By Ian S Palmer
IBF World Welterweight Champion Kell (Ezekiel) Brook of England will be taking on undefeated southpaw Errol Spence Jr. of America this Saturday, May 27th at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. The 12-round bout can be seen live in the UK on Sky Box Office while fans in the U.S. can catch the action on Showtime and those in Canada can tune in to Super Channel. Brook last fought in September when he moved up to middleweight to take on WBA, IBF, IBO and WBC Champion Gennady Golovkin and was stopped in the fifth round. Spence was last in the ring in August and stopped Leonard Bundu in the sixth round.
The 31-year-old Brook will be fighting in his hometown of Sheffield and will enter the ring with an impressive record of 36-1 with 26 Kos. He put up an entertaining fight against Golovkin last year even though he moved up two weight divisions, but ultimately ended up with a broken orbital bone for his efforts. Brook won his IBF title in August of 2014 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California with an impressive majority-decision win over former champ Shawn Porter of America.
The new champion then sat out a few months after he was stabbed with a machete in the leg during an attack while on holiday in Tenerife. Brook certainly isn’t the biggest welterweight around as he stands 5-feet-9-inches tall with a 69-inch reach. He turned pro back in 2004 and has fought 184 rounds since then. Before beating Porter, Brook was a former British Welterweight Champion. His biggest fights up until then were against the likes of Philip Kotey, Lovemore NDou, Matthew Hatton and Carson Jones.
As far as power goes, Brook isn’t really known as much of a big hitter, but his current knockout ratio stands at 68 per cent per cent and his power is slightly underrated. He also owns a pretty good chin despite the outcome of the Golovkin bout. He can fight on the back foot as well as going forward and will need to land something solid early in the fight to make Spence wary of his power.
The 27-year-old year-old Spence of Desoto, Texas will enter the ring with a perfect record of 21-0 along with 18 Kos. He stepped up in class when meeting Chris Algieri in April of last year after previously beating opponents such as Phil Lo Greco, Chris van Heerden, Samuel Vargas and Alejandro Barrera. Spence has boxed 77 rounds since turning pro in 2012, but has a lot of amateur experience as he competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
Spence isn’t that tall either as he stands just over 5-feet-9-inches and has a 72-inch reach, which gives him a three-inch reach advantage on Brook. He has good speed and power and enters the fight with an impressive knockout ratio of 86 per cent despite not being regarded as a one-punch knockout artist. However, he’s won eight straight fights by way of stoppage. Spence has a fine jab and will be trying to establish it before unleashing his power shots
This is a competitive matchup with Spence having youth on his side, but Brook having the hometown fans behind him. There’s a good chance this will go the distance and if it does it will probably be a tossup. Look for a close fight with Spence doing just enough to win a controversial decision. But don’t rule out anything, including a draw.