Spence stops Brook: Manny Pacquiao next?
Saturday May 27, from the Brumall Lane Football Grounds in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, former IBF Welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) put his coveted 147 pound distinction on the line against number one ranked contender and unbeaten American fighter, Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs), and was soundly beaten into submission over the course of ten plus rounds.
The official time of stoppage came at the 1:09 mark of the eleventh round, as Brook dropped to one knee upon taking an accumulation of unanswered punches to the body and head from the strong and steady visiting challenger.
Leading into the highly anticipated contest, physical and mental durability was a big question for the newly crowned champion. Seems a bit ironic that the fighter assumed to have the advantage in heart and overall durability succumbed to the consistently heavy pressure of his opponent and decided to quit. The technical stoppage marks the second time in two fights that Brook and his corner made the decision to give up when the pressure became too intense.
The injury which seemed to start the entire process was another broken orbital bone, this time surrounding the left eye as a result of the hard, sticking Errol Spence jab. The eye seemed to balloon up after the seventh round.
The new IBF Welterweight champion proved to his critics and naysayers that he is indeed "The Truth" and potentially the future of boxing in America.
After the "eye-catching" performance, the 27 year old champ had much to say about the former IBF title holder, and his performance in Sheffield, England.
"I came out the first round and forced my jab," stated Errol Spence Jr. to Showtime's Jim Gray. "He was countering well, but I stuck with it. Brook is a tricky fighter and it was a very tough fight. But I proved that I had the chin and grit to get the job done. Overall I'd give my performance a D+. I don't think I was a sharp as I should have been, because of the layoff in between fights."
When asked who he would like to face next, the Texas based fighter seemed resolute.
"I want to fight Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao...I want to fight the champions and unify the weight class," stated the newly crowned IBF champion.
Unfortunately, he more than likely will have to settle for fellow PBC contender and former IBF title holder Showtime Shawn Porter later this year. With unified champion Keith Thurman out for the rest of the year due to injury, and Manny Pacquiao busy with whomever Top Rank designates for him, Spence will probably get Porter, former two division world champion Danny Garcia. or current WBA trinket holder Lamont Peterson in the interim.
But the ceiling is indeed high for the undefeated new title holder. Because fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Tim Bradley, Miguel Cotto, JMM, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are seemingly in the twilight of their respective careers, semi-retired or completely retired from the sport, there doesn't seem to be much resistance in terms of style match-ups and overall competition.
And due to Spence's youth, power, speed, intelligence and versatility, he would be favored leading into any match-up suggested in the talented 147 pound weight division at this time...even against current WBA/WBC Welterweight champion Keith Thurman.
Sky is the limit for the new IBF 147 pound champion. It will be interesting to see if his popularity increases to a more mainstream and casual level. It will have to if he wants to be recognized as the next big American boxing commodity.