Errol Spence Jr. is now the IBF Welterweight champion after a thrilling stoppage win over England’s Kell Brook in Kell’s hometown of Sheffield. This was yet another soccer stadium show in the UK, with 27,000 or so packing Brammall Lane. Unlike Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko in April, there was no victory for the home fighter.
It was a tense, back-and-forth affair in the first half of the fight, which I had scored even. The second-half was firmly in the American’s favor, as those body shots were wearing Brook down, and the jabs and power shots had busted up Brook’s eye. Brook did his best to get out of the 10th round, and he fired back well after being knocked down. The accumulation of damage was too much to take in the 11th, as he went down to a knee on his own and Howard Foster counted him out (even though I swear he beat the count) for the KO.
Spence really is “The Truth.” He is just 27 years old, has been a professional for only five years, and has steadily made his way to the top of the welterweight division. This was a stern test for him and he passed it with flying colors. I highly recommend that you start paying attention to Spence, because he’s part of the next generation of great boxers. Spence has serious star potential and I hope he added some more fans this evening.
More thoughts on tonight’s card:
- Kell Brook has now had his right eye jacked by Gennady Golovkin (a fight he only took because Chris Eubank Jr. vs. GGG fell apart) and his left eye destroyed by Errol Spence Jr. We could be looking at fractured orbitals for both eyes in less than a year. You really have to be concerned if you’re Brook’s team, because he’s taken career-altering punishment in his only career losses. There’s no doubting Brook’s toughness, but the long-term damage and potential for recurring injuries to those eyes is worrisome.
- Spence is seeking a unification bout with WBA and WBC champion Keith Thurman (28-0-1 NC, 22 KOs), which I’d absolutely love to see, provided Thurman is bothered to be active and fight again this year. Put it on CBS primetime (which is feasible) or just put it on good ol’ Showtime and I’m there.
- Body shots are a big deal. No matter what Sikjitsu’s coach may think, body shots impact fights in a major way. Spence’s workrate and willingness to value body punching so much is something I really love. This set the stage, in my opinion, for Brook fading in the later rounds. That, plus the effectiveness of Spence’s southpaw jab.
- I was worried that the judges would give the hometown fighter the benefit of the doubt on the scorecards. All of them had Spence up at the time of the stoppage, so that’s a relief. Brook would’ve needed a KO or at least a couple of knockdowns of Spence to retain his title, and that obviously never materialized.
- Kudos to Showtime for its terrific promotion of this event over the past couple of weeks, including the late addition of live-streaming the George Groves vs. Fedor Chudinov card on Youtube and Facebook Live. They’ve really committed themselves to boxing, especially with picking up all of the UK-based cards. Showtime has been excellent at a time when HBO has just been chopping its budget and reducing its event schedule.
- Speaking of Groves-Chudinov, if you haven’t watched this fight yet, watch it as soon as you get a chance. Two super middleweights who fought at a grueling pace and exchanged big punches, and on the fourth attempt of his career, England’s Groves is a major world champion. He’s got the WBA title after a standing stoppage of Chudinov in the sixth round. Fedor never went down, but the Russian wasn’t answering Groves’ onslaught of shots. This was a great moment for Groves, whose career has been defined by coming up just short in the big fights, but now he’s in a position where he can call himself champion. He’s always fun to watch so hats off to him.
- Prince Naseem Hamed was once a superstar in the featherweight (126 lbs) division. Fast forward about seventeen years later, and he’s the size of two featherweights.
This guy ate Prince Naseem Hamed pic.twitter.com/8QrAaPAMuL— Zombie Prophet (@ZPGIFs) May 27, 2017
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