Posts Tagged ‘kell brook’

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I logged in to write a piece about the fight this weekend between Gennady Golovkin and Kell Brook, which turned out to be a very interesting fight for several reasons I’ll get to later and I noticed it’s been roughly a year since my last post on here. New job, things going on at home – good job I’m not being paid for these posts otherwise I would have long ago been fired.

The Year That Was

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So, the last year or so in boxing has seen a lot of things change. Floyd Mayweather retired, then teased about fighting Conor McGregor in a boxing match. Manny Pacquiao retired, then un-retired. Carl Froch called it a career and was out showing off his new nose during presser interviews before the Golovkin-Brook fight. Andre Ward stepped up to light heavyweight and actually fought in a bout, and is now scheduled to take on Kovalev in a salivating matchup. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot this one – Tyson Fury took the heavyweight titles from Wladimir Klitschko, then was immediately stripped of a title for signaling his intent to honor a rematch clause with Klitschko before talking smack about everyone he could think of and angering the governing bodies of every title he now holds.

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So, even with just the major movers in boxing, it’s been an interesting year and the Donkey’s Mouth has stayed closed throughout. Well, now it’s open and flapping again so I hope to be a little more active once again.

Golovkin vs Brook

So, for the past couple of years now there’s been a gathering storm behind Gennady Golovkin (GGG to friends). The man has been a wrecking ball in the middleweight division, so much so that nobody seems to want to fight him.

The aura of fear GGG’s knockout streak has created is similar only to the aura that surrounded Mike Tyson prior to the Buster Douglas loss. I’ve read numerous articles over the years that said that Tyson had won many of his fights before the opening bell had even been rung, such was the fear his power and ruthless reputation had built in his opponents – and I witnessed this several times when watching a prime Mike Tyson blitz his trail of destruction.

GGG is right up there. The manner in which he’s brushed aside solid competition has made him look invincible – and even the most durable fighters he’s taken on have wilted under his power, and it’s not just the power that intimidates so many. Along with the crushing power GGG has in his hands, he also has a killer instinct to go after a wounded opponent and finish the fight. If he smells blood you’re going to be hit with even harder shots than you’ve already been hit with.

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As a result, there seems to be a stream of middleweight fighters who feel that a bout with GGG is not worth the financial reward. They feel they know they are going to lose and with that in mind, no amount of money will allow them to put themselves through the kind of torture he will undoubtedly inflict upon them.

Sure, many still use his name as an opponent they’re angling for, but few even get as far as negotiations with the mans team to iron out a fight. For a short time it looked like Chris Eubank Jr. was going to step into the ring with GGG – but that didn’t materialize. Much like his father before him, Eubank Jr. is intent on doing things his own way. He’s trying to bring more power, more money and more control back into the fighters corner and you have to commend him and his father for doing so.

At the end of the day, it’s the fighter who steps into the ring, puts their life and career on the line and takes the shots that all fighters will take. It makes sense to fight for their dues on the other side of the fence as well and not be bullied or railroaded into decisions by promoters or television companies that don’t make sense for them. By the same tokens, they may miss out on some big fights in doing this – but again, it’s their career and their life on the line so it is what it is.

Then you have Canelo Alvarez, who outweighs most of his Jr. Middleweight opponents by a good 25 pounds by fight time, and who stepped up to middleweight with strict weight structures as he feels he’s not quite ready to face guys who’ve fought in the division for years. In spite of this, after taking out Amir Khan earlier this year after Khan jumped up in weight to face the red-haired Mexican, Canelo called out GGG.

FINALLY thought many fans, we’ll get to see two of the biggest names in boxing step in with one another. No longer will either man be facing either much smaller foes or overmatched guys who know they’ve lost before the bell rings. Alas, it came to nothing. There was some kind of muddled announcement that GGG and Canelo would fight in 2017 – so it could be well over a year before that bout even looks like happening – and there are several bouts in the middle that could curtail their ever meeting in the ring if one, or both, lose fights in between.

