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Kell Brook NOT fighting Jessie Vargas next

Jessie Vargas Kell Brook

By Scott Gilfoid: Kell Brook won’t be fighting former Jessie Vargas next after all. According to Mike Coppinger, Vargas (28-2-2, 10 KOs) will be moving up to junior middleweight for his debut in that weight class on the undercard of the rematch between WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. Juan Francisco Estrada in Los Angeles, California.

Brook just waiting around for the Amir Khan fight without facing good opposition has arguably done a number on his career. Just fighting lower fringe contenders, and looking to fight guys that haven’t won a fight in two years like Jessie Vargas, it’s not been great for Brook’s career. Brook has been a non-relevant fighter all by himself by not fighting good opposition since his loss to Spence two years ago in 2017.

It’s unclear what’s happening with Brook (38-2, 26 KOs). He looked terrible in his last fight against fringe junior middleweight contender Michael Zerafa on December 8 in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision. That was Brook’s second tune-up fight in a row after his win over Sergey Rabchenko last March. It’s believed by some boxing fans that Vargas was considered too risky of a fight for Brook, who is waiting to fight Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) in a big stadium fight in the UK later this year after he likely loses his next match against WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford on April 20. While Khan is willing to take a big risk with his career, it’s believed that Brook doesn’t want to do the same thing. If Brook does take a fight before he faces Khan, it’s expected to be another safe tune-up level fight.

Brook’s move up to the 154 lb division has been a MAJOR disappointment in the eyes of boxing fans. Brook, 32, was going to set the junior middleweight division on fire after moving up to that weight class, but instead all we’ve seen from him is two tune-up fights against fringe contenders Michael Zerafa and Sergey Rabchenko. World title champions Jermell Charlo [before he lost his belt] and IBF/WBA champion Jarrett Hurd have shown interested in giving Brook a world title shot, but nothing has come of that. Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn hasn’t spoken of wanting to put him in with the lions at 154. Hearn has mainly shown interest in the Khan vs. Brook fight, which could lose it’s steam entirely due to Kell not no longer taking chances with his career, and Amir about to lose to Crawford.

According to @BarbosaBox at Zona ESPN, Vargas will be fighting Brook later on this year. In the meantime, Vargas, 29, will be fighting on the undercard of the Rungvisai-Estrada II card against an opponent still to be determined. Also on the card is WBA super bantamweight champion Danny Roman vs. IBF 122 lb champion TJ Doheny in a unification fight.

A good move for Brook would be for him to take a real chance with his career by taking on the unbeaten IBF/WBA champion Hurd for his titles. At least if Brook puts in a good effort like he did against former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, his boxing fans would respect him for it. Brook would gain more credibility in losing to Hurd than he would in picking out another tune-up opponent for him to get a guaranteed win over while he waits for Khan to finish up with Crawford on April 20. Brook is Hurd’s World Boxing Association mandatory challenger after beating Zerafa lat December. Just why the WBA let Brook vs. Zerafa be a title eliminator with their organization is the big question. What a truly awful title eliminator that was. It would be understandable if the WBA sanctioned a fight between Brook and Erislandy Lara to be a title eliminator, but not a Brook-Zerafa mismatch.

Brook has spent so many years chasing after Khan for a fight. He should have given up on that fight a long time ago and focused on his own career, and faced the best on more frequent basis than he has. As things are, Brook has fought exactly three good fighters during his 15 year pro career, and those guys are as follows:

– Gennady Golovkin: 5th round TKO loss for Brook

– Shawn Porter: Controversial 12 round majority decision win for Brook.

– Errol Spence Jr: 11th round TKO loss for Brook

The rests of the guys Brook has faced have arguably been tune-up level fights against the likes of Matthew Hatton, Rabchenko, Zerafa, Hector Saldivia, Carson Jones, Frank Gavin, Kevin Bizier, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Jo Jo Dan, Hector Saldivia, Luis Galarza, Lovemore Ndou, Rafal Jackiewicz and Phillip Kotey. Brook got stuck on fighting tune-ups, and never really broke free of that habit. Here he is at 32, still fighting tune-ups and STILL waiting for Khan. What a shame. If Brook made a decision to go after Hurd, the boxing public would be pleased at the news. Even if Hurd thrashed Brook, they would still be happy that he took the chance of fighting with him. If Brook melted back down to 147, and had Heard setup a fight with Terence Crawford, Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao or Keith Thurman, the boxing public would like that idea as well. Gilfoid doesn’t see any of those fights happening though. If that’s Hearn’s idea to keep Brook protected from, then that’s pretty sad, because he’s being forgotten by the fans.

With it being February, it’s likely that Brook is going to wait out Khan. Hearn isn’t going to schedule an opponent for Brook to fight in May or June, because that would leave Khan waiting longer after his April 20 fight. The only thing that would work is if Brook faces someone in April around the same time Khan fights. But there’s no chance that Hearn is going to be able to find someone good that will fight Brook in April. There’s not enough time to negotiate and then prepare for the fight.

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