Kell Brook deserves a lot of credit for stepping up in weight to challenge dangerous unified middleweight title-holder Gennady Golovkin, according to Luke Blackledge.
The 147lb IBF World champion will climb two divisions to take on the Kazakhstan fighter in a bid to swipe his collection of straps at the O2 Arena on September 10th.
The pair boast 71 wins between them with 57 by knockout while the number one pound-for-pound pugilist on the planet, who has won within the distance 22 times in succession, owns the best knockout percentage in the history of the 160lb classification.
“Fair play to Kell Brook,” said Clitheroe’s Commonwealth champion. “He was offered a massive opportunity to fight the best middleweight in the world and he took it.
“He’s a world level fighter and has a chance; a much better chance that Eubank Jr would have had anyway. He will go in to that fight confident.”
Blackledge feels that it’s a clever move from the Matchroom fighter who, despite taking a gamble on his unblemished CV, has little to lose.
Should Sheffield’s ‘Special One’, who has home advantage, lose out in London he’ll still have his welterweight title in tact which holds the potential with some mammoth match-ups against the likes of Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Jessie Vargas.
“Even if he gets beat he won’t lose his world title at 147,” said the Elite boxer. “It’s a smart move really because he hasn’t got anything to lose. If he loses he’ll be respected for taking the fight and then he can drop back down in weight to defend his belt. It’s a win-win situation really.
“It would’ve been interesting if the two had met at a catchweight of 155lb but Golovkin won’t want to concede the advantage when it’s his titles that are on the line.
“Brook is big at 147lb, though, so he’ll be able to adapt at middleweight. I think it could suit him. I don’t think it’s as extreme as Khan stepping up to fight Canelo.
“He’s got fast feet, speed, good timing and precision so it all depends on whether he can carry his power through to middleweight. I can’t see him winning but if he can prevent Golovkin from closing the distance, keep him off his chest, then he stands a chance.”
The announcement of the contest came as a shock, with Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions close to finalising a deal with Eddie Hearn for the champion to make his defence against Chris Eubank Jr.
At that time, Hearn was also in the process of finalising a deal with Top Rank for a welterweight unification bout between Brook and WBO king Vargas.
“The Eubanks were getting too greedy,” said Blackledge. “It sounded like it had been sorted after he had been offered life-changing money. It didn’t happen but I don’t think he’s ready for GGG yet anyway.
“Maybe it will happen a year or two down the line but he’s not at that level yet. He’s a top fighter and he’s improving a lot but I’d say European level is his ceiling at the moment.”