Suffering from uncertainty about your lead shoulder feint? Having trouble with your distance management or footwork? Are tactical concerns regarding your favorite fighter keeping you up at night? Well, fear not: Lee Wylie is here to help. Just send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and Lee will respond as quickly as possible.
Dear Lee Wylie,
First off, I think I’ve watched all of your videos, and as a huge fan of boxing and its history, I keep coming back to them. I especially love your videos on Joe Gans and Muhammad Ali. I’ve learned so much about “The Sweet Science” from you, so thank you for all your hard work! Now, like a lot of fight fans, I am hyped for Kell Brook vs Errol Spence Jr. Call me crazy, but I think this is just as good a match-up as Canelo vs Golovkin and I’m expecting a great show. I keep going back and forth on who has the edge here. To my mind, a solid case can be made for either man, which is why this is such a great match-up. Who do you like in this one? Does one guy have a clear edge over the other in your opinion?
Thank you for the kind words, Brian. Here are my thoughts.
Brook might not be a big puncher, per se, but such is the sharpness, accuracy, and timing of his blows that any questions surrounding the quality of Spence’s chin should finally be answered. Moreover, Brook is more proven than Spence, who passes the eye test with flying colours but is relatively untested at the top level.
Brook’s world-class experience and hometown advantage may prove significant. After all, he is a slight betting favorite for those very reasons. However, going off some of the gym stories I’ve heard, as well as trusting my own judgment, I suspect “The Truth’s” talent and toughness are for real, and I think he will prove it emphatically, away from home, against his most formidable opponent to date.
Brook is a classy boxer possessing solid fundamentals and a high ring IQ. His footwork and jab stand out, but he also has an underrated clinch/control game which he uses primarily to prevent return fire if his jab is slipped, or when finishing on his right hand, say after throwing a one-two combination. As technically skilled as Brook is, though, Spence is equally proficient and more accustomed to dealing with unmatched lead opponents. And I reckon he will be able to nullify “Special K’s” arsenal through clever positioning, by keeping his right hand higher than Kell’s left and shooting his jab over the top, and also via his trademark body punching.
Spence’s body attack, consisting mainly of punishing right hooks and left uppercuts, is a real game-changer. Spence will pummel his opponent’s mid-section with rights and lefts on the inside, and he will also wisely use body shots to set up head shots. Coming back with a right hook to the head following a left to the body is one such example.
The way Spence sets up his body shots is first-rate, too. He often uses a “throwaway” jab-straight left to occupy the opponent’s guard and subtly gain leverage for a weighty right hook. For the uppercut, he tends to “blind” with a double jab while sneaking his lead foot outside and beyond the opponent’s lead foot to bring his left hip and fist closer and more in line with the target. In cunning fashion, Spence also uses his gloves and forearms to manipulate the opponent’s head before pivoting left or right to change the angle so that he can get to the body unopposed.
Brook put on a lot of muscle mass for his fight with “Triple G” and, much like Roy Jones Jr. when he returned to the 175-pound division after weighing in excess of 190 against John Ruiz, I’m not convinced he has taken it off properly in order to remain fully effective at 147. So, if Brook has struggled with the weight, rest assured Spence’s vicious body punching will make it show.
On a similar note, Brook underwent eye surgery after suffering a fractured orbital bone during his loss to Golovkin. And because this will be Brook’s first contest since the injury, we don’t know for sure if his eye will hold up once he starts getting hit.
Not much separates the two in terms of hand and foot speed, but I firmly believe that not only will Spence be the more powerful puncher, but also the physically stronger fighter. Brook has a reputation for being a big, strong welterweight, yet many, I feel, are going to be taken aback by Spence’s size and physical aggression in this fight. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if Spence is able to manhandle Brook.
When you think about it, there’s a touch of Ray Leonard about Spence — a mean streak which belies his boyish looks. Also, like “Sugar Ray,” Spence is a wonderfully composed and ruthless finisher. Chris Algieri went 12 rounds with Manny Pacquiao. Leonard Bundu did likewise against Keith Thurman. Neither Algieri nor Bundu could make it past six against Spence.
Brook is regarded by many as the best welterweight in the world, but quite frankly, if Spence manages to hurt him, which I have a feeling will happen at some point, I don’t expect the champion to be let off the hook.
That’s how highly I rate Errol Spence Jr. — Lee Wylie