While it may not be the best fight for Kell Brook, this is one he had to take (Brook vs Bizier preview).
I thought Mayweather/Pacquiao was going to be a game changer – a signal that long standing rivalries would be paid off. With the money and egos involved, if that fight could be made, then any other should be easy.
Eleven months on and it hasn’t worked out that way. Sure, there have been some deals done. Good ones too – Klitschko vs Fury, Canelo and Cotto, Frampton/Quigg, but the underlying politics have remained the same. We’re still no closer to the Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson unifier than we we’re three years ago. And with Amir Khan now next in line for middleweight champion Canelo, any talk of he and Kell Brook is a dead issue.
I know there are those who will say the Khan/Brook fight will always be there. I don’t believe that. Regardless of how Amir fares on May 7th, I think the book has been closed on that one. Whether you feel Khan’s two division leap is a brave or stupid career move is irrelevant. It’s what’s happening and it leaves Sheffield’s Brook again without his superfight.
Instead, he returns home to face Kevin Bizier in a mandatory defense neither he nor the boxing public would have wanted. Bizier (25-2) in truth is a decent boxer. A tough guy, reasonable pedigree, knows his way around the ring. He’s a good ticket seller in Quebec. And like with any popular fighter, he’s had the benefit of some favourable matchmaking and kind rankings along the way. He’s the type of challenger that makes sense for an average champion. Aspirations for Brook are greater than that though and he’s already proven he belongs in bigger bouts.
The two blips on the visitors record were to one man – Jo Jo Dan. Dan bested Bizier in two closely contested clashes in Canada each time scoring a split decision. It earned him his own shot at Brook’s then newly won IBF crown. The four round wipeout which followed remains among the least competitive title matches I’ve seen in a British ring. And while Bizier, despite twice losing to Dan, may be the more qualified opponent of the two, it’s difficult to make a case he can do any better against Brook.
With or without Khan though, it’s hard to make sense of how Brook found himself in the position he’s in now. At 35-0, Kell has the longest win streak in British Boxing. He took his title the hard way; winning it on the road against an avoided fighter in Shawn Porter. Then when every other belt was tied up in the Mayweather/Pacquiao saga, Brook was the one remaining champion left in boxing’s money division. That should have opened up doors. A big fight should have emerged but it just never did. A bout with Diego Chavez was signed and then scrapped. There were talks of Thurman, Marquez and Bradley that rippled up briefly but then quietly faded out again.
The Ingle fighter instead spent ten months on the sideline and now returns needing a good showcase to put himself back in the conversation. The truth is few would have held it against Brook had he skipped past Bizier; leaving the belt behind in pursuit of something bigger. He couldn’t do it though. If he is going to hook a star opponent, then that IBF title is likely a bargaining chip he will need. There are going to be opportunities to do just that soon too.
Next month reality sets in for the welterweight division. The future without Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao begins and the search starts for a new number 1. Danny Garcia, Tim Bradley and whoever wins between Thurman/Porter will all be in the mix. If Brook wants to join them he needs to be strictly business tonight. Get the job done and move on. A special fighter needs special fights. It’s now time to see how good Kell Brook is.
Prediction: Brook TKO 6