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Kell Brook rules out Jermell Charlo fight for June

Kell Brook

By Scott Gilfoid: Kell Brook (37-2, 26 KOs) says he won’t be facing WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) in June, because he wants to fight another opponent at 154 to get better suited to the weight class before he looks to fight for a world title.

Brook says he’ll be fighting in the summer. His promoter Eddie Hearn wants him to fight in June against a “nice step up’ from last Saturday’s opponent #5 WBC Sergey Rabchenko (29-3, 22 KOs). Brook stopped Rabchenko in the 2nd round at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England. Hearn says he wants to match Brook against Amir Khan in November or December. That means that Brook’s fight in the summer will likely be his last fight before he faces Khan at the end of the year.

“I’m putting the 154 lb. fighters on notice at top level,” Brook said to Behind The Gloves. “Absolutely, yes, I’d like to have another fight at 154 first,” Brook said when asked if he’d be willing to face Jermell Charlo. “There’s no massive rush to settle into the weight, and get another great performance. But of course, he has a belt. I want to be a 2-time world champion,” Brook said.

With Hearn looking at matching Brook against an opponent slightly better than Rabchenko for his June fight, it means that we won’t see Kell fight Jermell Charlo until 2019 at the earliest if at all. Hearn also mentioned WBO junior middleweight champion Sadam Ali facing Liam Smith next. The winner of that fight could be the one that Hearn looks to match Brook against in 2019 rather than Charlo. Hearn pointed out that IBF champion Jarrett Hurd is facing WBA Super World champ Erislandy Lara next. Brook will have an excuse for not facing either of those guys.

It’s unknown why Brook, 31, is talking about wanting to put the fighters at 154 on notice when he has absolutely no intention of fighting any of them this year. If the idea is for Brook to take a small step up from Rabchenko, a fighter that arguably had no business being ranked at No.5 by the World Boxing Council, then that doesn’t say much. Rabchenko looked like a poor fighter last Saturday.

“Amir Khan is fighting April 21st. The plan was always for those guys to fight again in the summer,” Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn said. “That fight [Khan vs. Brook] probably takes place in November, December. Kell could be out in early June at the earliest, but certainly before the end of the summer.”

Ideally, it would be better for Hearn to make the Khan vs. Brook fight in early 2019 so that both fighters could use the remainder of 2018 rebuilding their careers and making the boxing fans believe in them again. Khan is fighting journeyman Phil Lo Greco on April 21st. That’s not a big enough fight for Khan to make the boxing public start believing in him again. If that’s the only fight that Khan will be taking before he faces Brook in November or December, then it’s obvious that Hearn is rushing him and Brook into their fight before they get beaten again. If Hearn believes in Khan and Brook’s talent to have success at the highest levels, then he’d bring them along slowly before making the fight in 2019. I don’t think Hearn trusts either of them to keep winning, especially with Khan.

”I want to see him step up and have a nice step up again from Rabchenko,” Hearn said of Brook. ”Rabchenko is number 5 with the WBC. He’s got 2 defeats in his career, both were very high level,” Hearn said in trying to build up Rabchenko as being a good fighter instead of a mediocre guy with an inflated ranking by the WBC.

It should be interesting to see who Hearn uses as a step up for Brook to fight. Since this is likely going to be another fight that will be taking place in the UK, Hearn might opt to match Brook against Liam Smith, Austin Trout, Liam Williams or Jack Culcay. I think it’s probably going to be one of those guys that Brook winds up facing in June.

The fighters that Hearn likely WON’T be matching against Brook in June are from this list:

• Erickson Lubin

• Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams

• Vanes Martirosyan

• Michel Soro

Amir Khan returns on April 21st, so we got to see how he looks,” Hearn said. ”I’m hoping he looks great, because the fight gets bigger and bigger. I feel that fight is the biggest fight out there.”

Hearn needs to at least make an effort to make the Khan vs. Brook fight a legitimate one and not just a money grab to trick the naive boxing fans out of their money by selling a fight between two shot fighters to the gullible public. In my view, Rabchenko is a not world class fighter regardless of the WBC having him rated. Lo Greco is an inactive journeyman level fighter. Khan beating Lo Greco isn’t nearly enough to show that he’s come back from his knockout loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez from 2 years ago.