So, Golovkin’s opponent, much like Canelo’s last one, became a guy who jumped two weight classes to face him in Kell Brook. Brook, the reigning IBF Welterweight champion, made the decision to jump to middleweight to take on the guy nobody wants to fight in GGG. You have to take your hat off to the guy willing to not only fight GGG, but to jump two weight classes to do so.

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As a result, Brook’s chances for victory were completely written off by just about everyone but Brook himself. Smaller guy, a decent but not concussive puncher, fast but not lighting fast, durable but with question marks over how durable, stepping in the ring with a knockout machine. How could Brook win?

Well, when it came down to it, he didn’t, but their fight from September 10th should have made many people – boxers and media alike – step up and take notice. Brook didn’t come to lay down, he came to fight and he gave GGG his toughest challenge to date – in spite of what GGG said afterward, but we’ll get to that.

The fight started like many expected with GGG looking to make his size and power tell. On the size difference, it was minimal at best. Brook didn’t look like a blown up welterweight, he looked like he belonged at middleweight. GGG is an inch or so taller, but as far as their physiques, both men looked on equal footing. Brook flicked out some range finding jabs early and found his mark a couple of times. GGG did the same, but looked to follow up with some more aggressive shots early on.

GGG mixed up his body and head attacks early on, no doubt part of the gameplan with his corner to try to slow down Brook so he would be primed for the picking later in the fight. These body shots led to a huge left hook from GGG that badly rocked Brook in the opening round. Credit to Brook, who shook off the big shot quickly and ended the round with some nice shots of his own, including a tasty uppercut that snapped GGG’s head back.

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The second round started much like the first had with GGG flicking out jabs and trying to move into range for bigger shots. Brook alternated between standing and throwing quick combinations to moving laterally around the ring while occasionally stopping to flick out shots of his own. The round was pretty even until Brook landed a couple of nice lefts – an uppercut to the body followed by one to the head, again snapping GGG’s head back. Incredibly to many, Brook clearly won the second round.

This, for me, was where the fight took an interesting turn. We’ve seen GGG be very rigid with sticking to his gameplan of gradually wearing down his opponents by trapping them against the ropes and ripping body and head combinations early on then taking them out in the mid-later rounds of the bout. This time around, however, GGG started rounds 3, 4 and 5 like a buzz-saw.

In each round he stormed Brook from the opening bell and started ripping big shots. Some connected, some Brook circled away from. All the while, Brook kept dabbing at his right eye, seemingly injured in the second round although it was tough to tell whether this was from a left hand by GGG or an accidental clash of heads.

What we started to see was frustration coming from GGG. Clearly upset by the fact that Brook had been able to take his best shots and not only keep coming, but land good shots of his own and win rounds, GGG started to open up and throw more than we’re used to seeing. The more he threw without the desired effect, the more frustration built.

Then there was the most interesting part. This fight was starting to show a similar script to the Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvin Hagler fight. GGG, like Hagler, was starting each round like he was looking to end the bout with huge shots. Brook, similar to Leonard, was sticking and moving throughout the first 90 seconds to 2 minutes – doing just enough to not look like he’s being over-run before exploding at the end of the round and taking over.

The “bigger” Golovkin renowned for his punching power was having little effect on slowing his “smaller” opponent and being able to take over the fight. Frustration was evident on the face and in the mannerisms of GGG.

Then, sadly for all watching, the bout was brought to a premature end by Brook’s corner making the smart decision by pulling their fighter out. The damage to Brooks eye, that tuned out to be a broken eye socket, from the second round was building to the point where Brook himself said after the bout that he was seeing up to 5 GGG’s in front of him. If the corner left it up to Brook, there’s no way he would have allowed himself to be pulled – but they did their job in protecting their fighter who has at least another 6 years of his career still to fight.

The sad part for the fans is that Brook’s tactics were working. He was frustrating GGG and making him open up in a way we’ve not seen before. For the first time since GGG’s rise to prominence he looked beatable. He looked like a man who felt pressure rising and it caused him to get a little reckless. He looked like he was gassing himself out each round and leaving openings for his opponent to take advantage of.

