By Tom Donelson (BWAA)
Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America, and contributing writer for dmboxing.com since 2008
Last month (May 27, 2017), Errol Spence Jr. faced Kell Brook in Sheffield England in Brook’s backyard. For the first six rounds, Brook had a slight lead as he forced the action with his upper cuts and right hands against the southpaw Spence who tried to push the action but often found himself against a savvy fighter. Brook at times even shook Spence but Spence showed a strong chin.
The second half of the fight, Spence took control of the fight with vicious body shots to go with effective jabs to set up combinations. Brook slowed down and during the tenth round, Spence pushed Brook around the ring with body shots with quick combinations. Brook went down in the tenth from effective combinations. Brook’s left eye swelled from Spence’s jabbing, and going into the eleventh, Spence had his opportunity to end it and he did. Spence put on the pressure and landed a combination that forced Brook to sit down. Spence fractured Brook’s left orbital bone and Brook could not continue as the swelling affected his vision.
This fight was close but Spence showed that he could win a bout fought in the trenches. This was not a fight that featured classic boxing but instead saw two fighters who nailed each other with body shots, followed by combinations featuring power shots. This bout showed why Welterweight may be the best division as every fight between contenders proved to be close affairs. The Porter-Thurman fight and Garcia-Thurman bouts were both tight and while Thurman won both affairs, he didn’t dominate either fighter. Both Porter and Garcia certainly can believe that they could beat Thurman in a rematch.
The other aspect of this division is that many of the elite Welterweights are part of the Al Hayman’s Premiere Boxing Champions, a list that includes Spence and Thurman as well as Shawn Porter, Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan, Danny Garcia and Adrien Broner. This means that many of these fighters will end up fighting each other, which means great bouts over the next two years.
Spence, after the fight, demanded a unification bout and as he stated, “I want all the champions. I want Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao, I want to fight the best, just like true champions do.”
Spence is a potential superstar in a division filled with great fighters and if he is able to take control of the division, this will cement him as one of the best pound for pound. Spence was able to adapt to circumstances within the ring as he adjusted to Brook’s style.
Brook showed the ability to nail Spence with solid right hands and Spence found himself unable to simply box but had to fight in the trenches. He unleashed body shots to slow Brook and this allowed his jab to be more effective. This led to more effective combinations in the latter rounds.
Spence’s victory over Brook was impressive since Brook is one of the best welterweights in the world and Spence traveled to Brook’s backyard to fight. Over the second half of the fight, it was Spence who threw the telling punches and he forced Brook to kneel down and take the count due to the damage he inflicted. He showed to be a powerful puncher against one of the better pound for pound fighters who many have avoided for years. This fight was a statement fight to others in the division that if you want to be the king of the Welterweights, you have go through Errol Spence.