Kell Brook vs Errol Spence - Preview

Author:  James Baron

n this article, I’ll be previewing the whole card for the Kell Brook v Errol Spence Jr fight, giving my overview of each fight and my prediction for how it will play out on the night.

On a stacked undercard, a fourth World title shot awaits George Groves (25-3 18 Kos) as he faces Fedor Chudinov (14-1 10 Kos) for the vacant WBA super middleweight championship. Following three failed attempts to win a World title, two stoppages to Carl Froch and a split decision loss to Badou Jack, this represents the best chance Groves will have to fulfil his aspirations of becoming a World Champion.

Elsewhere on the undercard, Jamie Cox (21-0 12 Kos) makes his Matchroom debut, taking on Lewis Taylor (19-3-1 3 Kos) for the vacant WBA Continental Super-Middleweight title whilst entertaining heavyweight, David Allen (11-2-1 8 Kos), is in title action, taking on Jamaican heavyweight Lenroy Thomas (20-4 10 kos) for the vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title.  

Anthony Fowler makes his pro debut in the Middleweight division against Arturs Geikins (3-7-1 2 Kos) whilst Lawrence Okolie (2-0 2 Kos), makes his third appearance taking on undefeated Rudolf Helesic (2-0 2 Kos). Rounding out the Olympic turned Professional trio is Joe Cordina (2-0 2 Kos), taking on Josh Thorne (1-9-2 0 Kos).

After a brief overview of the PPV card, it’s predications time! We’ve got some professional views on the main event, but before that, I’ll run down the rest of the card and give my not so professional opinions on the outcomes. 

Is this win or bust for George Groves? You would think so. A fourth chance to win a World Championship is there for Groves and you would have to say this is his best chance to do it. I must admit, I expected him to beat Jack but as we saw against DeGale, Badou Jack is a better fighter than I originally thought. 
Whilst most people are expecting this to be an easy fight, I’ve seen a lot of confusion on Twitter with people thinking this is the Chudinov that Eubank Jr comprehensively beat. It’s not. Chudinov was victim to a very contentious points decision to Felix Sturm last time out, shock horror right! This is made worse by the fact Sturm tested positive for an anabolic steroid in the aftermath of the fight. 

I think this fight comes down to George Groves. There’s no denying his talent but there’s always been a doubt on whether he can sustain it for a full 12 round fight. Chudinov doesn’t slow, he doesn’t take rounds off like Groves and he isn’t likely to be stopped either. 

If Groves was to lose this, I don’t know where he would go next. He’s still an undoubted talent but it would be one hell of a rebuilding job to get him back to this stage. A win however and we could look forward to some excellent fights. A rematch with DeGale? Possible unification with Smith? Exciting times indeed should Groves win!

My Prediction – I do believe this time, Groves will finally win a World Championship. It would be great to see, it really would. I don’t think it will be easy and I’m expecting a close decision on the cards but the advantage of being the home fighter should be enough. Chudinov will always stay in the fight as I’m fully expecting Groves to do his usual thing and take a few rounds off but I’m saying Groves on a close points call.

In the heavyweight showing, I must admit I’m expecting a bit of a snooze fest. Whilst Allen is an entertaining and engaging character, in the ring he doesn’t do much to excite me. ‘TNT’ Thomas isn’t the highest calibre of fighter, having been stopped in any fight of notice. The stoppage defeat to an inexperienced Dominic Breazeale being the stand out result. Whilst Allen has too been stopped once in his career, he’s mixed it up with a higher standard of fighters with Ortiz and Whyte both having previously beaten the ‘White Rhino’ and goes into this fight as the favourite.

My Prediction – I’m going for an Allen win in what will be an ugly uninspiring fight. Whilst Thomas has been stopped in prior fights, I’m going for Allen on points.

With Jamie Cox making the move to Matchroom boxing, the Super-Middleweight division gets that little bit more exciting and whilst there is a title on the line, I’m expecting nothing more than an easy night’s work for Cox. His opponent, Taylor, has lost three of his last six fights but hasn’t been stopped yet. Interestingly, Taylor has been fighting mostly at the Middleweight division which should give Cox a naturally advantage against a smaller opponent. Whilst a straight forward points victory for Cox looks to be the most likely outcome, a knockout victory would send a message to British champion Rocky Fielding. 

My Prediction – In his first outing under Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom banner, I’m expecting Cox to look to put on a show. With the size advantage I’m going to predict Cox to get the stoppage between rounds 6-8.

