Kell Brook vs. Michael Zerafa – Official weigh-in results
By Tim Royner: Kell ‘The Special One’ Brook weighed in successfully at 150 pounds on Friday for his WBA junior middleweight title eliminator against #8 WBA Michael Zerafa (25-2, 14 KOs) on Saturday night on Sky Sports in UK and DAZN un the US at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England. Zerafa weighed in heavier at 153.8 lbs. Brook wanted to get his weight down lower for this fight so that he could get within distance of 147, as that’s where he needs to be for him to face Amir Khan in March 2019. That fight might not happen. If it doesn’t, Brook has made it clear that he’s going to be targeting the elite in the welterweight division to come after them.
“I was only a few pounds away from welterweight,” Brook said to Sky Sports News. “I can make welterweight. The kid [Khan] from Bolton don’t want it. It’s looking like he doesn’t.”
If Brook can’t get the fight against Khan, then he says he’ll attempt to get the likes of WBC 147 lb champion Shawn Porter, IBF champ Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia or Manny Pacquiao to fight him. Most of those fighters will reject the idea of fighting Brook. Spence says he sees no point in fighting Brook again. He stopped him last year in the 11th round. Spence says he’ll give Brook a rematch if he wins a world title at 154. However, it’s going to be hard for Brook to win a world title at junior middleweight with him not being interested in fighting any of the champions in that weight class. Danny Garcia is too selective when it comes to his opponents, and he probably won’t want to fight a huge boiled down junior middleweight like Brook. The same goes for Pacquiao. Of the top guys at 147, Brook’s best chance for a fight is against Porter, and even then, it would be a match that would likely need to take place in the U.S in Las Vegas, Nevada. That’s where Porter lives now.
Brook has given up seemingly at fighting any of the top fighters from the 154 lb weight class. It’s unknown why Brook’s fight against Zerafa is going to be a WBA 154 lb title eliminator, since Kell has no intention of fighting for that belt if he wins on Saturday. Brook wants Khan at 147, and if not him, then one of the champions at welterweight.
Khan is considering a fight against WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in March on ESPN PPV. Khan had been interested in fighting Brook, but when he was unable to get him to agree to the 10 lb rehydration clause that he wants before he’ll sign for a fight with him, he decided to go in a different direction. Brook is adament that he wants no part of the rehydration limit, which would take effect on the morning of the fight. Brook would need to limit his fluid intake to keep his weight within 10 lbs at 157 lbs for the secondary weigh-in. Brook isn’t willing to do that, so the Khan-Brook fight won’t be happening. It’s very likely one of the two will change their minds after they lose. If Khan gets knocked out by Crawford, he might have a change of mind about the 10 lb rehydration limit that he wants Brook to agree to. Likewise, if Brook gets beaten by one of the top welterweights, he could suddenly agree to the rehydration limit for the Khan fight. The worst thing that could happen is if Khan and Brook continue to win, since that would likely harden their stance not to give in over the rehydration limit.
“We’ve got to get rid of that guy, and move to the champions who want to fight,” Brook said about Zerafa.
If Brook is interested in challenging himself, he would be in position to fight for a world title against WBA Super World junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd if he beats Zerafa on Saturday night in their WBA 154 lb title eliminator.
Brook is in a bad spot being too big for 147, but too fragile and small for the rugged lions at 154. It’s too bad boxing doesn’t have a 151 lb weight class, in the view of the fact that Brook doesn’t have the size to be fighting at junior middleweight against fighters like Hurd, Jermell Charlo, and Jaime Munguia. All of those guys are six-footers that rehydrate to the 170s. Brook is only 5’9″, and lacks the height and weight to deal with Hurd, Charlo and Munguia. Draining down to 147 will weaken Brook, making him easy prey for the top fighters like Porter, Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford. Khan is different. He’s not in the same talent bracket as those welterweights, he’s getting older, and he’s got a chin problem. Even a weight drained Brook will have a good chance of knocking out Khan. Brook won’t be able to do that against the elite of the 147 lb weight class. The chances are that Brook will quit against the best welterweights like he did against Spence in 2017 and Gennady Golovkin in 2016.
“If I look down at 147 lbs, does anyone want to see Brook rematch Errol Spence Jr? I don’t,” Sky pundit Carl Froch said to skysports.com. “Jermell Charlo or Jarrett Hurd are big punchers so it’s a tough route for Kell to try and take.”
In other weights on the card, unbeaten 2016 Olympian Josh Kelly (8-0, 6 KOs) weighed in at 147 lbs for his fight against former WBA ‘regular’ welterweight champion David Avanesyan (23-3-1, 11 KOs). For his part, the Russian Avanesyan weighed in at 146 lbs.
This is supposed to be a step up for the 24-year-old Kelly, but it’s not much of one. Avanesyan, 30, has lost 2 out of his last 3 fights since 2017, and he’s definitely in the struggling stage of his career. Kelly’s promoter Eddie Hearn chose not match Kelly against the fighters that beat Avanesyan in Lamont Peterson or Egidijus Kavaliauskas. Those would be the better fights for Kelly if Hearn wants to put him in with a better opponent. Hearn is excited about Kelly and sees him as a future world champion. Kelly hasn’t shown the talent yet to see him beating any of the current champions in the welterweight division, but he’s got the youth to wait out the top guys until they get older, and lose enough of their physical skills for him to beat them. Hearn hasn’t shown the desire to match Kelly against stable-mate Daniyar Yeleussinov, who trounced him in the 2016 Olympics. Kelly says he wants the rematch with the 27-year-old Yeleussinov, but he’s not the one that has the final say so in the match-making. Hearn is the decider on who Kelly will be fighting, and right now he’s more interested in matching him against guys that he knows he can beat like Avanesyan.
It’s possible that Kelly will never be able to beat the southpaw Yeleussinov. Hearn has a pretty good judge of his fighter’s talent. If Hearn secretly concludes that Kelly lacks the talent to beat Yeleussinov, then that fight will likely not happen ever. Hearn appears to be giving Kelly the much bigger push than he is with Yeleussinov. That’s understandable from Hearn’s perspective, considering that Kelly is a homegrown UK fighter, whereas Yeleussinov is from Kazakhstan. The British boxing fans will rally around Kelly in a way that they might not ever do with the arguably more talented Yeleussinov.