If reports in the media are true, IBF welterweight champ Kell Brook is close to making a deal that would see him defend his belt against fast-rising star and IBF mandatory challenger Errol Spence Jr.
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn is certainly saying the right things, going public with a reported request to the IBF to delay the scheduled February 7 purse bid while hammering out the details of a deal with Spence’s people.
Spence, of course, is also saying the right things, papering social media with Brook-aimed demands to fight or vacate.
But, while Spence may want this fight as a springboard to superstar status and Brook may take it as a competitive challenge following a rough loss to Gennady Golovkin last September, the business may dictate that this bout not happen any time soon.
Brook doesn’t really gain anything from fighting Spence. The payday won’t justify the risk of being beaten and beaten badly—and there’s definitely a risk of that happening. Still basking in the positive public relations glow of the Golovkin fight at middleweight, Brook’s status as a valiant warrior is etched in stone. The 30-year-old Sheffield native could fight hand-picked patsies for the next several fights and not suffer much backlash where it counts (financially). Even with a victory over Spence, Brook’s star won’t be flying much higher than it already is.
Hearn has publicly stated that he’d prefer another fight right now for Brook, perhaps a trial at junior middleweight. The savvy promoter realizes the risk vs. reward dead-end for his fighter. But regardless of what he actually plans to do in the Brook-Spence situation, he’s doing the right thing as a promoter by talking the right game and at least giving the world the impression that he’s trying to get this fight made for his guy.
Unless the money involved is too huge to pass up or Brook is truly insistent on getting the fight done, smart boxing business could push Brook away from Spence. After all, the real money for Brook at welterweight is in an all-Brit showdown with Amir Khan– something which may or may not be possible, but would definitely yield a greater reward for a lesser risk.
However, it’s also entirely possible that the competitive drive will push this one through, even if all the dollars and cents (or pounds and pence) are not all in agreement with the decision.
For fans, Brook-Spence is a win-win; For Brook and his people, not so much.
[UPDATE: ESPN is reporting that the IBF has granted a one-week postponement of the February 7 purse bid at the request of both camps to continue negotiations]