Boxing is full of surprises, and one certainly popped up today. Top middleweight fighter Gennady Golovkin was pretty much set to fight in the UK in September, meeting Chris Eubank Jr. The negotiations were "pretty close" and it seemed to be a done deal. That is, until boxing promoter Eddie Hearn tweeted this out this morning:
On Sept 10 at the @theo2 - @GGGBoxing v @SpecialKBrook for the unified Middleweight World Championship!!! @SkySports pic.twitter.com/GWUoTL703w— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) July 8, 2016
Kell Brook? The welterweight Kell Brook? Well, okay then. Brook (36-0, 25 KO) is one of the top 147-lb fighters in the world -- he's the IBF champion -- and fits the bill as a British draw against Golovkin (35-0, 32 KO) in the 02 Arena. This came out of nowhere though - Brook was apparently set to fight WBO welterweight champ Jesse Vargas on September 3rd. So why is this going down?
According to Hearn, the Eubanks camp got cold feet when they weren't allowed to be in charge:
For his part, Eubanks Jr. says he never saw a contract and still wants the fight:
I haven't been shown one contract since my fight with GGG was announced. I'm still ready & waiting to sign. Fighting Brook is a joke #2Small— Chris Eubank Jr (@ChrisEubankJr) July 8, 2016
Eubanks Jr. was allegedly offered a huge-money contract for the bout that would see him earn at least 3 million pounds, with that amount likely doubling if the PPV did well in the UK. According to Golovkin's promoter Tom Loeffler (via Lance Pugmire of the LA Times), the same contract was offered to Brook and his camp took it.
Tom Loeffler says when Eubank got cold feet, promoter Eddie Hearn offered the same deal to Kell Brook and he accepted. Regular HBO fight.— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) July 8, 2016
Honestly, this is a strange fight. Canelo Alvarez took a lot of heat for facing a much smaller opponent in Amir Khan, and Golovkin is doing the same thing here. But Golovkin is going into enemy territory to take the fight, and Brooks is arguably a better fighter than Khan. Still, this should be quite the spectacle and I look forward to it. Props to Brook for taking the challenge (and the paycheck).
Golovkin vs. Brook will air live on regular HBO in the US, and on Sky Box Office pay-per-view in the UK. September 10th is also the same date as UFC 203: Miocic vs. Overeem.