Per Bovada, Errol Spence is a minus-225 favorite to dethrone International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Kell Brook in his hometown of Sheffield, England on Saturday.
The fight will be a close one, but there are at least five good reasons to believe in the underdog.
When Brook and Spence climb into the ring in Sheffield, England, they and referee Howard John Foster will be the only ones in the squared circle, but don’t undersell the impact of the tens of thousands of fans who will be in attendance at Bramall Lane cheering on their favorite son.
Brook has a strong and formidable following in England and we don’t know how Spence will acquit himself in a hostile environment on this level.
One of the reasons we don’t know how Spence will perform behind enemy lines is because he’s still very inexperienced. In his 21 professional fights, he has boxed just 77 rounds. Compare that to Brook’s 37 fights and 184 rounds, and it’s impossible not to see the difference.
Brook doesn’t just have the raw numbers and bouts advantage in experience. He’s also faced much stiffer competition. He did well for himself in his five rounds against the much larger Gennady Golovkin in his last fight in September 2016 before being stopped because of a broken eye socket.
He outpointed the previously undefeated Shawn Porter in August 2014 to earn the IBF strap. Brook has also beaten respectable opponents like Carson Jones (twice), Vyacheslav Senchenko and Frankie Gavin. Spence has looked outstanding in his career, but if we’re being honest, his best wins came over Chris Algieri and a 42-year-old Leonard Bundu.
Brook’s jab is among the best in the welterweight division. It’s deceptively quick but heavy enough to stop opponents in their tracks. It was a major weapon against Porter. I believe the jab and the uppercut will be the two biggest punches of the fight for Brook.
Spence is a finisher, but that doesn’t mean he has what it takes to drop and stop Brook. Golovkin is widely regarded as one of the most devastating punchers in the 160-pound division and Brook took his shots for five rounds without dropping.
If Spence can finish Brook, he’s an instant superstar in the sport, but I don’t see that happening.
Brook has a respectable 68 percent KO rate, but his power is a little more formidable than that number might indicate. I’ve watched a number of his fights and more than the finishes, I pay attention to his opponent’s reactions after a punch lands flush.
The champion has heavy hands that will force Spence to respect him. That dynamic will lead to the fight becoming more of a boxing match than a slugfest, and that’s where I believe Brook has the advantage. Spence will have his moments and I believe he is going to win a world championship at some point in his career, but it won’t be on Saturday.
Brook will outbox Spence en route to a close split-decision victory.
Source: Brian Mazique, Forbes