The British interest in the Super-Six Finale in Atlantic City this Saturday night is not confined to the fortunes of Carl “The Cobra” Froch. Froch’s chief supporting contest features another English hopeful in Kell “Special K” Brook, who makes his American debut on the card.
Brook is still only 25 years old, but seems to have been around British rings for some time. Yet another product of the mercurial Brendan Ingle boxing stable (that which spawned the likes of Herol Graham, Johnny Nelson, Naseem Hamed and Ryan Rhodes), Brook has stormed the welterweight division this side of the pond since turning pro as an eighteen year old back in 2004.
Since then, Brook has compiled a 25-0 (17 KO) record. He won the British 147 pound title in only his 17th contest, and by the age of 23 he’d notched up three defences of the Lonsdale Belt to make it his own. As if to emphasise his punching power, Brook needed no more than six rounds, collectively, to turn back those three challenges, and of his 17 stoppage wins, 13 victims have failed to make it to the end of the third round.
Brook’s record, then, is pretty exemplary. He confesses that he grew up as a wide-eyed youngster watching Prince Naseem Hamed work in that Sheffield gym, and whilst he could hardly be said to model his fighting style on the effervescent Hamed, he undoubtedly shares the Prince’s unquenchable confidence (at least until Barrera burst Naz’s bubble).
A churlish glance at the Englishman’s slate might reveal a lack of top-class opposition, something that forced Brook’s hand earlier this year when he switched promoters from Frank Warren to Barry Hearn’s Matchroom outfit, doubtless persuaded by the latter’s recent successes in obtaining world title fights for Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin and Ryan Rhodes.
Brook felt that Warren wasn’t getting him the fights he deserved, and after he’d got himself into some problems with the law in 2010 it was clear that Kell was unsuited to sitting around inactive waiting for his chance. Since the swap, Brook was asked to take a step up in class in June when he took on the much-traveled and stubborn warrior, Lovemore N’Dou, and proved any doubters wrong in taking a wide decision from N’Dou. Brook handled the test easily, and at moments in the fight was very close to stopping the South African, something that Saul Alvarez, Miguel Angel Cotto, Kermit Cintron, Shamba Mitchell and Junior Witter had notably failed to do.
However, Brook’s fight on Saturday night represents his first foray overseas, and sometimes such a big occasion can throw a fighter off-kilter. On the other side of the ring he’ll face one Luis Galarza, who appears to have been hand-picked to give Brook a little trouble, but not too much.
Galarza, 17-2-1 (13 KO’s) would seem to carry a bit of power – he’s ended 12 of his 13 early wins within three rounds, but inactivity and a lack of quality opposition on his slate suggests that he might be out of his depth with the irrepressible Brook. Galarza’s been a pro since 2001, but has only boxed three times, and eleven rounds, since 2008. He hasn’t been beaten since 2006, when he was stopped in three by Jose Angel Roman. Roman has gone 3-24 since then, which doesn’t bode well for Galarza’s chances Saturday night.
Brook has been angling for a showdown with American welterweight contender Mike Jones, who looked a little laboured in his distance win over Sebastian Lujan on the Cotto-Pacquiao undercard a couple of weeks back. Doubtless, Brook will be looking to make a point on Saturday night to lure Jones into a fight, and I expect him to do precisely that.
And then … the ever-confident Brook won’t be phased if his name starts to be mentioned alongside the superstars of his division – Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao!
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