Hearn should look to match Khan against a fringe level junior middleweight or a good bottom 10 welterweight like Adrian Granados, Jessie Vargas, Josesito Lopez, Jamal Jones or Bradley Skeete. If Khan beats one of those guys, it would do a lot to help resurrect him in the eyes of the boxing public.

”Kell showed he’s 100 percent firing on all cylinders,” Hearn said. ”He wants to be a 2-weight world champion, but we want to be in the big fights. If they don’t materialize in the world champion fights, then we have to look at other fights,” Hearn said in what appears to be an explanation for why he’s looking to set Brook up against non-world champion Khan instead of one of the talented junior middleweight champions.

There aren’t many big fights that don’t involve world champions. Khan is probably one of the rare fighters out there for Brook that is a big fight for him against a non-champion. Saul Canelo Alvarez is a non-champion, but that would probably be a bad idea for Hearn to try and make a fight between him and Brook. We saw what happened to Brook when he fought Gennady Golovkin. Brook already lost to Errol Spence, so it would be pointless for him to make a rematch between those 2 fighters without Kell’s career being rebuilt against high caliber opposition.

Rabchenko is not a high caliber fighter. Hearn can try and make it seem like Brook beat one of the best fighters at 154, but he clearly didn’t. A second fight between Brook and Spence wouldn’t be any different than the first. Brook can’t body shots, and Spence would be hitting him with hard punches to the midsection all night long.

”You got Sadam Ali, the WBO champion,” Hearn said. ”It looks like he’s fighting Liam Smith. You got [Jermell] Charlo, the WBC champion. You got [Erislandy] Lara, who’s unifying with [Jarrett] Hurd. That’s a very difficult division, but I’ve always believed Kell could beat all those guys,” Hearn said.

If Hearn believes Brook can beat Charlo, he should put his money where his mouth is by making that fight in the summer. That would be a good step up for Brook from his fight with Rabchenko. A lot of boxing fans would be excited at seeing Brook take on Charlo, because they would be thinking he’s going to lose the fight. There were tons of fans in the UK excited when Brook fought Golovkin in 2016.

The reason for that is because those fans were expecting Brook to lose, which he did by a 5th round TKO. So even if Brook loses to Charlo, if he can at least make it an exciting fight for as long as it lasts, he’ll come out ahead. It won’t be as bad as one would think it is because he’ll have made it an interesting fight to watch. But it won’t be good if Hearn picks out another Rabchenko victim for Brook to fight in showcase fight to make him look better than he actually is.

”He beats Errol Spence at 154 pounds, no question, Hearn said about his belief that Brook has improved since he moved up to 154. ”The only reason he couldn’t beat Errol Spence is because what he had to do to make 147 pounds. People make out that Errol Spence is the second coming of Sugar Ray Leonard. He’s not. Kell Brook is a better fighter than Errol Spence. I feel at 154, he’s going to be very difficult to beat,” Hearn said.

It sounds like Hearn is on damage control watch in trying to re-write history by changing the variables. Instead of Hearn simply acknowledging that Brook wasn’t good enough to beat Spence at 147, he’s telling the boxing media that if Brook weighed 154 pounds during their fight, it would have been a different story. Brook would have beaten Spence. I’m wondering why Hearn stopped with Spence.

Hearn should have kept his roll going by saying that Brook would have beaten Golovkin too if they fought at 154. Hearn would have sounded like he’d gone mad completely. Saying that Brook would beat Spence now is bad enough. Hearn sounds totally desperate with his feeble attempts at rebuilding Brook’s shattered mage with the boxing public. Unfortunately, Hearn is doing it on the cheap though. Rather than putting Brook in with the talented fighters at 154, Hearn is matching him against weak opposition while at the same time name dropping Spence’s name and telling the media that he’d beat him too. I doubt that too many people believe that Brook can beat Spence. Hearn matching Brook against Rabchenko wasn’t a good enough win to convince boxing fans that he’ll beat Spence in a rematch.

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