There was not a ton of excitement when Eddie Hearn announced that Kell Brook’s next fight will be against his IBF mandatory Jo Jo Dan. We last saw UK’s Brook in August of last year when he defeated Shawn Porter by majority decision to capture a piece of the welterweight title landscape. Almost immediately following Brook’s victory fans were clamoring to see him again for a multitude of reasons.
Brook’s fans — the fans he had coming into the Porter fight and the fans he made after winning — were excited to see him in other big fights against the likes of Amir Khan and Keith Thurman. But his detractors were just as excited to see him fight again.
A lot of them thought Porter deserved to win and wanted further proof that Brook is legit, although some just want the chance to prove Brook is a fraud.
Brook did a lot of great things in the Porter fight, and he is a legit player in the division. For these reasons, fans were disappointed in the Dan matchup because they were hoping they’d see him in some of the most lucrative fights out there in the division.
However, Jo Jo Dan is an acceptable opponent choice for Brook when all things are considered. For Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn, Dan is more than just a soft touch mandatory for a titlist returning from injury. Hearn believes this fight is key to setting up bigger fights for Brook later in the year.
“He’s the number one contender in the division; he’s the mandatory challenger for Kell Brook. Kell Brook has a mandatory that he has to uphold to. Dan is a very good fighter, stylistically a great fight for Brook and a chance for Kell to get that mandatory out of the way and unlock the huge fights in the summer.” Hearn told Thaboxingvoice.com’s Dov Johal.
Dan is an exciting fighter, and he isn’t as weak as some of the other choices Brook could’ve made. But what makes this fight even more reasonable is that Brook is coming back from an injury he suffered weeks after capturing the IBF title.
Brook was on Holiday in the Spanish island of Tenerife when he was stabbed in the leg with a machete during an altercation. It was reported quickly that Brook was in stable condition, but his accounts of the night have led many to believe that the incident was more severe than we knew.
It seems like the situation was downplayed a bit to keep Brook’s stock from diminishing. At the time, Brook was on schedule to make his first title defense in December of 2014, but the injury proved too severe.
When you consider the gravity of his injury from both a physical and psychological standpoint, it is more than reasonable for Brook to be matched against the likes of Dan.
“This is a tough fight coming back from a horrific injury that nearly cost Kell Brook his life. There [are] no easy fights in the division, but for me this is the fight that unlocks the super fights in the summer.”
Hearn is adamant about the excitement level Dan will create in this fight with Brook. He knows that Dan is a level or two below Brook’s last opponent Porter. He believes the action in the Brook-Dan fight, which was a missing element in the Porter fight, will exceed expectations and surely surpass what Brook experienced in the Porter fight.
“Stylistically, this is a different fight than [Brook’s last fight with Porter]; Brook will fight differently [than the way he fought] Porter. The special think about Kell Brook is he can adapt however he needs to and against Jo Jo Dan Kell will stand and fight because that’s the kind of style Dan will bring to the ring.”
There are still some unresolved aspects in the Brook-Dan fight, although we know it will take place at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on March 28th, it isn’t clear where the American television rights will land.
Hearn has had discussions with Lou DiBella and Al Haymon, who he worked with to quickly finalize the fight with Dan, but he admits that Haymon will call the shots regarding American TV.
Haymon announced a few weeks ago that he has a deal in place with NBC and then just last week he announced a deal with Spike TV to produce his series titled “Premier Boxing Champions.”
It isn’t known whether Brook-Dan will land on either network, but Hearn is optimistic that it could land on NBC and at least be part of the PBC series.
“It might be [on the NBC], we’ll announce the broadcast partner in America in the next couple of weeks, but it’ll be [Al Haymon’s decision] to select where he wants it to go.”