A major theme of recent years in boxing is fan frustration with too many elite fighters taking too few risks. Whether it’s Floyd Mayweather side-stepping a match with Manny Pacquiao for five long years, or Miguel Cotto avoiding Gennady Golovkin, or now Keith Thurman shamelessly letting everyone know he has no interest at all in taking on anyone dangerous anytime soon, it’s a trend that isn’t exactly new, but at the same time seems more prevalent than ever.
All of which makes Kell Brook, aka “Special K,” a fighter to be highly respected given his recent career choices. In fact, one could argue that boxing fans have a duty to cheer on the man from Sheffield since to do otherwise is to play into the hands of the prizefighters who play it safe. One can easily imagine Thurman or Floyd looking at Brook’s career trajectory and saying, “See? You take risks, you wind up losing, and suddenly your bank account is lighter and your options smaller. Playing it safe is the only way to roll.”
So let’s hear it for “The Special One.” He stepped up and took on the GGG wrecking machine when Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez would not. Then he put his title on the line against one of the best best and most dangerous talents in the sport, Errol Spence Jr. In both cases he suffered defeat, but in both cases he fought hard and gave fans some terrific action. Now he’s picking up the pieces, coming back from defeat and a battle with the blues, having sensibly moved up from welterweight to campaign at 154. And our friends at Boxcaster are pumped to see him return to action and looking as sharp as ever with his recent second round demolition of Siarhei Rabchanka.
And what fight freak wouldn’t be excited to see him back in action at the higher weight? The simple fact is some truly tantalizing match-ups could be on the horizon. Brook is now ready to rebound and the idea of him standing in a corner opposite to Jermell Charlo or Jarrett Hurd or Sadam Ali is one that conjures up nothing but excitement for this fight fiend. (Forget Amir Khan; that ship sailed on a long time ago.)
Before long one or more such top-shelf match-ups could be in the works and one thing is certain: “The Special One” will welcome the challenge, just as he has in the past. Brook deserves more love for his valiant battles against Golovkin and Spence, and now deserves more support for his assault on the super welterweight division, if for no other reason that boxing truly needs more fighters like Kell Brook. This guy’s a throwback and I for one say, “More power to him!” As does Boxcaster. Check it out! — Neil Crane