By Matt Bevan (@MBevs68)
So after weeks of waiting and plenty of build-up we are finally just a few days away from British boxing fans getting the opportunity to see one of the sport’s best in the ring on UK shores.
That’s right, Gennady Golovkin will enter the ring at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night, as he defends a couple of the middleweight world titles in his possession and a chance to get the biggest win of his career so far.
In the opposite corner will be Sheffield’s IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook, who jumps up two weight classes to try and upset the odds and perhaps record one of the biggest shocks in British boxing history.
To say he has a massive chance is an optimistic statement. Yes, Brook is a massive welterweight who kills himself to make it on to the scales, but this isn’t a fight with Gabriel Rosado or Willie Monroe Jr, who are two decent fighters at middleweight. This is GGG.
If Brook had announced his intention to move up to middleweight and face one of the two fighters I mentioned before, I would applauded him for forcing a real test in what would be a tough first fight for anyone at the weight.
But to jump up and face Golovkin straight away was something no one was expecting. Brook deserves credit for taking the fight, but it is still genuinely surprising that he is the man in the opposite corner to GGG, who is touted by some outlets as the pound-for-pound number one, a statement I personally disagree with, as he isn’t in my top five at the moment.
But, if Brook deserves credit, then Golovkin should get some criticism for the fact he is facing “The Special One”. I’m pretty sure he has enough interest surrounding him, as well the HBO paycheques to secure as big a fight up at his natural weight.
If no one wants to take him on at the weight, as looks to be the case, there are some decent fighters at 154lbs who could have stepped up in Brook’s case. He has taken step aside money in the past, something I hate as surely if you want to unify divisions you should be opening up the chequebook and pursuing these fighters, backing them into a corner, rather than letting them breeze past you altogether.
However, that is all water under the bridge. What we will see on Saturday is Golovkin and Brook in London with everything going in GGG’s favour, but a sniff of a “what if factor” coming over from the Sheffield man’s corner.
In a way this is a win-win for Kell Brook. If he wins, he gets be flung into the boxing stratosphere as one of the best fighters in the sport. If he acquits himself well in defeat, then he will have demonstrated he has more than enough ability to hang with the best and be a viable contender at middleweight, should he stay there. The worst thing that could happen is a quick-fire, devastating knockout, which is a very realistic possibility.
There is no denying he is a quality, world class operator. It would be wrong to suggest otherwise. Out of the two, Brook possesses the best win on either’s record in my opinion, which is his away win over Shawn Porter to win his world title.
Golovkin has beaten good names, but due to the aura surrounding him, there is no rush to fight him. Brook is arguably the top welterweight in the world, so he will be the definitive name on the record of Golovkin. But the biggest issue for me is still the weight.
We have seen plenty of pictures from the Brook camp of how good a shape he is in. He isn’t cutting the extra 13lbs he would to make welterweight, always a bonus for him, so has been allowed to do some different things in camp.
When you see the pictures of Brook, you can’t help but agree. Eddie Hearn, Brook’s promoter made a comment about how big his arms and legs are, which is all well and good, but you can’t put muscle on your chin, which is something that might come in useful against a ferocious puncher like Golovkin.
You listen to former GGG victims and they all say how much every shot hurts and how well he cuts off the ring. Brook is good, but Golovkin is better. He is too good to not have spells of success in the fight, similar to Canelo Alvarez’s win over Amir Khan in May.
Khan made the same jump as Brook is making and got the same amount of credit. But, as you sat watching that fight, most were just waiting for Canelo to land and you knew it would only be a matter of time before Khan was stopped. Most will watch with the same feeling on Saturday.
There are plenty online, unsurprisingly from the Sky Sports team and many fans backing Brook. I like their optimism, but they will be very upset on Saturday, as for me Brook has very little chance of victory.
“The Special One” always enters to “All Of The Lights”, but I’m confident that he will be looking up at the lights at the O2 Arena. He will be in there for as long as Golovkin decides to carry him through the fight, as he did to David Lemieux.
Something tells me that he is here to make a statement and Brook will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I genuinely hope that I’m wrong. But all the extra weight in the world is going to do nothing to convince me that Brook has no chance of derailing the GGG train.