It was revealed this week via his own social media accounts that IBF Welterweight champion Kell Brook plans to remain as the division’s champion and defend his title despite initial reports of plans to move up in weight to 154 pounds. Why a Kell Brook weight increase properly out of the welterweight division can wait.
As alluring as jumping ship to a new division with fresh faces and interesting challenges sounds, I believe Brook should be commended for staying put, at least for now.
While it is the tradition that fighters looking to elevate their status in the sport often doing so by moving up in weight, in many cases it does the division that is left behind, especially if you are a champion in said division, a great deal of injustice.
In this case, Brook has recognised that there is still work left to be done and he is to be commended for that.
The original news that Brook was planning to leave his welterweight strap behind hit me as a complete surprise – despite having three successful title defences under his belt he is yet to face off against anyone with a decent chance of taking the belt from him (Golovkin exempt, of course).
Lets face it, when you possess the level of talent that Brook has names like Gavin, Dan and Bizier don’t exactly make you jump from your seat in excitement.
Names like Garcia, Bradley, Thurman and even Pacquiao are all names that could cause potential problems for the ‘Special’ one and are respectfully all names that Brook, at the level of the game he has reached now, is well deserving of.
He belongs in that superstar line-up and is perfectly capable of taking them all on and coming out as the victor.
Why give all those very realistic and mouth-wateringly marketable opportunities up simply to try to make your name elsewhere? To me it’s more akin to career suicide than a promotion.
Luckily, it now appears Brook has seen the light before he fell in too deep.
In this modern age of multiple world champions if one is to make his mark as one of the best in the world and subsequently go on to be recognised as an all-time great, avoiding what would be some of the most engaging and ultimately necessary fights in the sport today is a very silly way to go about it.
Whether or not this would have been Brook’s intention should he have moved up in weight is irrelevant – ten years from now when, chances are, Brook will be settled into retirement we would all look back and wonder what could have been.
I would be a little more understanding if it was merely one or two names that were left behind by Brook in this hypothetical career projection, but not the upper ranks of an entire division.
Not only would it have been a grossly detrimental move for the champion, but his potential competitors as well, most of whom are already established top contenders.
To rob these men of what could have been their defining performance or the chance for them to improve their own game to the next level would be a tragedy not just for the fighters but for boxing fans everywhere.
Thankfully, we can all look forward to Brook sticking around in the 147 pack for at least a little while longer. It’s the division where he has made his name, but he is not ‘The’ name just yet.
However, with a potential super-fight with fellow Brit and arch rival Amir ‘Khandashian’ Khan (Brook’s words not mine – sorry Amir!) looking closer than ever, and a tantalizing albeit mandatory challenge from powerhouse Errol Spence Jr, he could be closing in on that coveted title if he manages to stay the course.
147 is your home, Mr Brook. On behalf of everyone sharing my opinion, thanks for not selling up.