By Marc Livitz: Texas native and undefeated welterweight contender, Errol "The Truth" Spence has his sights set on his first world title. The 2012 Olympian has put together an impressive record since he turned pro that same year and he now stands with twenty one victories with eighteen knockouts. Perhaps none were more noteworthy or significant than his April 2016 knockout win over former world champion, Chris Algieri. On Saturday, May 27, he’ll find the IBF world welterweight title to be within his reach, provided he can best its current owner, Kell Brook. To perhaps compound matters for Spence will be the hostile environment he’ll no doubt encounter in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, Yorkshire, England at the Bramall Lane Football Grounds.
Kell himself is no stranger to challenges. Over the past few years, Brook (36-1, 25 KO’s) has scored impressive wins over such fellow combatants as Vyachselav Senchenko (TKO 4, 10/2013) and Shawn Porter (MD 12, August 2014). The biggest test of his life took place at the O2 Arena in London last September as he jumped up two weight classes to face middleweight king, Gennady "GGG" Golovkin. He gave the unbeaten champion all he could handle for just over four rounds until Golovkin adjusted and scored a brutal knockout win in round five. At the time of the stoppage, Brook was ahead on one scorecard while the other two were deadlocked at two rounds apiece.
He took some time to let an eye injury heal and in just ten days’ time, he’ll find a tough challenge in Spence (21-0, 18 KO’s) waiting for him in Sheffield. From his new training site outside London, the Dallas, Texas fighter spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon as did Brook from his home in Yorkshire alongside Eddie Hearn (Managing Director of Matchroom Sport) and Stephen Espinoza (Executive VP and General Manager, Showtime Sports). The contest will be aired live in the United States on the Showtime Network on May 27 (5PM ET/PT).
Selected Highlights Listed Below
Eddie Hearn, Opening Statements: "30,000 at Sheffield Lane coming off the back of 90,000 at Wembley. A great night for not only British boxing, but world boxing as well. This really is the best versus the best. I’ve long believed that Kell Brook is the best welterweight in the division and we’ve all watched the rise of Errol Spence. He’s willing to come to England. Why? Because he believes he can win, just like Kell is coming off his loss to "GGG" (Gennady Golovkin). I can tell you that fight fans all around the world will be looking forward to this one."
Stephen Espinoza, Opening Statements: "When the best fight the best, special thing happens. We saw that two weeks ago at Wembley Stadium and we saw that back in March when Keith Thurman fought Danny Garcia. The bout at Wembley set British pay per view records and the Thurman/Garcia fight on NBC got over 5,000,000 viewers. This is a real treat for the boxing fans."
Kell Brook’s Thoughts on Spence: "He’s a great talent. He’s been knocking over everything put in front of him. I’ve been training very hard and looking forward to fighting in my hometown of Sheffield. I know this will be a tough night but I have put the work in."
On Fighting At Home: "That added pressure will make me more sharp and alert. It will give me a lot more energy. I’ve been out here training in the heat. I feel alive and happy about this fight."
Why He Returned to 147 lbs.: "Everyone wanted me to move up because they knew I’d be happier at a heavier weight, but all my life I’ve been wanting to be the welterweight champion. I didn’t want to move up in weight without defending my title."
On Spence Coming to England: "It shows me that he believes in his ability and his talent. When I came to America to fight Porter, it was like a dream. This is for the world title, for all the marbles. You may question yourself, but you know you’ve done everything you can to get here. He’s up against me and I know what it’s like to be the champion. I know what it takes to defend the title."
His Record of Opponents Compared to Spence: "I can’t really say but I know I’ve fought for world titles and I’ve beat champions. I’m up against a very good fighter in Errol Spence."
Why He Beat Shawn Porter: "I won the fight because I landed the cleaner shots. It’s as simple as that."
Opening Statements, Errol Spence: "I’m excited to fight for my first world title and it’s something I’ve been waiting for for a long time. I can finally prove that I’m the best welterweight in the division. I know it won’t be easy and this will be a real test. This is something that real fighters do. It won’t be easy but I’m 100 percent ready for this fight."
On Fighting in the U.K.: "My manager asked me if I was comfortable fighting overseas for the title and I said that if I have to do that to win a world title, then I’ll do it. It’s no problem. The wait was difficult, especially watching other fighters on TV. I knew I had to be patient and that timing is everything."
On Brook Returning to Welterweight: "I wasn’t surprised. I knew he’d come back down to 147. His fight with Amir Khan fell through, so he needed to come down to defend his title. I’m glad he did so I can take the title from the champion and I can earn the title the right way."
Reasons On Getting To England 2 Weeks Out: "The time and jet lag, really. This place is six hours ahead of us, so I needed time to adjust. The sparring has been great and we’re staying focused. I had heard about some guys coming in two or three days before the fight and having problems adjusting, so we wanted to get here early."
On Fighting at Bramall Lane: "I think it will be lively and there are some hardcore boxing fans in the U.K. I’ll have some support but there will be lots of boo’s. The pressure will be on him to perform in front of his hometown fans. You still have to show up and perform. There’s lots of expectations when you fight at home. This is a legacy defining fight for me. Some guys don’t go for the title the way I’m doing. If you can go and win a title in someone’s backyard, then that’s great. I definitely want to clean out this division. That’s my goal."
Brook’s Loss Vs Golovkin: "Most boxing people thought that Kell was ahead on the scorecards and that it would take a while for "GGG" to catch up to him. Kell showed lots of heart and determination. I saw some punches that he landed but I don’t take too much from that."