Liam Smith wants Kell Brook fight
By Scott Gilfoid: Former WBO light middleweight champion Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith (26-2-1, 14 KOs) is throwing his name into the hat to let the boxing fans know that he’s interested in facing Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) in his next fight once he takes care of business against domestic level 154 lb fighter Sam Eggington (24-5, 15 KOs) next month on March 30.
This isn’t the first time the 30-year-old Smith has spoken up about wanting to fight Brook. It’s an open secret that Smith wants a piece of Brook, as he feels he can beat him. The two sparred with each other several years ago, and Smith obviously got a feel of how good Brook is from those sparring sessions to want to fight him.
Brook, 33, is supposed to be facing former 2 division world champion Jessie Vargas (28-2-2, 10 KOs) for April 6 at 154. The fight still hasn’t been finalized, so it’s unknown whether Kell has had second thoughts about that one or what. Vargas is said to have accepted the terms for the fight, and he’s just waiting for Brook to agree to them. If Brook was willing to take a tough fight before facing Khan later this year, then Liam Smith would be a great option for him, but it looks like he’s only willing to take safe fights. Vargas is a decent fighter, but he’s not a upper level welterweight. That’s been proven in his losses to Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley. Vargas two recent draws against Adrien Broner and Thomas Dulorme further showed that he lacks the talent to beat even mid-range welterweights. Vargas is going to be out of his league against Brook, especially if that fight takes place at 154. Brook won’t be drained, and he’ll be punching with a lot of power for as long as that fight lasts. Vargas has a good chin, so he may go the distance with Brook, but it’s hard to see him winning the fight. Vargas isn’t even a welterweight in terms of punching power and talent. For Vargas to go up to junior middleweight to face Brook it’s going to be a mismatch, which you can argue is what Hearn and Kell both want. They don’t want a setback before the mega-fight against Khan.
If Brook has second thoughts, then perhaps he and Smith can face each other. It would be a risky fight for Brook, because Smith has a little pop in his punch, and he could potentially cause him problems. Brook has had eye issues in the last three years of his career in suffering fractured eye sockets in losses to Errol Spence Jr. and Gennady Golovkin. The thing about those injuries is that it effected different eyes. What are the odds of a fighter suffering fractured eye sockets effecting DIFFERENT eyes in back to back fights? We don’t know if Brook has an inherent weakness with his eye sockets or if this is just something that was brought about because of him facing two devastating punchers in GGG and Spence. Who would ever consider facing those two knockout artists in consecutive fights. No one does that. Keith Thurman and Terence Crwford haven’t even fought Spence once, let alone face him and Golovkin.
“It’s a fight I’d like. Nothing bad against Kell. It’s a fight I’d like because he’s a massive name,” Smith said to skysports.com. “It’s a massive fight. They’re the fights I want to be involved in. They’re the fights I signed with Eddie and Matchroom for.”
Smith lost his last fight to World Boxing Organization junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia(32-0, 26 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision last summer on July 21 by the scores 116-111, 119-108 and 117-110. It was a competitive fight, but Munguia was too busy for Smith during the championship rounds of the contest.
“Kell has lost the fight with [Amir] Khan for the time being,” Smith said. “Kell is going to want a big name, a fight he can get up for. I’m sure I’m in that category. He might want bigger names, Jessie Vargas…We’ll accept that in a heartbeat.”
Vargas and Smith aren’t big names, at least not in the U.S, that is. The hardcore boxing fans know who they are in the U.S. What Smith provides Brook is a name that the UK boxing fans can recognize, and it’s a winnable fight for Kell, as long as he doesn’t crack up again with another fractured eye socket. Smith hits hard enough to do damage if he connects cleanly enough times. For that reason, it’s likely that Brook and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing will swerve this fight. Hearn wants to make sure that Brook keeps winning long enough for him to get the big money fight against Khan, who is scheduled to face unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford on April 20. Khan is probably going to lose that fight. If Brook loses his next fight, then Hearn would be trying to sell a fight to the British boxing public between two guys coming off of losses.
Hearn doesn’t want that situation, so he’s very likely going to steer Brook to safer waters by putting him in against the non-puncher Jessie Vargas next, and then hope for the best. Vargas hasn’t won a fight in 2 years, so you kind of tell where he’s at talent-wise. Vargas was a good light welterweight, but he’s not a factor at welterweight. He doesn’t have the power in that weight class for him to beat the best. Vargas has recent 12 round draws against Thomas Dulorme and Adrien Broner in his last two fights. Vargas is lucky he didn’t lose those fights because he could very well have.