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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Boxing Picks 2017- Kell Brook vs Errol Spence Jr (May 27th)

2017 has been a wonderful year for Boxing with the big names getting together to produce the big fights in every Division.

There are still more to come with the Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin fight the highlight of the second half of the year, but don't sleep on the likes of Anthony Dirrell vs Callum Smith and a likely rematch between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko after the fireworks they produced at Wembley Stadium at the end of April.

Out of all the fights that had been signed in the first half of the year, this one between Kell Brook and Errol Spence Jr may have been the best of the bunch for the hardcore Boxing fraternity. Other fights might have captured the imagination of the casual fans and even those who have previously shown little interest in the sport, but this one feels like it is coming between two of the very best in a loaded Welterweight division and with a world title and huge unification events for the winner to take part in.

The undercard isn't a bad one at Bramall Lane either and I have three picks overall from the overall card which you can see below.


David Allen vs Lenroy Thomas
If World Titles were given to people with charisma and character, David Allen would be close to the front of the queue and he has built up a cult following with his antics in press conferences and the willingness to fight whoever has been put up in front of him.

Do I think this is a World Champion in the making? Probably not, but we have seen the likes of Charles Martin pick up a portion of the title when mandatories and bigger opportunities are presented to the real leaders of the Division and opens up World Title shots to those who perhaps don't deserve it.

However, David Allen is being built up under the watch of Eddie Hearn and he is definitely on a path that will either make him a viable contender to fight Anthony Joshua at some point or perhaps have a World Title fight against another opponent who is of a similar ilk.

That can only continue if he sees off Lenroy Thomas when they meet for the Commonwealth Heavyweight Title on Saturday and I fully expect Allen to do the job. He is a bit crude, but Allen can punch a bit and he would have learned plenty from his losses to Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz.

Those two fights alone are much more daunting than anyone Thomas has fought, even though Thomas has been in the ring with Dominic Breazeale, and I don't really believe Thomas has come here with a lot of belief. It is his first fight outside the United States and he has lost three of his last seven with all of those coming by stoppage in the first half of the fight.

I think Allen is likely to want to get the jump on Thomas early as possible in this one and he has the punching power to force his opponent to really think about whether he 'wants' this as much as the 'White Rhino'. I am not sure Thomas has the best whiskers and I can see Allen taking him out fairly early in this one and will back him to win this in the within the first six Rounds on Saturday.


George Groves vs Fedor Chudinov
There are some who will like the way George Groves carried himself before his two fights with Carl Froch and others who may never like him, but no one can say he doesn't deserve the chance to become a World Champion. He has been beaten in three World Title fights, but two of those were fairly controversial and Groves is looking to prove he belongs in the elite which will open up the opportunities for some huge fights ahead.

The most immediate thought will turn to the rematch with James DeGale, although Groves can't overlook Fedor Chudinov in this main supporting fight to the main event at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

However it has been over a year since Chudinov was last seen being outpointed in a Split Decision loss to Felix Sturm whose best days look long behind him. Simply put, Chudinov has not been in the ring with anything like the quality George Groves has and I think that is going to be highlighted when you see these two in the ring with one another on Saturday.

Groves has rebuilt his career with four successive wins after the Split Decision loss to Badou Jack in a fight he recovered really well after being put on the floor in the First Round. I actually thought he might have done enough that day to overturn the Knock Down, but he has since tried to shown an improved stamina in his last few fights.

One of the big knocks on Groves was he seemed to lose some energy in the Championship Rounds in the past, but I think he is trying to put together his boxing in a way to make sure there are reserves in the tank. That means I don't think Groves will push for a stoppage in this one and instead is going to coast towards a fairly comfortable win on the scorecards and I will back him to win by a points call.


Kell Brook vs Errol Spence Jr
The first thing I want to say is I don't mind being wrong in this prediction one bit if it means Kell Brook is still the World Champion come Sunday morning.

However, history of Boxing suggests it is almost impossible to move up and down the weight classes in the manner Brook has and even having the ten months between fights may not be enough to really feel comfortable at the Welterweight limit.

Brook didn't move up one Division to face the power punching Gennady Golovkin, but he moved up two Divisions and we have seen throughout history that fighters almost always come unstuck when moving back down that kind of weight.

Take nothing away from 'The Special One', he looks in fantastic shape and is saying all of the right things- I do think Brook truly believes he is going to win this fight, but the acid test is how the body will react to the sharp shooting skills of Errol Spence Jr and how much will be in the tank if this goes into the latter stages of the fight.

I fully expect Spence to target the body early and often to sap the energy and Brook is the kind of warrior who will be willing to go out on his shield if he is going to give up his prized possession of the IBF Welterweight Title.

He clearly is proud of being a World Champion- most advised Brook to skip this mandatory and move up in weight or simply to 'duck' Spence, but the reason I have a lot of time for the Sheffield star is because that is the furthest thing from his mind.

This is a dangerous unbeaten American prospect coming to town and I call Spence a prospect because he is stepping up to the World level for the first time. His wins over Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu have to be respected as Spence became the first man to stop either (Algeiri had lost on points to Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, while Bundu had lost on points to Thurman).

Neither is on the level of Kell Brook though who will bring his 'chocolate brownie' to the party and so there are some questions about Spence, who also looks big at this weight, and whether Spence is ready to take this step. He is saying all the right things and I don't think he is another Jeff Lacy and I can understand why the American is the favourite.

Regardless of whether Spence feels truly comfortable at the weight is less of an issue when he hasn't made the same decision as Kell Brook to move up to Middleweight before coming back down for this fight. Spence's body should be much more accustomed to being boiled down to the Welterweight limit and I really think that will end up making the difference in the fight.

Spence has power in both hands and I think he is going to be able to take Brook into the second half of the fight and then take over with some sharp shooting. The fact Brook is willing to go to the very limits in this one makes him very dangerous, but I think the weight drop will be an issue at the end of this one and I can see Brook walking into something big late in the fight.

Like I said at the opening, I would love to be wrong and Brook pulls this out of the fire.

But putting my heart aside and what I want, the head is saying, and has been saying since the fight was announced, that Spence will force the stoppage late in a barnstormer.

MY PICKS: David Allen Win Between 1-6 @ 2.25 Bet Fred (2 Units)
George Groves by Decision or Technical Decision @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Errol Spence Jr Win Between 7-12 @ 4.33 Paddy Power (1 Unit)

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