The Big Question: Brook vs Spence Jr: who wins?
Top-class welterweights Kell Brook and Errol Spence Jr square off on Saturday night in Sheffield in a titanic contest. We canvassed opinion among the Boxing Monthly online team about which man will prevail...
Honestly struggling to make a pick in this one. The obvious factors of how Brook copes with getting back down to welter and how his eye reacts after the drubbing from Golovkin are hard to get past for me but whilst Spence has looked tremendous in stopping some durable foes he's never taken on anyone resembling a puncher so I'm intrigued to see if his chin is all that. I imagine Spence will invest heavily to the body and he's shown he can take out solid fighters to the mid section. Just so I'm not sitting on the fence I'll go with the American to take the title. - Marcus Bellinger
For over a year now, since Spence took the IBF route and this fight was first spoken of, I have thought Brook would win a close decision in a fight which earned him a unification match - while in time Spence would go on to great things and the loss would be seen as a positive (like Pascal losing a brilliant fight to Froch and then going on to world titles at light heavy).
Then Brook faced Golovkin.
The things which now have me wondering if Spence will take this are more to do with how Brook has changed: no matter what he has said in recent interviews, when push came to shove Golovkin simply punched him to a standstill. Brook has now tasted defeat, he hasn't been at 147lbs in over a year, he has yet to see how his eye fares when in a contest, and over the past couple of years he has become less active. The big thing for me though, is the weight: I never thought he was scared of facing Spence, but I did wonder if the fight was not going to be possible due to a Brook career-move up to 154lbs.
I hope Brook does it, and I will not be at all shocked if he does, but I wonder if Spence will sneak this one on a tight decision - with Brook saying afterwards that making 147 just took too much out of him. - Colin Harris
I've gone back and forth on this one - for me this is fight between the most talented fighters in the division, and without the Golovkin factor I would be picking a Brook decision with some comfort.
But there is the Golovkin factor to consider and it adds multiple layers to this already close fight; first there's the weight. Rarely does a fighter go up two weight classes and come back at the same level he was at before - just ask Roy Jones. Secondly the loss to Golovkin (and post-fight surgery) have to have added some wear and tear to Brook's 30-year-old frame. While he's had very few wars in his career, such a loss must have added some mileage to Brook.
Despite all that, Brook is a quality fighter and will be boxing at home in front of 30k Yorkshire men and women and the location factor can't be underestimated here. Spence has never been in an atmosphere like this before and not against an opponent of Brook's quality. Spence has looked spectacular so far but it's safe to say that Chris Algieri and Chris van Heerden won't have prepared him for what he faces on Saturday night.
This really is a 50/50 fight in an era where that term is overused - my pick is for both to come out fast but for Spence to settle down first and grind out a decision win. - Callum Rudge
I'm a strong believer that Spence will win convincingly on points or by late stoppage. He's part of a small group of elite American fighters who are very special and will prove hard to beat: Thurman and Gervonta Davis are also in that group.
It's no disrespect to Brook, as he's an incredible fighter, but I believe he was struggling to make 147lbs before the GGG fight and should have stayed at 154 afterwards. The boildown could be a contributing factor in his (predicted) loss against Spence. If he wins, I'd imagine it will be in less than seven rounds, but I just don't see Spence getting tagged. He's too slick. I hope that I'm shockingly wrong and Kell can retain the title to help continue Britain's boxing boom, but I fear this will not be the case. - Paul Zanon
When faced with danger, the Sheffield fighter thrives. I expect Spence to have some notable success early on, almost certainly hurting the home fighter with lightning quick hooks and uppercuts while in close, but I back Brook to ride out the storm of the first two or three rounds and begin to take over in the middle period for a mid-to-late rounds stoppage victory. - Chris Williamson - click here for Chris' full preview
Final count: Spence Jr 4 Brook 1