.

Brook likes the idea of mixing it up with the 31-year-old Rabchenko. Brook thinks it’ll be more interesting if he punches with Rabchenko. Brook lost his last 2 fights to Errol Spence Jr. and Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovki after sustaining eye injuries. He had titanium plates inserted into his eye sockets to strengthen them to prevent them from being broken again.

We’ll see on Saturday if the Titanium holds up under the big punches from Rabchenko. The eye injuries that Brook has been suffering could cut short his career if he continues to experience them. Some would say that Brook’s 2 broken eye sockets in his last 2 fights were just bad luck on his part, but if he suffers a third broken eye socket in the Rabchenko fight, then you have to view it as a sign that it’s time for him to retire.

“I’ve got lots of energy and I’m looking to go old school in this fight. Be a bit lighter on my feet and use the ring well,” Brook said to “He’s very strong. I’m coming up to this weight. He’s naturally strong and powerful, and he goes to the head and body good. He uses the ring, he’s a very clever fighter.”

Brook needs a good trainer that can save him from his own worst impulses. Choosing to slug with Rabchenko is a recipe for failure on Brook’s part. Sometimes I wonder if he enjoys losing.

Rabchenko is more than strong enough to create problems for Brook. Rabchenko is going to be forcing Brook to fight it out with him, and it could be bad on his part if he’s unable to keep him off. Brook’s stamina hasn’t been all that good in his last 2 fights. Golovkin wore Brook down with his pressure and stopped in the 5th round. Errol Spence Jr. struggled early on against Brook, but then he too wore him down with pressure last May.

Brook looked good until the 7th round. That’s when Spence took over the fight with his pressure and power punching. Rabchenko is capable of wearing Brook out just like GGG and Spence did. If that happens, Brook will need to get on his bike and move for as much as he can. I wouldn’t advise Brook to use his punch and grab technique that he employed against Shawn Porter in 2014, because Rabchenko is a powerful guy, and might be strong enough to fight through the clinches to hurt Brook.

“It’s a very tough fight. I know I’ve done everything right, but if anyone had not done anything right at the top level, they would get beat by this guy, because this guy is no joke,” Brook said.

Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn has already covered himself from blame by telling the boxing media that it wasn’t his choice to pick Rabchenko for the March 3 fight. It was Brook’s, he says. Hearn stated that he wouldn’t have picked out Rabchenko as Brook’s opponent if it was up to him. In other words, Hearn doesn’t want to be blamed if things go wrong for Brook against Rabchenko, which is entirely possible given his recent history.

Brook cannot lose this fight to Rabchenko, because if he gets beaten, he’ll lose the Amir Khan match for later this year. Hearn said this week that if Brook gets beaten by Rabchenko, it’s over for him. Brook’s career wouldn’t be over, but his chances for the big money fight against Khan would be finished for good. Losing 3 fights in a row would be the final blow to Brook’s career.

Khan can’t afford to lose either. He faces Phil Lo Greco on April 21 in his comeback fight at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Khan lost his last fight to Saul Canelo Alvarez in May 2016. Khan didn’t take as much criticism from the boxing public as a fighter normally would after a knockout loss because Canelo is a middleweight. Khan moved up to middleweight to challenge him for his WBC title in 2016 before he vacated the belt to avoid GGG.

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