By Perry Lynden (@PerryLyndenldn)
IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook (36-1, 25KOs) will fight his mandatory challenger Errol Spence (21-0, 18KOs). This fight is likely to take place at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, on the 20th of May 2017.
Spence is one of the most highly rated prospects coming through at Welterweight, who most recently took out Leonard Bundu and Chris Algieri, serving both of them their first stoppage defeats. However this will be Spence’s first fight outside of the US and is not the most noticeable name in the UK, and with Brook being recently linked with lucrative Amir Khan and Manny Pacquaio fights, Errol Spence is not as exiting a fight to prepare for as Brook has alluded to in recent interviews. The Sheffield man has expressed his desire for big name fights, however Spence is tipped by many across the pond as the future of the Welterweight division and a victory for Brook may well look much more significant if Spence goes on to be successful afterwards.
Both Spence and Brook remain undefeated at Welterweight, however Brook was openly considering moving up in weight since his loss at Middleweight to Kazakh powerhouse Gennady Golovkin. There is uncertainty over how much damage Brook has taken in this loss, both to his confidence and through the facial injury he suffered at the hands of GGG. Some have also questioned whether Brook will still be the same fighter at 147lbs after fighting at 160lbs, to compound this problem, Brook has a tendency to balloon up in weight in-between match-ups. Excessive weight draining can reduce a fighters punch-resistance, and this is a worry against a hard-hitter like Spence. However Spence is also a rather large at 147, and claims to walk-around at Light-Heavyweight.
These two will be well-matched in size, yet technically they bring very different skills to the ring. Spence dominates fights with his strong inside game, hoping to get off his strong body-shots, hooks and upper-cuts. Brook is far less comfortable on the inside, as we have seen against Shawn Porter, Brook prefers to hold on the inside and continue to pick off shots on the outside. This was enough to scrape a victory against Porter, however Spence comes forward less recklessly than Porter which should make him harder to clinch. The key to this fight will likely be how the range is kept and whether Kell Brook can make his experience count and neutralise Spence’s inside game, while continuing to score shots at range. Home advantage may well play it’s part in this fight, possibly by swaying the referee to allow Brook to clinch and disrupt Spence. This fight will contain an interesting clash of styles, with both men having clearly different preferences in their approach. This is a very difficult fight to call, however I see Spence as the hungrier fighter, who comes to the fight in more impressive form.by