The Friday Faceup

Kell Brook (left) and Mark DeLuca
Photo by Mark Robinson

Can Kell be special again ?

Throughout boxing history the welterweight (10st 7lb) division has been a ‘special’ division. None more so than today with a top ten stacked with champions, future hall of famers and elite ex-champions. Think Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. Add to that mix our own Amir Khan. Heavyweights aside, this is the deepest division in boxing right now, arguably by a significant margin.

Former IBF world champion Kell ‘Special’ Brook (38-2, 26 KO’s) from Sheffield, England is an elite fighter, and although now aged 33 and considered approaching the twilight of his career, is still a name to reckoned with. The southpaw has fought the best; Porter (defeating him in the US in 2014 to become world champion), Spence (in losing his title) and also ventured up to middleweight (losing to Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin). When the Brit loses it’s to the very best.

This weekend however, in his home city of Sheffield, he returns to the ring at super-welterweight (the slightly higher 11 stone division) against 31 year old American southpaw Mark DeLuca. An opponent outside of the elite level but with a good 24-1 winning record. This offers Brook an opportunity to get momentum back into his career to secure future paydays and title shots.

For 13 months Brook has been inactive and marked time trying to goad Amir Khan into a big domestic showdown, to no avail. Kell is on record as being sick of talking about it, then seriously considered retirement (always dangerous for a returning fighter) but, now pursues another direction.

Can Brook be special again ? either at welter (unlikely) or super-welter ? History would show the odds are stacked against it, once welterweights start moving through the divisions, especially after a lay-off, they generally fizzle out. Think De La Hoya and Trinidad in recent years.

However, for over a decade Brook has been mixing with the best and exhibited the skills and power to match. Can he re-light the fire in the heat of battle ? In the Matchroom Boxing promotion this Saturday 8th (live on UK Sky Sports and DAZN streaming platforms) we will find out.

If Brook wins and looks good in doing so, expect to see him challenge the top ten again for one ‘last hurrah’. Crawford, and Spence (in a rematch) are probably out of reach, both skillset and size-wise, as Brook outgrows the 147 pounders, but Thurman or Pacquiao similarly outgrowing the division, would be excellent matches at super-welter which could secure Brook’s legacy as one of Britain’s best ever fighters. There are also Khan-less domestic options available, with former 11 stone champ Liam Smith being mooted as a possible match.

However until then, look for Brook to seal a late victory tomorrow night most likely on points in an entertaining bout.

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