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Five Keys to Victory for Errol Spence


Five keys to victory for Errol Spence
By: Kirk Jackson

Kell “The Special One” Brook 36-1 (25 KO’s) aims to defend his IBF welterweight championship for the fourth time facing Errol “The Truth” Spence 21-0 (18 KO’s) May 27th, at the Bramall Lane Football Grounds arena, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

spence

In a battle of welterweight supremacy, this bout may shape out to be a career defining fight for Brook or a coming out party for Spence.

Each fighter is highly skilled and holds certain advantages. What are some factors determining the outcome?

Size:

Brook is considered a big welterweight; moved up and fought as a middleweight his last fight. His struggles to make the welterweight limit are well documented.

However, Spence is a big welterweight as well.

“At the face off, you look at us, I’m taller than him. I’m a bigger guy than him,” says Errol Spence.

“You just have to be disciplined. A lot of guys blow up in weight before training camp. I live it, because I can get up to 180, 180 (lbs) plus, if I really engorge myself.”

Spence suggests he won’t be bullied inside as the bigger man.

If Brook attempts to hold Spence in attempt to nullify his offense on the inside or in an attempt to frustrate the American challenger, Spence’s size and perceived strength may foil Brook’s plans.

Size plays a major part regarding reach and the distance in which the fight is fought.

Range/Distance control:

Continuing the discussion of size, reach and the measure of distance is important.
Physical attributes play a part in range/distance control because the physical tools of a pugilist typically dictates the style and type of contest the combatant wants to enforce.

Some boxers are versatile and can fight effectively at different ranges; but utilize various tools to be effective in different scenarios.

For example, Spence has the reach advantage, as his reach is 72 inches while Brook is 69 inches.

Brook likes to fight from the outside so in this match-up he will have to utilize speed and timing to successfully combat Spence from the outside and deliver his patented “Chocolate Brownies.”

Spence can and probably will attempt to fight on the outside at times, but there will be a point when he attempts to move the fight inside the trenches to land his trademark body blows.

Former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter 27-2-1 (17 KO’s) believes Spence has the advantage in physical tools.

“I see Errol [Spence] being patient and working behind his jab. Using his head movement and setting up good body shots.

I just see him keeping the fight pretty clean. That southpaw style can sometimes be hard to adjust to. I just think a lot of things are in his favor.”

But Porter believes Brook can emerge victorious as well.

“It’s just a matter of what both fighters want to do. I think Kell [Brook] will want to keep him on the outside. I think he’ll use his jab to control. I look for Errol to use some good foot movement to get inside and work his way from the outside as well.”

This will be a fight of inches.

Technique:

Spence doesn’t stand out in regards to sensational hand speed, swiftness and devastating one punch knockout power. All of the sexy attributes.

But the Olympian from Texas can punch hard; his punches are like thudding shots leaving a lasting impression, wearing down opponents. With his technique, Spence is able to generate the power necessary to punish opponents.

A trait more important than speed is timing. Spence times the rhythm of his opponents and can offset speed with his timing and with his awareness of range and distance.

Spence has tremendous balance as well. He is always in position to catch punches with his gloves, to slip punches and counter, to pursue or escape. Great balance allows for a seamless transition from offense to defense and great balance stems from proper foot work and coordination.

Spence has a mastery of the basic fundamentals; great punching technique, elite level footwork, effectively shifts his weight when placing power and precision on punches and is an overall balanced fighter.

Pace/Pressure:

Brook likes to control the pace and fight composed. The only time viewers could sense some kind of stress or adversity from Brook (body language) was when he fought reigning middleweight champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin 37-0 (33 KO’s).

Golovkin applied not only physical, but mental pressure as well; constantly in Brook’s grill, not allowing the welterweight champion time to breathe or think.

When fighting Porter and facing relentless pressure and pace placed from Porter, Brook was able to maintain composure and fight at a controlled pace.

Brook’s jab played a major key, as he was able to create the space he needed and was always a step ahead of Porter, catching him with the jab whenever he lunged in to attack.

Spence must push the tempo at times, but must also practice patience because Brook can slip punches and be elusive.

Spence must establish his rhythm early, dictate the pace of the fight and must create the threat of an incoming attack. Feinting, along with another staple of Spence’s game will accomplish this task.

Attacking the body is one of the key components to Spence’s game, along with establishing the jab. The jab is important because it serves as a range finder and can dictate offense and defense for Spence.

Road to the fight:

This fight is highly anticipated and will answer questions regarding the hype for both fighters.

Some critics state Spence is yet to prove himself with his resume of opposition. Former WBO super lightweight champion Chris Algieri 21-3 (8 KO’s) is the only notable name.

Similar assessments can be echoed with Brook and his level of competition.

It’s great to face high level opposition like Golovkin, but the confrontation resulted in a five-round TKO defeat. A victory over Shawn Porter is impressive, but aside from that, who else is there?

Critics of Brook can point to limited mandatory title defenses against Kevin Bizier 25-3 (17 KO’s) and Frankie Gavin 24-3 (14 KO’s), or bouts against guys with more than 100 losses like Peter Buckley 32-256-12 (8 KO’s) and Brian Coleman 24-141-7 (5 KO’s).

The timing of this fight favors the younger challenger, Errol Spence. He is riding a seven-fight knockout streak dating back to 2014 and is in his physical prime.

