Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Where: Sheffield Arena, Sheffield, England
Weight Class: Welterweight
Titles: IBF Welterweight Championship
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Kell Brook, 36-1 (25 KOs), Sheffield, England
Errol Spence, 21-0 (18 KOs), Brentwood, New York
Betting Odds: Kell Brook (+105), Errol Spence (-135)
Kell Brook defends his IBF Welterweight Title against top contender and blue-chip up and comer Errol Spence on May 20. The bout will be held in Brook's stomping grounds in Sheffield—the privilege that comes with being a champion. But this isn't just a routine defense. Many have Spence pegged as one of the sport's brightest young stars. The 30-year old titleholder is certainly up against it in this spot, despite edges in fight-locale and world-class experience. An awful lot of people think Spence will become a star and this is the first real look we get in determining whether that will happen or not.
Brook is a well traveled 30 year old. He lost for the first time in 37 outings in his last fight—an ambitious shot at middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin. Brook was pulled in the fifth round with a broken orbital bone. He took some punishment in that fight against the feared GGG, but also fought well, appearing to hurt Golovkin early. Brook has great legs, is very crafty, and can generate a lot of heat with his short shots. He won the belt with a win over the respected Shawn Porter and had two fights apiece in 2015 and 2016. He has been through some hard battles in his career and has managed to thrive. He was also the victim of a knife attack that nearly cost him his life while on vacation celebrating his title win over Porter. He's been forced to overcome a lot of things to be in this spot.
After the punishment he took at the hands of GGG, combined with the prospects of him having to make 147 pounds, it's fair to wonder what version of Brook we will see here. And that's without even talking about the dangers his opponent presents. Brook is pretty big for 147 and that's not something that improves with age. With his last fight at 160, it will have been 15 months since he last made this weight. The signs are there for a possible dip in Brook's form. Not that it will happen, but he hasn't scored a meaningful win since the Porter fight, having chalked up three perfunctory defenses since that triumph. It just seems the timing is iffy for him to be facing a high-velocity opponent of this caliber. When trying to regain your bearings after a punishing loss, the last thing you want to see in the opposite corner is a guy like Spence—a smart fighter with good legs who can really go to the body.
Spence offers some unique stylistic components against the champion Brook. First of all, he really gets after it, as one would expect with a hungry fighter who hasn't accomplished anything yet. He knows he's facing a steep challenge against a respected fighter in his hometown—as a champion who has never lost at this weight. Expect Spence to act accordingly as the visiting challenger. He's the guy who has to go above and beyond and not leave anything to chance.
Spence was a decorated amateur. His background is exactly what you want to see from a promising young fighter. A national champion who fought in the 2012 London Olympics, Spence rose up the ranks and almost immediately stood out as a fighter worth watching. Over the past two years or so, he's been beating top-30 type opposition, culminating in a 5th round KO over respected Chris Algieri. His last fight was a 6th-round stoppage of Leonard Bundu in August. He has scored 8 straight knockouts, impressive as the quality of his opposition has steadily risen.
The problems this matchup provides Brook are numerous. Brook is a thinking fighter. When opponents are straightforward types, he's able to use his legs and grab and control the tempo of the fight. Spence is so frenetic and comes in at such unpredictable angles and levels that it's extremely difficult for crafty fighters like Brook to employ their tactics. Against Spence, you can only be so organized since he gives you no time to think. He also throws very hard to the body and can land hard shots upstairs from a variety of angles. In Brook's only other really top-shelf win, he was able to negotiate Shawn Porter's more-predictable movements. He will have no such luxury against Spence.
BET THE KELL BROOK VS. ERROL SPENCE FIGHT FROM HOME! DEPOSIT $100 AND GET $100 FREE AT ONE OF THE WEB'S OLDEST SPORTSBOOKS: BOVADA SPORTSBOOK
With Spence, however, we don't really know. Just as Brook has never faced anyone like Spence, the same can be said for the challenger. You don't beat Kell Brook unless you're the goods. So this is a really tough entrance exam for Spence if he wants to be considered among the elite in the talent-rich waters of 147 pounds. Spence is a little straight-up, which is a concern when facing someone who can punch as well as Brook. He can be hit, as he suffers a bit from his head sticking up unprotected like a lollipop. In other words, this is far from a slam dunk.
But I still can't help but like Spence in this matchup. It's not a knock on Brook's standing or caliber. It comes down to the meshing of different styles. And while Brook is the champion fighting at home, conditions that are usually very favorable, not a lot seems to line up well for him in this bout. Even if he has no residual affects from his last fight, makes weight comfortably, and can match Spence's hunger, he will still have his hands full with the ambitious, hard-hitting, and energetic Spence. I'm taking Errol Spence in this one.
Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Errol Spence at -135. Did you know... that you could be wagering on fights at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying inflated odds with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY and bet on the Brook vs. Spence bout from home by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!