Thursday, 25 May 2017 17:00

Brook vs Spence odds: 5 reasons Errol is in the driver's seat

Written by

Although it's not getting the press of Golovkin vs Canelo, Kell Brook vs Errol Spence is easily one of the biggest fights in boxing.

So, what will happen on May 27 and what are the odds?

... Surprise, surprise.

Errol Spence, the sight underdog when this fight was announced, is now the clear favorite, across the board, to defeat IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook.

As of May 14, bet365 has Spence as the 4/7 favorite while the belt-holder, Brook, is the 11/8 underdog. Hence, a $100 wager on the challenger would yield $57 and the same bet on Brook would garner about $138.

UPDATE: As of today, May 25, Spence is a shocking 2:1 favorite.

And other betting establishments are comparable.

What happened?

Wasn't Kell Brook, just a year ago, a RING Magazine top 10 pound-for-pound fighter? He lost in a valiant effort to middleweight champion and top level pound for pound fighter Gennady Golovkin last fall, but there's certainly no shame in that.

Why the Brook vs Spence odds shift, especially given Kell will be fighting at home in his native Sheffield and in front of his adoring fans?

There are several reasons we are seeing movement in the Brook vs Spence odds:

  1. Some experts and insiders, such as Oscar De La Hoya and Freddie Roach, are emphatic about Errol's chance to win. They aren't barely picking him, they are decisively making him their choice.

  2. Spence has the superior amateur pedigree and has looked nothing short of perfect as a pro. In fact, he might even be more accomplished as a prizefighter. Regardless, the fighter who is belived to be more polished usually gets a tiny boost in the odds. All things being equal, the natural boxer will typically have the perceived edge facing a boxer/puncher or slugger.


Brook vs Spence
Date: May 27, 2017
Location: Bramall Lane, Sheffield
Broadcast: Sky Box Office HD (UK); Showtime (US)

Division: Welterweight
Title: IBF
Champion: Kell Brook


3. Kell was injured - and eventually stopped - in his most recent bout. Although it happened against a bigger, stronger fighter (not a welterweight), he might enter this bout with a little less confidence than we are accustomed to. You never know how a fighter is going to respond after a KO loss.

After Spence was declared the IBF's mandatory opponent, it would have been wise for Team Brook to relinquish the title and give Kell at least one tune-up prior to his facing another threating opponent.

4. Also, Brook's resume isn't overwhelming. He's faced two top opponents. Gennady Golovkin stopped him inside the distance despite Kell's valiant effort against a bigger man, and he defeated the other, Shawn Porter, in a squeaker than could have been easily ruled a draw.

Conversely, Spence has stoppage wins over three quality (but not extraordinary) opponents: Leonard Bundu (then 33-1-2), Chris Algieri (then 21-2) and Chris van Heerden (the 23-1-1). In fact, all three had never been stopped inside the distance prior to facing Spence. Moreover, Algieri had gone 12 rounds with Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan.

5. And lastly, some surmise it won't be easy for Brook to drop down to welterweight after fighting at middleweight. Like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr against Canelo Alvarez in earlier this month, Kell might have outgrown the welterweight division and might not be at his best at 147lbs.

Welterweight contender Danny Garcia recently told "All that weight, saying he [Kell Brook] couldn't make the weight, to come back down, we don't how he's physically gonna feel."

Given the above factors, it's not difficult to understand why the betting odds favor Spence. Errol seems to have the edge, not only on paper but with the intangibles.

On the business end, Brook could have opted to relinquish his title and seek more lucrative fights against Manny Pacquiao, Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman or countryman and rival Amir Khan but he's chosen to accept a rather high-risk/low-reward showdown with Errol Spence.

Credit to Brook for fulfilling his obligations as a world champion... But are the odds stacked against him?

Regardless, a win Brook would still be far from a major upset.

Veteran boxing trainer James Gogue (to FightSaga Radio)
"The first four rounds will dictate everything and how it's gonna play out. If Brook doesn't hurt him [early] with that right hand [sigh], as the fight goes on Spence is gonna break him down."
"The biggest weakness I see in Kell Brook is he has no inside game."

Heavyweight contender Tony Bellew (to Sky Sports)
"The weight could be an issue but I don't think it will be. He wouldn't have been stupid enough to take on the task if it were a problem. Kell looks in fantastic shape..."

Fight legend Oscar De La Hoya (The Sweet Scientists show on SiriusXM Rush 93)
"I believe that he [Errol Spence] destroys Kell Brook. That's how good he is."

Fight legend Flod Mayweather (to
"That's a good match-up. Errol Spence is a hell of a fighter. I have to lean towards Errol Spence."
"[But] We've never seen him in the late rounds. We've seen him fight good in the first six ... Well, a lot of fighters fight good in the first six."

Leroy Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.