Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn views his fighter Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) as the “forgotten man”, and he wants to him prove that he’s still relevant when he steps into the ring to fight Mark DeLuca (24-1, 13 KOs) this Saturday night at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, UK.
This is a test fight for Brook. If Brook wins with flying colors, he moves forward to bigger, and better things. If he loses or looks horrible in winning, then it could be game over for the Sheffield native.
Brook no longer relevant
Hearn says Brook “used to be” one of the big names in British boxing, but he’s let that all slip away by taking advantage of the opportunities that he’d had. The former IBF welterweight champion Brook, 33, hasn’t “lived the life” of a dedicated boxer, according to Hearn, and failed capitalize fully on the prime of his career.
Hearn says he NEVER would have chosen to match Brook against former IBF/WBC middleweight champion Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin in September 2016 because he was struggling with the weight at 147, and wasn’t in the gym on a daily basis.
Rather than let Brook’s career slide by without getting him a big fight, Hearn offered Kell the Golovkin match, which was an excellent payday for him, and he readily agreed.
Unfortunately for Brook, the Golovkin turned out to be his downfall, as he suffered a broken eye socket in losing by a 5th round TKO. From that point on, it’s been a race to the bottom for Brook, as he’s dealt with another eye injury, and a massive amount of inactivity.
Hearn explains why he matched Brook against Golovkin
“When you talk about the Golovkin fight, people don’t realize that when you’ve lost opportunities and you’re not living the life, and an opportunity comes up like that for a lot of money, you grab it if you think you’ve got a chance of winning,” said Hearn to secondsout on Brook’s fight with Golovkin in 2016. “You take it.
“If he was in the gym everyday, if he [Brook] was on weight every day, we wouldn’t have taken the Golovkin fight, because we would have just waited for the right opportunity at 147,” said Hearn about Brook. “But it got to the stage where we need a big fight because otherwise his career is going to pass him by. We took that fight [against Golovkin], and then the Errol Spence fight come up.
“I actually said, ‘I don’t think you should take the Errol Spence fight.’ He [Brook] thought he could beat him,” said Hearn. “But again, if you knew the way Kell Brook made the weight against Errol Spence, I can’t believe he did three rounds, let alone 10 or whatever it was when he was stopped,” said Hearn.
Brook wanted a big fight against Amir Khan in 2016, but it wasn’t happening. None of the other top welterweights were showing Brook any interest. Further, Brook had just seen his nemesis Khan get a big payday in a losing effort against Canelo Alvarez in May 2016. As such, Brook took a similar gamble in moving up to middleweight to challenge GGG for his IBF and WBC titles.
Big fights out there for Brook if he beats DeLuca
So if he’s living the life now, and he’s talking about, ‘I’m 11 stone,’ he can make welterweight. But I don’t want him to deplete himself, and push to make welterweight if there’s opportunities at 154,” Hearn said about him wanting Brook to stay at 154 if it’s too much trouble to make 147.
“The good thing about this opponent [DeLuca] is, he’s ultra strong,” said Hearn. “He’s a solid 154-pounder. I love the Liam Smith fight for Kell Brook, I love the Amir Khan fight for Kell Brook, and I love the [Jeison] Rosario fight for Kell Brook. I want to get him [Brook] a world title. What’s important to him right now is becoming a two-weight world champion, and the first time in a long time, you genuinely see with the look in his eye that I believe that actually believes he wants to win it.
“Not someone that just says they want to,” said Hearn about his belief that Brook is serious this time. “When he grabbed my arm and said, ‘I want you to be a fan of me,’ I felt bad. But when you’ve been out of the ring for a year, and you’re not disciplined, and you’ve got all these great fighters that are in the gym every day, and they’re fighting every three months, you’re going to be the forgotten man. So prove it on Saturday. Prove you’re not the forgotten man, and I love what I see of him,” said Hearn.
It’s hard to go from being a slacker in between fights to a guy that stays in the gym, and trains hard 365 days a year. For that reason, Brook will likely backside after the DeLuca fight, and take it easy, not train, eat a lot, and put on tons of weight. This has been Brook’s pattern for his entire 16-year pro career, and he’s not likely to change his DNA now. It’s who he is. It takes hard work to stay in shape year round, and deny yourself the cakes, cookies and other goodies that Brook will find hard to resist after his fight with DeLuca.
Liam Smith is a good fight for Brook, but a tough one. That might be a little too hard of a fight for Brook right now given his long period of inactivity. You can’t really count DeLuca as a tough fight, because that guy looks very, very average. Brook’s last opponent Michael Zerafa would likely beat DeLuca.
Hearn is doing a good job of hyping the Brook-DeLuca fight, but the reality is, this is a step down for Brook from his last clash against Zerafa. Brook looked terrible in that fight, and took a lot of punishment from the young upstart Zerafa.
IBF/WBA junior middleweight champion Jeison Rosario (20-1, 14 KOs) would be a risky fight for Brook, as he punches very hard, and he’s in the prime of his career right now. Rosario destroyed Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams in five rounds last month on January 18, and he could do a lot of damage to Brook’s eye sockets if they’re still vulnerable to breakage. You cn argue that Rosario is a bigger puncher than Errol Spence Jr., and we saw what he did to Brook in fracturing one of his eye sockets.