Last night was witness to a successful homecoming and first title defense for the IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook in Sheffield, England. Brutalizing the IBF number one contender Jo Jo Dan in four rounds, Brook showed his punches will continue to back up the swagger he and promoter Eddie Hearn have touted, calling out the division’s biggest names. After the fight Brook and Hearn continued their campaign to lure countryman Amir Khan into a massive summer showdown. No Sparring looks at the best next five options for the champ and their likelihood of materializing.
5. Brandon Rios
Rios put on a good performance in his last outing as he stopped Mike Alvarado and won the rubber match of their trilogy. Rios isn’t yet scheduled for a fight this Spring and would be available. Brook continues to seek recognizable names to fight that can acclimate himself with the U.S. crowds and networks. This would be a fun fight to watch as both would be throwing bombs.
Chance: Very Likely
4. Keith Thurman
Thurman made good work of Robert Guerrero on NBC earlier this month and mades some new fans along the way. As one of the brightest talents in the division and an undefeated record to boot, Thurman has a lot of options. Don’t expect a fight with Brook this soon as both are the heirs apparent to the post-MayPac era and promoters want to build the fight. Personally I think a fight now would be great with a possible rematch a couple years down the line in a classic “then vs now” scenario. One can dream…
3. Juan Manuel Marquez
As mentioned earlier, Brook needs more recognizable names on his resume to draw out the big boys of the division. JMM is a top five P4P fighter (though way past his prime) who could truly legitimize Brook as a champion. With an itch to win the welterweight title that has eluded him in his wars with Manny Pacquiao, JMM is more than intrigued to challenge the young buck. If JMM doesn’t retire, expect to see him in the ring against Brook.
Chance: Pick em
2. Timothy Bradley
Arguably the best welterweight not named Mayweather or Pacquiao, Bradley brings the biggest challenge for Brook. His experience coupled with his talent is enough to give Brook trouble; never mind what a sound strategy would do. Bradley has an open schedule as of now but has been linked to light middleweight K9 Bundrage as a possible opponent for some unlikely reasons. Don’t expect a fight with Bradley to materialize for Brook.
Chance: Very Unlikely
1. Amir Khan
The biggest and best option for Kell Brook is a matchup against Amir Khan. It would do massive numbers in the UK and would draw network attention here in the U.S. The fight would pit two of the top ten welterweights against one another with the winner surely the best option for the MayPac winner assuming there’s no rematch. This fight needs to happen.
Brook’s promoter has offered Khan a record pay day to step in the ring but Khan continues to dodge their advances while maintaining an “I’m not scared attitude.” This tactic has been playing out not surprisingly similar to how other Al Haymon fighter’s have reacted to tough challenges. Adonis Stevenson has thus far avoided an highly anticipated fight with Sergey Kovalev using the same war of words as Khan while Peter Quillin declined a record payday last year (as Khan is doing now) and instead vacated his middleweight title. Both moves are classic Haymon. Let’s hope neither Brook nor Khan loses in the meantime if they don’t square up this summer.
Update: Khan was quoted today as saying “not this year” when regarding a showdown with Brook.
Chance: Very Unlikely