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Now, this is where the aftermath of the fight gets to me. Brook admitted that GGG had a lot of power, but that it wasn’t more than he could handle. This was echoed in the manner in which Brook shook of the HUGE left hand from the first round to finish the round strong, and also in the way that he weathered the blitzkrieg attack from GGG at the start of the 3rd and 4th rounds to come back in the final minute and take the round. There’s no doubt in my mind that Brook was up after 4 rounds, and the way the fight was shaping up there didn’t look like there was any way that would change barring a huge punch from GGG that changed the momentum of the fight.

Golovkin, on the other hand, has spoken in a different tone to what we all witnessed in that fight. I’ve read several reports in which Golovkin has been quoted stating that Brook was out of his depth at middleweight, and that the fight was like a sparring bout for him. I’ve watched boxing for a long time, and I’ve never seen a fighter who felt like he was in a glorified sparring bout get frustrated and ragged in the manner Golovkin did.

Golovkin fought well, but he fought like a man who felt the longer the fight went the more chance there was it would get away from him. He seemed to feel the need to change the course the fight was taking and tried to use his power as the decider. However, unlike in so many fights before this bout, Golovkin had not effectively softened up his opponent with measured attacks for 4-6 rounds that took the edge of his foes speed and power.

He started attacking and looking for a finish much sooner than he normally does, and it left a fresh opponent with the ability to get out of the way the opportunity to weather the storm and fire back.

Had the fight lasted several more rounds, there’s all the chance in the world Brook would have started to slow, become more flat footed and stand in front of GGG more often. Such is the power GGG has it could have taken its toll. But with the way he decided to attack, he obviously felt he needed to assert his dominance over his “smaller” opponent in order to stack the deck in his favor.

Moving Forward

Brook definitely enhanced his reputation in this fight. He stepped in the ring with the most feared fighter on the planet and showed no fear. He showed that any man has a chance if they play the right game, and he forced struggles out of GGG that we’re not used to seeing.

Whether Brook decides to move back down to welterweight to defend his belt remains to be seen. He’s often spoken of how depleted he is making welterweight, and his physique in this bout didn’t suggest he forced any weight gain on his body. He looked natural and comfortable at middleweight, and that may make up his mind that any drop in weight he undergoes in the future doesn’t drop below the Jr. Middleweight limit so he isn’t sapping his strength and stamina to make 147 pounds for welterweight.

Brook spoke of wanting to face the winner of the upcoming Canelo Alvarez vs Liam Smith bout, and judging by his performance in this fight I think that would be a mouthwatering affair. Alvarez will be the likely winner in that bout, and he’s about the same height as Brook but a little stockier. Brook is the more fleet footed of the two, and Alvarez has accumulating, but not thudding, power so it would be another battle of wills.

For Golovkin, he’s at a crossroads in spite of extending his stoppage streak. For me he struggled in his biggest test to date. He failed to light up the show against a fighter nobody felt had a chance against him. I didn’t think I’d be saying this so soon, but it’s time for GGG to put up or shut up. He needs to find a way to either line up a middleweight unification bout, or step up to super middleweight.

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Alvarez is still considered the lineal middleweight champion, as well as being The Ring’s middleweight champion. Then you have Daniel Jacobs and Billy Joe Saunders holding the other middleweight crowns. Jacobs holds the better resume, coming of 2 victories over Sergio Mora, as well as stopping former champion Peter Quillin. Jacobs holds the WBA regular title, while GGG holds the WBA Super title and given the recent push by the governing bodies to lessen the number of belts in each division, they’re seeking bouts between regular and super title holders – so this fight makes the most sense, and Jacobs seems to want to face Golovkin.

Saunders doesn’t have the resume Jacobs does, but holds victories over Eubank Jr. and defeated Andy Lee for his WBO crown – albeit both by slim margins. Saunders is an awkward southpaw who moves well and carries deceptive power in his shots. He’s a volume puncher rather than a concussive knockout puncher, and as we saw by Brooks gameplan GGG can be frustrated by fighters landing combinations on him.

If GGG decided to step up to Super Middleweight, I would expect immediate title challenges against either Babou Jack – who holds wins over George Groves, Anthony Dirrell and was handed a draw against Lucian Bute in a fight most felt he won – or James De Gale, another tricky southpaw who beat out the other Dirrell brother (Andre) for his IBF title and then outpointed Bute in his first defense.

