Michael Zerafa ready to beat Kell Brook on Sat.
By Trevor McIntyre: Michael Zerafa thinks Kell Brook is overlooking him for their fight this Saturday night on Sky Sports, and he plans on giving him a big fat loss when he gets the 32-year-old former IBF welterweight champion inside the ring with him on December 8 at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England.
Brook (37-2, 26 KOs) and his promoter Eddie Hearn have been talking nonstop about a match against Amir Khan for February or March in the UK, and they clearly don’t see the 26-year-old Zerafa (25-2, 14 KOs) as a threat to upsetting those plans. Zerafa is viewed as a small speed bump in the path of Brook.
Zerafa wants to put on a show, but he’s going to need to come with some punching power for him to have a chance of beating Brook. The Australian Zerafa isn’t a big puncher, but he may not need to be for him to take advantage of Brook’s fragile eye sockets, and his questionable stamina. Brook has been gassing out in the fifth and sixth rounds when stepping it up against good fighters in the last two years. Brook was stopped in the 5th by Gennady Golovkin in 2016, and in the 11th round by Errol Spence Jr. in May of 2017. In both fights, Brook suffered eye injuries that caused him to quit.
“Halfway through the first round Brook and his team will realize they’ve underestimated me,” Zerafa said to skysports.com. “I respect Kell Brook, he’s a great fighter and he’s been at a higher level than me for longer, but that’s exactly why he’s looking past me. I’m going to make a lot of people eat their words. I’m definitely going to put on a show in Sheffield,” Zerafa.
Despite his bravado, Zerafa is the underdog, and he’ll be stepping into the lion’s den in facing Brook in his hometown in the Sheffield Arena. What that amounts to is Zerafa will need to really earn any rounds he wins, as he won’t be given anything on a silver platter on the night against Kell. Both Spence and Golovkin found out how hard is it to win rounds against Brook in the UK. Golovkin was trailing three rounds to one on one judges’ scorecards going into the 5th in 2016, and the other two judges had the fight knotted up 38-38 and 38-38. The boxing public had GGG well ahead of Brook by 3 rounds to 1 going into the 5th. In Spence’s fight with Brook in 2017, he was trailing him through the first six rounds on the judges’ scorecards. Spence’s heavy hands broke Brook’s right eye socket, causing him to wilt from that point on.
Zerafa is going to be lucky if he wins any rounds in the first half of the contest. That’s when Brook at his best. If Zerafa is still around in the second half of the contest, then he’ll have a good chance of scoring a stoppage due to Brook’s stamina issues. If is struggling with Zerafa’s punching power, then you can count on him doing a lot of clinching, moving and throwing pot shots. Brook will spoil if he has to for him to get a win without taking punishment. That’s obviously not the way Brook wants to win the fight though. Brook is counting on winning in an impressive fashion. In fact, Brook needs to shine in this fight for him to create interest in a fight between him and Amir Khan in March of this year.
Earlier on Monday, news came out about Khan in negotiations for a title fight against World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Terence Crawford on March 23 in New York. If that turns out to be the case, then Brook is going to need to go in another direction for his next fight instead of Khan. It’ll look bad on Brook’s part if he takes on another tune-up level opponent, as that would make it three straight lower level fighters he’s faced since his stoppage loss to Spence in 2017. Brook needs to step it up if he gets past Zerafa. When Brook moved up to 154, he said he was going to go after the world titles in that weight class. He’s not done that though.
Fine Tuning today for Fight Week
— Kell Brook (@SpecialKBrook) December 3, 2018