By Scott Gilfoid: It’s not Errol Spence’s intention to try and blast out IBF welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) earlier than middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin did in beating him by a 5th round knockout on September 10 last year, but he still wants to get him out of there in a better fashion. Brook and Spence will be fighting on May 27 at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England.
The fight will be taking place in front of Brook’s own British boxing fans. As such, Spence, 27, will be going into the large 32,000 seat Bramall Lane looking to upset the fan’s hero Brook, and march out of there with his IBF 147lb title in his possession.
Spence (21-0, 18 KOs) notes that Golovkin got hit some by Brook in the process of pressing him out in the 5th round. Spence doesn’t want to take the shots that Golovkin did, because he says he wants to go home to his daughter afterwards and take her to the beach. If you look at the Golovkin-Brook fight, Golovkin didn’t get hit that much. He got hit with one good shot in round 2, but most of the other punches that Brook threw were getting blocked on the gloves of GGG. Brook landed one good uppercut in round 2 that caused Golovkin to cover up. Brook then flurried on him but didn’t land one punch during the flurry. Everything was blocked. The crowd cheered loudly for Brook, but he didn’t land anything during that brief burst of shots. The stick that Golovkin took from the boxing fans for his performance against Brook was a little unfair. He didn’t do bad at all against him, but it was a no win situation due to him fighting a welterweight. It didn’t matter what Golovkin did, he was always going to be criticized afterwards by boxing fans.
“I don’t want to get caught up in that,” said Spence to Dontae’s Boxing Nation about him not wanting to outdo Gennady Golovkin’s 5th round knockout performance against Brook. “You can always go out of character and end up doing something different. I’m not going to go in there and try and get him out there early. I’m just going to go with the flow and do what I do best, break him down and hopefully get him out of there early a little better,” said Spence.
There’s no real reason for Spence to try and outdo what Triple G did in stopping Brook. Golovkin seemed to be in a hurry to knock him out for some reason. I don’t think Spence needs to try to rush the knockout of Brook. I do think it’s imperative that Spence does knock Brook out inside the distance, because the scoring for the fight might be WAY out of whack from what’s actually transpiring inside the ring. Who can forget the oddball scoring by the 3 judges that worked the Golovkin-Brook fight last September in London, England? Golovkin dominated 4 of the 5 rounds, and yet one judge had Brook winning 3 rounds to 1. The other two judges had it knotted up 2-2 after 4 rounds.
I would have loved to have seen how this trio of judges had the 5th round scored up until the point where Brook’s corner threw in the towel. It would have been completely laughable if the judges had Brook even winning the 5th round until the fight was stopped by his trainer Dominic Ingle. Spence needs to make sure that the fight does no go to the scorecards in order not to find himself potentially on the receiving end of a decision loss to Brook. Sheffield is Brook’s home city, so there’s going to be total cheering for him from start to finish.
“I’m definitely not going to try and take the shots that Triple G got caught on the chin. I’m not going to take nothing on purpose. I got to go home to my daughter, and take her to the beach after the fight. I’m not taking no punches on purpose.” said Spence. “I don’t think he took any punches on purpose either, but he took them well,” said Spence about Golovkin. “Triple G, I heard he be doing 3,000 neck exercises a day; something like that. He took them well. I’m not taking any punches on purpose. That’s crazy,” said Spence.
As I mentioned already, Golovkin really didn’t get hit that much in the Brook fight. The pro-Brook crowd cheered like crazy each time he would throw punches, which was like an echo chamber in making it seem like he was landing more than he really did in the fight. The fans weren’t cheering for Golovkin when he landed. If they had, it would have nonstop cheering because he was landing more punches.
Spence is working on different strategies to deal with Brook’s clinching. Spence doesn’t want Brook to be constantly clinching him like we saw in his fight with Shawn Porter in 2014. Brook won that fight largely due to his ability to keep Porter from throwing punches. Unfortunately, the method that Brook used to stop Porter from getting his shots off was frequent clinching. The referee that was working the fight didn’t stop Brook from clinching, so he continued to do it repeatedly in each round.
Brook’s clinching was his game plan, and he it impeded Porter’s ability to throw punches because he was constantly behind held in tight bear-hug like clinches by Brook. In Brook’s fight against Gennady Golovkin, he didn’t choose to hold him the way he had with Porter. It could be that Brook realized it was a hopeless situation, and it wouldn’t look good if he held all night long. Brook obviously wasn’t going to win the fight because he was hopelessly outgunned. As such, he chose to land some shots and move around the ring instead of clinching. Being seen fighting bravely was definitely a better look for Brook than if he had used the game plan of constant clinching to try and spoil his way out of the fight. I don’t think the referee would have taken points off from Brook if he had opted to hold Golovkin excessively like he did with Porter, but you never know.
“I know if he does clinch me that means I’m doing what I’m supposed to do in either controlling him or frustrating him or something’s going wrong for him for him to clinch and he’s going to regroup,” said Spence about Brook’s tendency to clinch a lot. “I think I can minimize that a bit. I can’t stop somebody if they have a full clinch on me. It’s up to the ref to stop it. Of course, I can use angles, step back and get out of the way and keep my distance when he tries to clinch me and shuffle back. So that’s a couple of stuff we’ve been working on,” said Spence.
There’s not a lot that Spence can do if Brook does decide that he’s going to clinch 10 plus times per round. Spence can only try and keep his distance to Brook if he’s going to game the system by clinching all night long. Even staying on the outside didn’t help Porter in trying to control Brook’s clinching. Brook torpedoed forward to grab Porter in a clinch when he tried to keep on the outside.
It was futile for Porter to try and stop Brook from holding. Without the referee doing his job by stopping Brook from his nonstop clinching, Porter was out there on his own in that fight. The best thing that Spence can do is to make sure that he stays on the outside as much as possible to keep Brook from being able to get his arms around him in his clinches. It might be a good idea for Spence to hit Brook in the midsection when he’s rushing forward with his arms outstretched to start clinching. Brook will be defenseless when he’s in his approach run to initiate his clinches.
“Derrick’s a big guy. I’ve been wrestling him a little bit,” said Spence about his trainer Derrick James. “I’ve got a sparring partner that’s a 180 now. We’ve been pushing each other around, grabbing in clinches sometimes too. It’s going to help. I’ll be a little bit harder for Kell to clinch. Shawn kind of helped a little bit with the clinch, because when Kell got close and wanted to grab, Shawn kind of grabbed a little bit too. That’s kind of Shawn’s style a little bit too to get inside and kind of maul the guy and beat the guy up. Shawn was trying to do that, but Kell was clinching and holding too. It just shows how physically strong Kell is. Shawn does the same. People can say what they want to say but skills don’t lie. I’m definitely not hyped. We’ll see on May 27,” said Spence.