Kell Brook (-175) vs Errol Spence Jr. (+137), Draw (+2000)
The International Boxing Federation (IBF) has finally ordered a purse bid for Kell Brook’s (36-1, 25 KOs) mandatory title defense against the undefeated Errol Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs). The purse bid will take place on February 26th, and if all goes as planned, the fight will be scheduled for some time around April.
The fight has been a long time coming. Brook stripped Shawn Porter of his IBF welterweight title back in 2014, and has successfully defended the title three times. But then the British star did something unexpected; he moved up two weight divisions to take on the undefeated Gennady Golovkin, who ended Brook in five rounds and broke his right eye socket.
That put a halt to Brook’s career. He applied for a medical extension on his mandatory title defense against Spence in order to recover from surgery, and is still not fully healed. This has further postponed the fight for Spence, who has been working to set up the bout all year.
Spence’s first fight of 2016 was against Chris Algieri, who he knocked out in the fifth round. He used the opportunity to call out Brook, but the IBF requested a final eliminator before naming him the mandatory challenger. So Spence fulfilled that request by knocking out Italian Leonard Bundu.
Meanwhile, the Brook camp has been seeking a fight with Manny Pacquiao or Amir Khan instead, and have kept the Spence fight on the backburner. But now with the scheduled purse bid, Brook risks vacating his title if he doesn’t fulfill his fight obligations.
Apart from the bout against Golovkin, both fighters have had an easy path up until now. Neither have come up against an opponent in the welterweight division that has truly tested them. If Brook wants to land a fight with Pacquiao, he’ll have to prove his worth against Spence. And if Spence wants the title, he’ll have to take it from Brook.
Golovkin hurt Brook pretty badly and it’s not certain he will be completely recovered by the time the fight comes around. He’s unlikely to be granted another medical extension and may have to fight Spence before he is ready.
Pick: Errol Spence Jr. (+137)
Photo credit: “Kell Brook 2012” by Harley Jo Maloney CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.