With Fowler, Okolie and Cordina all at the fledgling stage of the careers it would be wrong to expect anything other than three straight forward KO victories for the former Team GB members. It will be interesting to see how the three of them progress through the paid ranks and to see if any can become the next superstar in the Matchroom ranks. Whilst it would seem the professional debut of Fowler will act as the chief support to the main event, Okolie and Cordina will be floating, waiting for their chance to impress in the big time.

My Prediction – Knockout victories for Fowler, Okolie and Cordina.
After a brave foray into the Middleweight division to take on king pin Gennady GGG Golvokin, Kell Brook (36-1 25 Kos) returns home to Sheffield, to defend his IBF title. His opponent, undefeated, highly touted American, Errol Spence Jr (21-0 18 Kos).

After winning the IBF title back in 2014 against another American, Shawn Porter, ‘Special K’ will be hoping for a repeat performance when he faces a man many have touted to be a future superstar.

After that career best win, four straightforward defences followed. Mediocre opposition Jo Jo Dan, Frankie Gavin and Kevin Bizier all fell by the way of knockout; the less said about those defences the better.

The man in the other corner, Spence Jr, is a man on a roll. Eight straight knockout victories have moved him into the mandatory position. Knockouts over Leonard Bundu and Chris Algieri proving that the hype surrounding ‘The Truth’ may well be real.  With both men making weight and looking in brilliant shape, the main event proves to be a real 50/50 fight for the boxing fans to enjoy.

Looking at the fight from my perspective, the main worry is the weight. Whilst Brook has managed to make weight, it’s a big effort to get down to the 147 limit. 

I recently read an interesting piece from Dave Coldwell, where he used my favourite boxer of all time, Roy Jones Jr, as an example of moving weight classes having a detrimental effect.  However, compared to back then, nutritional experts are better than ever, with Greg Marriot, the man behind Kell Brook making weight.

With Brook looking in such great shape, it’s impossible to know until the fight is underway, whether the weight has been an issue. Already well documented, it will be interesting to see whether Brook’s struggle to make 147 has had an effect on his endurance come the latter rounds.

Before the weight became such a hot topic of conversation, this fight would still have been a 50/50 fight. Spence Jr has looked phenomenal so far in his career but he’s not mixed it with some of Brook’s level. 

My prediction - I for one am finding it extremely hard to pick a winner. At the moment, it’s boiling down to the home venue influencing my decision. You don’t pay all that money for no reason and I believe if it’s a close fight, or even if Spence Jr looks to have won it, Brook will still be given a contentious points victory. Yes it’s sad that this becomes such a factor but that’s boxing sadly. Taking the home venue away from it, I would sway towards a very close Spence Jr points victory.

With thanks to Martin from @newageboxing, we’ve got some professional opinions on the fight where they too struggle to pick an easy winner:

Barry Jones, former WBO super featherweight champion and current BoxNation pundit:
I think it's a really close fight to call. Spence has been excellent since he turned pro, almost flawless but he faces the acid test against Brook, who can not only punch but has good, all round boxing skills. I think Brook has to make Spence feel his power early so to make him tense up and then snatch at his punches that will then give Brook the chance to tee off. But if Spence can get that jab working early and get into a rhythm, then Brook could be chasing the fight and start telegraphing his shots which would be easy pickings for Spence. But I think this fight will come down to experience and that lies with Kell Brook. So it's a Brook win for me.

Matthew Chanda, former Southern Area super bantamweight champion and Commonwealth bantamweight title challenger:
A Brook vs Spence fight... now I think is a stoppage win for Spence. In the late rounds. I think the early rounds will be even and very competitive with both fighters having their moments and I think from about round 5 KB will show some resistance but Spence will start to get to him with the right hook and left to the body. Brook will try tie up but Spence will be getting through. That's how I see it. Spence has great ring coverage and is physical on the inside. I really hope I'm wrong by the way. I'm a brook fan.

Kevin Campion - Head of Boxing at Goodwin Boxing:
It's a great fight, Brook has fought higher level and it's his home town which will be a huger advantage for the scorecards. But I like Spence and I think he is up for this fight. The southpaw of Spence could cause Brook problems. Brook may tire and I think it could be a late stoppage win for Spence or it could be Brook on points. If pushed I think Brook on points.

Lee Markham, current English middleweight champion:
I think Brook wins a close points decision

Leon McKenzie, English super middleweight title challenger and former Premier League footballer:
This is a very hard call for me. Both technical and accurate throwing a range of punches. Spence tidy throws the one two left back hand straight down the middle as Brook does same with right hand. Spence work to the body is better throws combinations accurately downstairs. Punching power I will have to go with Brook but if it goes the distance I feel Spence will take this fight.