By TOM WATT on March 18 2015
While the majority of the World focuses on the build up to the ‘Fight Of The Cntury’ between Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather and Manny ‘Pac-Man’ Pacquiao, the rest of the talent-rich Welterweight division resumes business as usual. There had been a slight downturn in action in Boxing’s big-money division as the top contenders such as Amir Khan and Tim Bradley all waited to see if they had a chance of securing a lucrative fight with either Mayweather or Pacquiao but now that situation has been settled we can look forward to some other great fights between some very talented fighters.
Other than the pair involved in the May 2nd circus, there is only one other recognised World Champion at Welterweight and that man is Britain’s Kell Brook – the Sheffield-born fighter faces Jo Jo Dan in a mandatory defence in two weeks’ time and after that will have a raft of options available to him. Brook himself has made no secret of his desire to line up a unification bout with either Mayweather or Pacquiao, a fight that would be a huge fight across the World and would also serve as reminder to Amir Khan that Brook is maybe closer to his level than he would care to admit. However, you would have to imagine that the winner of Mayweather Pacquiao would not want/need to fight until the tail end of the year and given Brook’s inactivity over the last few months, one would expect him to want to fight at least twice before the end of the year.
So who are the other options available to ‘Special K’? It’s impossible to talk about Kell Brook without mentioning Amir Khan so let’s start there. This fight has been talked to death in the UK, it’s one the fans have clamoured for since the pair broke onto the scene years ago and there is no question of how big it would be. Brook’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has repeatedly said he would love to make the fight at Wembley as well as stating that it is the biggest fight for Khan in terms of money – claiming it would be worth 4 or 5 times what Khan received for headlining at the MGM last December against Devon Alexander. The issue here is that Khan doesn't want the fight, he has said time and time again that he is looking at the big names in the sport like Thurman, Bradley, Cotto et al. but with Brook holding the IBF strap, he surely has to be considered one of the big names whether Khan would like to admit it or not.
Away from Amir Khan there are plenty of other suitors for Brook. Tim Bradley would be an interesting battle of styles and would certainly give Brook the exposure he needs to grow his reputation in America. Despite defeating the highly-rated, Shawn ‘Showtime’ Porter in some style in California to win his World Title, Brook still feels he is not getting the respect he deserves and is desperate to put that right. Tim Bradley is never involved in boring fights and would be a very interesting match-up for Brook stylistically. I see the Brit winning that fight on points but it would be very competitive and with Bradley’s list of opponents, a win for Brook would place him in line for a shot at the 2 big boys in the division.
One fight that has been spoken about a number of times is Brook Vs Juan Manuel Marquez. The hard-hitting Mexican is on the path to another World Title and would no doubt welcome the opportunity to fight someone other than Manny Pacquiao to do that. Marquez was recently in the UK supporting Michael Estrada when he was defeated by Kevin Mitchell and stated at the time he would be open for a bout with Brook. Eddie Hearn has said talks are ongoing so this looks like one of the more likely options for Kell.
Another fighter desperate for his World Title Shot and not afraid to let his ‘0’ go is Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. Fresh off the back of a commanding victory over Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero on Al Haymon’s PBC on NBC card Thurman is looking for his next opponent and has mentioned Brook in a number of interviews. Thurman is a very dangerous fight for anyone to take as his opponents will testify but he is a draw for the crowd. PBC on NBC saw the biggest viewing figures for Boxing in America since 1998 and Thurman was the undoubted star of the show. I have no doubt Thurman would take the fight in a heartbeat and it would be very interesting to see 2 very skilled boxers go about their business. It would be a huge risk for Brook, but if he was to take the fight and it was shown under Haymon’s terrestrial deal then the exposure in America would be huge – if he was able to win then he would be in a fantastic position of power moving forward as a popular, undefeated World Champion. That is a big ‘if’ though and Thurman would certainly have something to say about that.
Other options for the British World Champion include his former opponent, Shawn Porter who has stated publicly that he would like another shot at Brook, Brandon Rios who is fresh off a very exciting victory over Mike Alvarado and Marcos Maidana who hasn’t fought since his 2 fights with Mayweather last year. Any of these fights would gain huge interest but there is only a few that the fans really want to see, British fans would love to see the Khan Brook showdown purely because it’s been bubbling away for so long that it would a crime if it wasn’t to materialise. Elsewhere, the Marquez fight seems most likely and would certainly give Brook a name on his CV that nobody could deny and Thurman would certainly gain Brook the credence he yearns from the fans and critics.
For now though, ‘Special K’ has to make sure he takes care of business in his mandatory defence against Jo Jo Dan on the 28th at the Sheffield MotorPoint Arena. Then we can look forward to some huge fights in the Summer and beyond.
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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