- Kell Brook will face Gennady Golovkin at the O2 Arena on September 10
- British welterweight champion will step up two divisions to middleweight
- Golovkin will defend his WBC, IBF, WBA and IBO middleweight belts
By Jeff Powell
Whatever fate befalls Kell Brook when he steps into the ring with Gennady Golovkin, and the bookies are among many who expect him to be flattened by the ring’s KO king, he will achieve the respect of his violent profession.
That is a benediction for which Chris Eubank Jnr is left waiting, perhaps for a while to come.
Brook has accepted without demur or delay the exact, enriching contract to fight Golovkin which Eubank, or his father, or both of them, rejected.
Kell Brook has made the brave decision to move up two weight divisions to face Gennady Golovkin
Sheffield’s undefeated world welterweight champion did not flinch from the challenge of moving up two divisions to fight the multi-belted middleweight who has a powerful claim to being the best pound-for-pound fighter on earth. Not for one second.
Rightly or wrongly there is a body of opinion – Team Golovkin included – that Camp Eubank did not really want this high-risk fight. That they exploited the situation for propaganda purposes.
Chris Jnr protests loudly against that assumption and denigrates Golovkin for fighting a smaller opponent. Yet the awkward fact remains that after weeks of nit-picking he missed last Wednesday’s deadline for signing the contract.
Golovkin. who has won all 35 of his professional fights, will fight Brook in London on September 10
Share this article
Eddie Hearn, who promotes both these British boxers, cites Eubank family demands for control of every last detail of the September 10 blockbuster at London’s 02 Arena, from astronomical ticket pricing to minuscule logos on equipment, as his reason for switching the multi-million-pound offer to Brook.
This implies that the blame lies with Chris Snr, a legend in his own right and now his son’s ringmaster.
The devil is usually in the detail but whatever the small print of this deal, Brook is the winner. Even more so than his British rival Amir Khan, who made his own brave bid for glory as a welterweight challenging for a world middleweight title two months ago.
Amir Khan (right) moved up two weights in May to take on Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for their Las Vegas bout
Khan fought Canelo Alvarez at a catch-weight 155 lbs which was courageous enough, as the Mexican’s brutal knockout demonstrated.
Brook goes against Golovkin at 160 lbs, the full middleweight limit at which Canelo, among several, has baulked at fighting the Kazakh called Triple G.
Khan, praised by Brook for accepting the Canelo challenge, returns the compliment by saying: ‘Well done, Kell. We British boxers are setting the standard for the best fighting the best.’
They are doing so despite a weight disadvantage. Critics of the latest arrangement might reflect that Brook is bigger than Khan and has had trouble recently training down to welterweight. Also, Golovkin is a small middleweight.
Alvarez unleashed a magnificent right-hander to floor the Bolton fighter midway through the sixth round
They might remember, also, a welterweight called Sugar Ray Leonard moving up to fight a fearsome middleweight called Marvin Hagler, and taking his world title. And that GGG is not as Marvellous as Marvin. At least, not yet.
The irony is that Khan and Brook, who really ought to have fought each other by now in a domestic showdown, should find themselves in the ring against Alvarez and Golovkin, who would be meeting now in a mega-world-title unification clash if only Alvarez had not kept prevaricating.
Those home and abroad spectaculars could still happen, especially if Brook goes the same downward way as Khan and assuming Alvarez honours his promise to fight Golovkin in autumn next year.
Sugar Ray Leonard, a welterweight, moved up to fight middleweight called Marvin Hagler in 1987
Quite where all this leaves Eubank Jnr is unclear. Not least because he has also turned down a rematch with the only man to have beaten him, fellow Englishman Billy Joe Saunders who holds the only world middleweight title not yet in Golovkin’s possession.
It will be a pity if the one remaining fight on Eubank’s contract with Hearn’s Matchroom company is another British championship miss-match.
It will be a problem if, after that, this talented son-like-father is still left watching from outside the ropes as Brook boxes Khan, as Golovkin fights first Saunders then Canelo.
Eubank Snr, speaking before talks broke down, pronounced that it would be the fault of the designated television company if the fight did not happen.
The response from Sky Sports has been simple and to the point: ‘We will be broadcasting Golovkin v Brook.’
Chris Eubank Jr looked set to fight Golovkin but the deal stalled after weeks of contract talks
It will be fascinating for the crowd in Cardiff’s new Ice Arena this Saturday night and viewers on BoxNation to witness the first appearance in Britain of Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Even so, it is to boxing’s shame that this Cuban genius is reduced to having to make this trans-Atlantic trip to find an unlikely opponent.
Jazza Dickens is an honest Liverpool lad who no-one would begrudge this opportunity to fight for a world title. But those are not the reasons why the double Olympic gold medallist, two-time world amateur champion and now lineal and WBA Super World Champion at super-bantamweight is coming here.
Rigondeaux has been virtually deprived of earning a living in his adoptive United States because his phenomenal defensive skills are perceived as unexciting by the promoters and network TV moguls in America.
Cuban fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux (pictured) will face Jazza Dickens in Cardiff on July 16
One of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet in recent years has to earn a crust somewhere, against someone.
At 35, although still undefeated, he may be slowing down. Our boy Jazza suspects as much and believes he has an outside chance of springing a famous upset. He will probably be disappointed.
But promoter Frank Warren is giving him his chance as well as providing the boxing public here with a chance to see in person the great Rigondeaux demonstrate something which Britain’s genuine fans have always appreciated and respected.
The noble art of self-defence. Perhaps just in time.