If I was a betting man, I’d say that GGG stays at middleweight and takes on Saunders as that is the most winnable bout on paper for a man who does seem to often take the easiest track.

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Here’s a quick look at the latest progress of an up and coming British Welterweight in the shape of Frankie Gavin. This article is an original work published on Bleacher Report.

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Scott Heavey/Getty Images

British Welterweight champion Frankie Gavin defeated Jason Welborn this weekend to retain his British title. In the build up to the fight, he signaled his intent to try to make 2013 a big year for him.

Gavin, highly ranked as an amateur, stepped up in class in his last last year to defeat former WBC light-welterweight champion Junior Witter to become the British Welterweight champion. Now 27 years old, Gavin understands he needs to begin testing himself against a higher class of opposition to see if he is ready for world title challenges.

After overcoming personal problems that threatened to derail his boxing career, a re-focussed Gavin had a strong 2012 that was capped off by claiming Witter’s British Title.

While understanding he has to continue the hard work he displayed throughout 2012, Gavin stated he wouldn’t say no if offered the chance to face a top opponent like Timothy Bradley, Amir Khan or Kell Brook. A fight against an opponent at that level may be a step too far for Gavin, but his willingness to step in with anyone is refreshing to see.

While being way off elite status, Frankie Gavin is one to watch for 2013. He has the momentum from an impressive previous year, confidence from gaining his first title and is hungry for more. Gavin is the No. 1 contender for the European Welterweight title and could enter the world title discussion with a strong year.

Another original piece from the Donkey’s mouth through bleacherreport.com.

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According to a report from boxingscene.com over the weekend the newly crowned IBF Welterweight Champion, Devon Alexander, has been signed to fight Britain’s Kell Brook on January 19th.

News of the bout was given to former WBA and IBF Light-Welterweight champion Amir Khan, who in this boxingscene.com report expressed surprise that Brook took the challenge this soon and also signaled his desire to set up a fight with Brook if he is victorious in his first world title challenge.

Brook became the number one challenger for the IBF Welterweight crown on the same day Alexander himself won the title by stopping Hector Saldivia in the third-round of their October 20th IBF Title Eliminator bout in Brook’s home city of Sheffield, England.

That same evening on the other side of the Atlantic, former Light-Welterweight title holder Alexander defeated veteran fighter Randall Baily via unanimous decision to claim the Welterweight crown, and setting up a future showdown with Brook.

Khan’s surprise that Brook took the challenge is understandable. Brook has yet to face a top level opponent. Without disrespecting any fighters he has defeated so far in his 29-0 career, Brook’s top opponents have been an aged Lovemore N’Dou and Matthew Hatton.

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By comparison, Alexander has been in the ring with high caliber fighters, including Timothy Bradley, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana and also Randall. The difference in the quality of opponent between Alexander and Brook is large, especially when you consider how deep Brook had to dig to hang on for a victory over Carson Jones earlier this year.

The fight with Alexander is not only Brook’s first experience with a world title fight, but also a massive jump in the level of competition he will be facing. With an undefeated record, and a recent victory scored mostly on guts and determination, Brook surely feels this is the type of fight his skills should have him in for the foreseeable future.

As for Khan discussing a possible showdown with Brook if the Sheffield fighter can defeat Alexander, can you blame him? Prior to losing his championship belts, Khan had Brook bringing him up as a future opponent after defeating Matthew Hatton in March of this year.

You could say that Brook was being smart to mention Khan in interviews before he was really deserving of a shot at a champion. In today’s Internet driven world, if Brook can have his name associated with a better known fighter it increases the number of people looking at him.

Now, the coin could be flipped. Successive defeats have left Khan once again rebuilding his career while Brook is about to try his hand at moving his to the next level. If Brook becomes a champion, a fight with Khan is one that will definitely sell, so Khan used the opportunity wisely to throw his name into the mix for a possible title shot.

Smart marketing by both guys, now they need to back it up in the ring.