It’s been barely a week since Kell Brook became the new IBF welterweight champion and the question of who’s next is bouncing around. Brook’s coronation against Shawn Porter went pretty much as I had expected with Porter looking to overwhelm Brook and Kell forced on to the back foot, countering but gut checking his way through a scrappy fight to earn his place at the welterweights top table.
His style is more of a counter punchers, drawing opponents on to his sharp, straight shots but he does have a tendency to look one dimensional and also pulls back behind his shoulder in straight lines, so with this in mind, I thought of opposition who, stylistically, he could shine against and whom he could struggle. I came up with lists for, in my opinion, five fights to take, five fights to avoid.
Five fights to take
1. Amir Khan:
This fight is being set up for next year and will be huge. The animosity between the pair is real and for Khan, a former three time junior welterweight champion and the holder of the pointless, but surprisingly nice looking, WBC silver title, this represents both a bonafide title and a bargaining chip for a fight with Mr. Mayweather. The only problem being that despite having tremendous hand speed and very good boxing skills, his ability to take a punch is certainly on the lower rung. With that in mind I feel Khan will outspeed Brook most of the way but will inevitably get caught and Kell will close the show with a mid to late stoppage.
2. Devon Alexander:
This fight fell through three times but I have always been convinced Kell has his number. No longer the slick moving southpaw of his junior welterweight reign, Alexander has a tendency to stand a little more flat footed. And there is where his problem lies. Never a big puncher, he doesn’t really possess the firepower to hold off a big welter like Brook. Also his chin isn’t the sturdiest, and I feel this will be another stoppage win for Kell.
3. Leonard Bundu
Fresh of his win over Frankie Gavin, the unbeaten Bundu would be the perfect homecoming fight for Brook. Now known in this country with victory also over Lee Purdy, he is strong, tough and made to order. I would expect Kell to shine in this fight, flooring Bundu a couple of times on his way to a late stoppage or wide decision win.
4. Robert Guerrero
On his day “the ghost” is a superb boxer, using speed, movement and great combinations behind his southpaw jab. The problem being though that as he has moved through the weights he has a tendency to get pulled in to a tear up. I’d expect Brook to come from behind a little in this fight but land enough right hand shots for a possible late stoppage.
5. Ruslan Provodnikov
The Siberian puncher has shown what he is capable of doing in two weight classes, destroying Mike Alvarado and nearly knocking Tim Bradley in to another dimension, but he can also appear flat footed and be outboxed. I would expect Brook to do this especially as his punches have more spite than Bradley’s. Brook by unanimous decision.
Five fights to avoid
1. Juan Manuel Marquez
The four weight Mexican legend is one of the best counter punchers in boxing. Setting traps, his timing and accuracy, even for a 41 year old, are seriously impressive. With Brook pushing forward, I can see Marquez taking a decision as Kell seeks to land a decisive shot against a man who has never been stopped.
2. Keith Thurman
Arguably the hardest hitter in the division, Thurman is for real. His boxing skills are on a similar level to Brook but his power is in a different league. In time, matched right, this fight could generate big bucks. In reality, Thurman looks that little bit more special. Thurman by mid rounds ko.
3. Shawn Porter
Porter’s style can make the best look bad. Swarming and awkward, he keeps opponents off balance but, by doing this, he almost negates his own power. If he settles down a bit and evaluates the Brook fight, he can see he almost won, making the right changes he can possibly reverse the decision loss.
4. Manny Paqiuao
Even though he is near the end, Manny has far too much of everything for Brook. All fighters want the best but boxing is about levels. Manny is just too much of everything for Kell and if he struggled with Porter, Manny would overwhelm him. Paqiuao by late stoppage or wide decision.
5. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Everyone’s lottery win, Mayweather is head and shoulders above all the welterweights, except, in my opinion, Paqiuao. Kell would be on the front foot and would be countered in to oblivion. Mayweather takes a very one sided decision.
The right matches need to be made at the right time. Kell is a very talented champion but in a division of immense strength. The decisions he and his team make are crucial and I genuinely wish them the best. Welcome to the elite gentlemen!
Article By Dean Berks