Something to consider is the accumulative damage a fighter suffers from previous fights. Brook endured a beating from unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin his last bout.

Triple G is not only a middleweight, but one of the most devastating power punchers in boxing. Brook’s orbital bone was severely damaged and we can only speculate how healthy Brook is entering this fight.

Spence claims to be one of the most avoided figures in boxing and is hungry for the title. The question will be if he can channel his hunger, determination and hard preparation for this singular moment? Can he realize his dreams of capturing a world title?

Both fighters appear to be on weight, look sharp with their public workouts and the time for talk is over.

Will it be another “Man Down” for Spence or will he suffer defeat via too many “Chocolate Brownies?”

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Five Keys to Victory for Kell Brook


Five keys to victory for Kell Brook
By: Kirk Jackson

Kell “The Special One” Brook 36-1 (25 KO’s) aims to defend his IBF welterweight championship for the fourth time facing Errol “The Truth” Spence 21-0 (18 KO’s) May 27th, at the Bramall Lane Football Grounds arena, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

PorterBrook_Hoganphotos

In a battle of welterweight supremacy, this bout may shape out to be a career defining fight for Brook or a coming out party for Spence.

Each fighter is highly skilled and holds certain advantages. What are some factors determining the outcome?

Punch variation:

One of the unique elements regarding Brook is his versatility. Brook has the ability to throw punches from different angles and can effectively throw a variety of punches with precision and power.

Possessing an excellent right hand lead and a right uppercut, Brook will have to emphasize landing these types of punches against Spence.

Brook also possesses one of the best 1-2 or (left jab, straight right hand) combinations in boxing. His jab will be crucial in regards to establishing range, locating his target and finding his comfort zone early in the fight.
Facing a southpaw,right hand proficiency is crucial. Although Spence has the edge is reach 72 inches compared to 69 inches for Brook and is the slightly taller man standing 5’9 ½” – Spence likes to fight on the inside to attack the body.

To ward off Spence’s pursuit and eventual attack, Brook may aim uppercuts down the middle, in between Spence’s high guard as he enters up close.

Alejandro Barrera 28-3 (18 KO’s) landed occasional right uppercuts and right hand lead punches when he fought Spencein November of 2015.

Brook may aim to do the same.

Size:

Is Brook the bigger man? Fellow welterweight Danny Garcia believes so talking to Boxingscene.

“I think the timing favors Spence a little bit because Brook just fought Triple-G [Gennady Golovkin]. All that weight, saying he couldn’t make the weight, to come back down, we don’t how he’s physically gonna feel.”

Brook however, altered his diet in preparation for his return to welterweight.

“First, we put him on a strictly-controlled keto diet for a couple of weeks which burns fat,” said nutrition expert Greg Marriott.

“If he spars in the morning, he’ll wake up at 7am and eat slow-release carbohydrates like a bowl of simple oats. An hour before he spars at 10am he has a fast-release carbohydrate like white bread with jam or honey,” Marriot continued.

“In the evening he’ll have a low-glycemic carbohydrate like sweet potato with lean fish.”

Diet and recovery is imperative to maintaining strength. This will allow Brook to fight at full effectiveness; he can fight on the inside and use his frame to keep Spence off balance and attempt to clinch whenever Spence tries to work inside.

Brook can nullify the inside attack like he did in route to defeating Shawn Porter for the IBF title back in August of 2014.

Punching power:

Brook’s power ties into his size and overall strength; he is considered a large welterweight and is rumored to walk around up to 180 lbs or higher when not preparing for a fight.

Brook not out of shape however, possessing the physique of a body builder.

Lead by nutrition expert Greg Marriott and his comprehensive dietary plan, Brook should maintain his strength leading up to his fight with Spence.

With 25 KO’s in 37 bouts, Brook boasts a KO ratio of 68%. He stopped two previous opponents, Kevin Bizier 25-3 (17 KO’s) and Frankie Gavin 24-3 (14 KO’s) prior to facing middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin this past October.

His stoppages against high quality opposition may be questioned, but even against the bigger man Golovkin, the reigning middleweight championwas rocked a few times.

At the very least, Brook possesses enough power to keep opponents honest. Those very weapons, Brook refers to as “Chocolate Brownies.”

Underrated skillset:

For those believing Spence will easily walk through Brook,must think again.

“The Special One” has an underrated skill set and can do many things; inside fighting, slipping punches, effectively maneuvering on the inside and pushing off with his shoulders to create separation and different angles, pull back counters, etc.

Brook is crafty in the trenches, can disguise punches effectively and it can be argued he is more fluid – from a punch combination aspect compared to Spence. Brook also looks a shade quicker in regards to hand speed.

Experience:

Brook has been here before, participating in five world championship bouts. He is the reigning IBF welterweight champion and held his own against the current unified middleweight champion of the world.

He has experience fighting in front of his hometown fans in Sheffield, Yorkshire. Brook has familiarity fighting in front of a large, ruckus audience, as he fought in front of 19,000 at the O2 Arena in London. Last thing he wants to do is loose in front of the hometown crowd for the second time.

Brook may want to use the elements at play to his advantage and jump on Spence early to create a level of doubt in his mind. Establish himself as the champion and control the fight. This will be key in defending his crown.

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