When news broke a couple of weeks ago that undefeated welterweight Kell Brook had rejected an opportunity to face Timothy Bradley for the WBO strap, many fans criticized the 26-year-old and his team for opting to face Hector Saldivia in a final eliminator for a shot at the IBF title. ThaBoxingVoice spoke with Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn to allow him to put the record straight.
“Don’t get me wrong it was a wonderful opportunity for Kell but the whole purpose of what we have been trying to achieve for the last year is to become the mandatory challenger for the title.”
The managing director of Matchroom Sport went on to explain Top Rank’s offer in more depth.
“There’s no way in the world Tim Bradley, Bob Arum or Top Rank would allow Kell Brook to fight Timothy Bradley without tying him up into a bundle of options and that’s not something that appeals to us really. The offer was low, as it would be Kell isn’t a massive name in America. Firstly, it wasn’t enough money, two; there would have been a bundle of options and three; we have a shot at the final eliminator to become a mandatory with no options and an easier fight in my opinion in December or February against the winner of Randal Bailey and Devon Alexander. It’s a bit of a no brain-er really.”
While this makes perfect sense to most, there will always be a vocal minority keen to brand the Sheffield man as “protected” or simply accuse him of ducking Bradley. Hearn was happy to answer the critics and dispel these accusations.
“I know some people react with what are you doing? He’s 26-years-old, it’s not as if we’re in a terrible rush. We’ve built him into a big name; he’s filling arenas over here, breaking record viewing figures on Sky. So why go out there for small money and options. It’s a tough fight as well; Kell would be a massive underdog in that fight. With what he’s achieving over here and the success he’s having not only as a fighter but commercially, why would we have to sling him in that kind of fight at this stage of his career?”
The prospect of two of the highest rated young fighters in the world stepping in the ring together would have had fight fans salivating. The bout would also have made high viewing figures, particularly in the UK because love him or loathe him, people tune in to watch Brook. Thankfully it’s a fight we may see in the not so distant future.
“That could be a fight down the line. Say he beats Saldivia then goes on to fight Alexander or Bailey and beats them and wins the IBF title. He could earn ten times as much in the summer of next year for a unification fight.” Hearn proclaimed
In his last fight Brook faced tough American Carson Jones. For the first six rounds “The special one” was dazzling, hitting his opponent at will and shipping few shots in return. However in the second half of the fight he tired and Jones was able to grind him down, breaking his nose in the process. Afterwards Brook admitted that it was simply heart and the will to win which saw him through the final few rounds. Since that night a dietitian and a strength and conditioning coach have been added to the Sheffield native’s camp. Hearn believes that this is the final piece in the Kell Brook puzzle and promises we will witness something special against Saldivia on October 20th.
“He’s in unbelievable shape. He’s been out in camp in Spain, he’s so focused Last time really gave him a shake up, his weight is good. I can’t wait to see him fight because he is really, really up for this one.”