Minutes after Paulie Malignaggi had taken the WBA welterweight from Vyacheslav Senchenko, Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn was on his twitter account claiming to be keen to match his star Kell Brook against the new champion.
Hearn could not have made a more predictable statement if he had tried.
Brook is an excellent fighter, and possibly the most talented in the Matchroom stable. However, there is a sense of urgency from within the British boxing community to see the Sheffield man in with a genuine test.
Hearn has been quick to claim that Brook’s previous promoter, Frank Warren, never really believed in the boxer, and that Matchroom will make him a star.
Is his definition of ‘star’ a pound-for-pound listed, globally recognised champion, or a well paid enigma within the domestic boxing community?
Brook is 26 years old and cannot afford to be parked on the sidelines until the the safest route to a title presents itself. He is ready to peak right now, and needs the marquee opponents to prove it.
Too put things into perspective, by the age of 26:
- Manny Pacquiao had six years of world title fight experience, the scalp of Marco Antonio Barrera under his belt, and started his epic trilogy with Juan Manual Marquez.
- Floyd Mayweather had defended his super-featherweight title 10 times, cleaning out the 130 pound division in the process, and also twice beat Jose Luis Castillo at lightweight.
- Fellow Sheffield fighter Naseem Hamed had won a world title, made 13 defenses, and captured the attention of the US boxing audience.
The biggest name on Brook’s resume is Lovemore N’Dou — he’s been in with more quality fighters than Matthew Hatton — and that doesn’t warrant a title shot.
Does Hearn think Brook can beat the winner of the Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto rematch? We may never find out. The winner of that fight will surely also be looking for a title shot.
Goldenboy Promotions recently arranged a business agreement with BoxNation, and Matchroom are in bed with Sky Sports. Doing business will not be easy, if at all possible.
If Ortiz beats Berto he will probably find himself in the ring with Malignaggi to kick start Goldenboy’s new series of monthly boxing events at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn later this year. Malignaggi’s title win couldn’t have come at a better time for the promoter.
Hearn has previously done business with Berto’s promoter, Lou Dibella, but a fight in Sheffield for no title is probably not the reward Berto will seek if he avenges his loss to Ortiz.
Could Brook possibly be matched up with Mike Jones, another good, undefeated welterweight? Bob Arum has tried to hype Jones’ ability, but a lack of U.S. fan base could present Eddie Hearn with the opportunity to lure the American overseas.
Some fighters are late-bloomers, and 26 is relatively young for a boxer, but Brook is better than a late-bloomer.
Let’s hope that in the age of the protected ‘0’ we don’t see such a naturally powerful and gifted fighter like Kell Brook drip fed the safe option, while his team beat their chests, and the public shake their heads thinking of what could have been.
Brook will box again in July, and we can expect to see him once more before the end of the year. Is he going to mix it up with the serious players in the division, or will he settle for whipping the next best thing in front of adoring Sheffield crowds?
He needs to prioritise. Is it his bank balance, or legacy that he’s concerned with? Maybe Brook and his promoter should understand that it is possible to have both.
Perhaps Hearn will have to allow Brook to leave his home comforts, and go knocking on the doors of some of the bigger American based names in a division loaded with talent.