At a time when Sheffield’s Kell Brook is aiming to strip three world title belts from a Kazakh titan campaigning two weight divisions higher than him, you’d expect support from other British boxers.
Not so, from WBA champion Chris Eubank Junior, who reckons the Yorkshireman is only fighting Gennady Golovkin for a multi-million pound purse and not for any real intention of ruling the middleweight division.
Sound like sour grapes?
If it does, it maybe because Eubank’s management had been on the cusp of signing a deal with the WBC, WBA and IBF champion, only for talks to collapse and Brook to slide in and grab the gig.
“Kell is just along for the ride and is just happy to be getting a pay-day and being involved in what he thinks is the biggest fight in boxing at the moment” said Eubank.
“He’s just there to take part. Brook isn’t going in there with the mindset that I would go in there, which would be to destroy the guy. Brook just wants to make sure he doesn’t get hurt, so I don’t give him much of a chance” Eubank Jr told Sky Sports.
Brook says the Brit should show respect and his camp laughed off Eubank’s efforts to share some of the limelight. But that doesn’t mean that the Sheffield contingent would rule out Eubank from any future fight. Brook is in the happy position now of being able to secure massive fights whatever happens at London’s 02 Arena on September 10.
Amir Khan has suddenly made himself available, so he and Eubank immediately present two potential domestic fights that would guarantee world attention.
Eubank craves the fame his father enjoyed - but he’ll be left even further in the shadows if Sheffield’s IBF welterweight king pulls off a history-defining win this month. Brook will then have already achieved everything Eubank Jr wants - and that could lead to a collision, hopefully at Brook’s beloved Sheffield United ground. “Maybe we can lock horns in the future” said Kell.
Meanwhile, Golovkin believes he will have to adapt to Brook’s tactics in the short-term.
“If he stays right in front of me, I think he’s finished...I beat him” he said. “If he’s moving, I think a little bit longer...maybe not decision fight, maybe 10 or 8 rounds. I need just a couple of rounds to understand my strategy and find him. No problem.”
*Sugar Ray Leonard, the five-weight world champion who stepped up to middleweight to defeat Marvin Hagler, says underdogs can win.
“The general consensus is that he does not have a chance, but he has to believe in himself” he said.
“I fought at my best when I was the underdog. I was more focused and determined. For Brook, if he feels the same way, that is a plus.”
*Leonard, twice Brook’s age at 60, added: “He also has to be in the best shape ever to maintain the pace of Golovkin” he told Sky Sport.
“He has to be mobile, in and out, and try to confuse Triple-G.
“He has to do what he does best and be himself, but faster, quicker, smarter, more economical.”
Leonard won’t predict the outcome, but said: “That is what makes these fights so remarkable...both guys believe they can win, at any cost.”