IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) dropped a pretty big hint this week that he’s not entirely sold on the idea of defending his IBF title against his mandatory challenger Errol Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs) in his next fight in early 2017. If Brook can get a fight against Amir Khan, he might need to vacate his IBF title in order for that fight to happen.
Brook wants to get a big fight against a top name or at least one of the world champions in the 147lb division rather than fighting Spence. Brook also is still interested in fighting fellow Brit Amir Khan if possible. Brook feels that the fight against Khan would be a huge one in the UK, and Khan needs to agree to it so that they can stop depriving the boxing fans of this great fight.
If not a fight against Khan, then Brook wants Manny Pacquiao, Danny Garcia or Keith Thurman for a unification fight. Since unification fights come first ahead of mandatory defenses for champions, Brook would be able to put the Spence fight on hold while he fights one of other champions. Whether Brook would ever bother fighting Spence is open for debate.
The temptation would obviously be there for Brook to look for another unification fight if he won his first one against one of the above named fighters. If Brook is given permission by the International Boxing Federation to take unification after unification fights, it might make a mockery of the sanctioning body and their title. The IBF already allowed Brook to fight outside of the welterweight division in his recent match against middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin last September without stripping him of his title.
Brook said this to Fighthype.com:
“It took me a long time to get that world title at welterweight and I just can’t give it up, you know, as much as it’s going to kill me to make the weight…Spence is the mandatory, he’s a very good fighter…maybe a fantastic fighter. I think I can make it and be strong at the weight. He’s not really heard of, but he can fight,” Brook said about U.S 2012 Olympian Spence. “We’ve seen him fight. It’s maybe a fantastic fight, but there’s Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia. They’re fighting each other. I’d love the winner. I’d love a unification with Manny Pacquiao.. I heard in the press that I inspired him in the Golovkin fight to come back to the sport. So why not lock horns together and fight each other? I’d love to eventually fight Canelo and all the top fighters in that weight .”
I have a feeling that Brook will not fight Spence, period. Even if Brook can’t get a fight against Khan or one of the champions at 147, I think he’ll vacate his IBF title rather than get inside the ring with Spence and risk being knocked out by the U.S fighter. You have to realize that a loss for Brook would be a disaster, because it would be his second straight loss and he would have lost to a welterweight this time.