By Scott Gilfoid: Kell Brook (37-2, 26 KOs) posted a photo of himself training on Instagram with Amir Khan’s last opponent Samuel Vargas (29-4-2, 14 KOs) on Tuesday in getting ready for his December 8 opponent Michael Zerafa (25-2, 14 KOs).
The photo of Brook training with Vargas suggests that Kell is doing everything he can to learn all the secrets he can in how to beat Khan. Unfortunately for Brook, everything he learns could end up being useless to him if he’s too weight drained to perform when he gets inside the ring with Khan in early 2019. The combination of the 147 lb weigh-in limit and the 10 lb rehydration clause for the secondary weigh-in on the day of the fight might do Brook in.
Brook vs. Zerafa will be shown on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S.
Vargas is arguably a better fighter than Zerafa, the guy that Brook is fighting next in December. It doesn’t look good when a fighter’s sparring partners are better than his opponents, as that shows that his promoter is matching him too softly. In that case, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is the guilty party in matching Brook weakly by scheduling a fight between him and former Peter Quillin knockout victim Zerafa instead of a quality 147 or 154 lb fighter.
The reason why Hearn chose to match Brook against Zerafa is so that he doesn’t lose again. There’s a lot of money for Brook and Matchroom Sport in a Khan-Brook fight. Vargas is arguably better than all but three of Brook’s past opponents on his resume. The guys that Brook has fought that are better than Vargas is Gennady Golovkin, Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter. Brook lost to Golovkin and Spence, and a lot of boxing fans think he deserved a loss to Porter.
Brook, 32, didn’t give any information how well he’s doing with his sparring sessions, but suffice it to say he’s likely having his way with Vargas. This might be more about Brook picking the 29-year-old Vargas’ brain to learn tips in how to defeat Khan when the two of them square off in March of 2019. It would be fun to be a fly on the wall to see Brook with pen and paper asking Vargas nonstop questions about the different weaknesses he spotted in Khan’s game from his fight with him. It might be a big waste of time, since the Khan-Brook fight is still not close to being agreed upon. Hearn has been complaining about the 10 lb rehyration clause that Khan is asking for, and he sounds like he’s taking sides in the negotiations instead of trying to get Kell to agree to the 10 lb reydration clause.
Vargas knocked Khan down in the 2nd round of their fight on September 8 in Birmingham. Khan returned the favor in dropping Vargas in the 2nd and 3rd rounds en route to beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision. It was a surprise that Vargas was able to give Khan problems and be competitive throughout the 12 round fight. Vargas was destroyed by Errol Spence Jr. in four rounds three years ago in 2015, and he stopped in seven rounds by Danny Garcia in 2016. For Khan to struggle against in being forced to go the full 12 round distance, it was a bad look for him.
It doesn’t mean much if Brook is able to dominate Vargas, because he’s basically a small middleweight. Brook rehydrates to the low 170s for his fights at welterweight and junior middleweight like former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, so his experience against Vargas is going to be much different than that of Khan. If you give Khan a huge weight advantage over an opponent, he’s going to do well nine times out of ten.
If Brook doesn’t agree to the 10 pound rehydration clause that Khan is asking for him to agree to, then the closest thing he’ll ever get to a fight against him is the sparring sessions that he has with Vargas.
Brook wanted to come back earlier against Brandon Cook on July 28 on the Dillian Whyte vs. Joseph Parker card at the O2 Arena in London,England, but he suffered an ankle injury that held him out until December 8. Golden Boy Promotions scooped Cook and fed him to World Boxing Organization junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia and he stopped him in the 3rd round. For Munguia to stop Cook so quickly, it shows what kind of opponent that Hearn was looking to match him against. Zerafa is unquestionably a step down from Cook, which means that Brook is going to need to stay in 1st gear if he doesn’t want to knock him out immediately on December 8 like he did against his last overmatched opponent Sergey Rabchenko last March. Brook stopped Rabchenko in the 2nd round, and he probably could have stopped him in the 1st if he had wanted to.
Brook wants to keep his weight down for this fight because he’s going to need to get down to 147 if Hearn is able to setup the fight with Khan. Brook is so desperate for the Khan fight that he’ll likely agree to the 10 lb rehydration clause that he’s asking for. It’s not a big deal when you realize how much money Brook is going to make from the fight. Fighters that compete for the IBF titles need to keep their fight day weight within 10 lbs of their weigh-in weight until the morning of the fight. Brook need to pretend that he’s fighting for the IBF title so that he won’t be so upset about it.
“We know that the Khan fight is on the horizon, but this is all part of Kell’s preparation for being razor-sharp and bringing his weight down to 147 pounds. Zerafa aims to spoil the party,” Hearn said to espn.com.
It would be better if Hearn used a better fighter than Zerafa to help Brook prepare for a fight against Khan. Zerafa is a junior middleweight, not a welterweight. There are some good welterweights with hand speed that Brook could be fighting on December 8. Hearn has the money to get top welterweights to fight Brook. He didn’t need to pick a 2nd tier junior middleweight like Zerafa. If Hearn wanted Brook to fight a guy from the 154 lb weight class, he should have selected someone like Jack Culcay,Carlos Adames, Erislandy Lara or Julian Williams.
Brook’s trainer Dominic Ingle won’t be there for the Zerafa fght. Brook will have his friend John Dewkes work his corner. Brook will be on cruise control for the Zerafa fight due to it being a mismatch. You might as well plug in Samuel Vargas. That would be a far more interesting fight.
“All of my focus and attention is on getting myself ready to put on a spectacular performance for my loyal fans,” Brook said about his fight with Zerafa. “I want to close the year in special fashion and set up some blockbuster fights in 2019.”
When you hear Brook talking about wanting to put on a “spectacular performance,” it’s a big hint that his opponent is over-matched. It would be better if Brook would have least fought one good fighter in 2018, as he’ll have wasted the entire year on poor oposition. It gives the appearance that Brook is on his way out of the sport and just looking to get his cash out payday fight against Khan.
Brook comes accross as too needy. He wants the Khan fight in the worst, and it makes it look like he’s got nothing else in his life going for him other than that one fight. If Brook would start fighting quality opposition for a change, he would make a ton of money in fights against the likes of Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr., Terence Crawford, Danny Garcia, Jermall Charlo, Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara, Jaime Munguia and Jarrett Hurd.
“I was ringside for Amir Khan’s last fight [on Sept. 8], so let’s see if he’ll be there on Dec. 8, or will he be too shook for Brook” Brook said.
Khan signed with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn earlier this year with the idea of fighting Brook in a big match in the UK. Hearn has been salivating at the idea of matching Khan and Brook against each other for years, and now he finally has the chance to do it. That’s why Hearn is matching Khan and Brook against weak opposition. He doesn’t want them to lose, and unfortunately that’s an all real possibility.