By Dereck Bilton
Kell Brook, the undefeated Sheffield puncher who many regard as the next 'big thing' in British boxing, takes his next step towards world domination this weekend when he meets decent American Carson Jones at the Motorpoint Arena.
The bill has been dubbed 'Edge of Glory' and that title is an apt one for Brook, who is just a fight away now from fulfilling his dream of boxing for a genuine world title.
The IBF International strap is at stake in Sheffield, where Brook will again be roared on by a vociferous and knowledgeable Yorkshire crowd.
'Special K' is 27-0 and a fighter very much in his fistic prime at 26. The layers reckon he is a knock for the win on Saturday, with Brook no bigger than 1/7.
That might be doing the Oklahoma rough-house a bit of a disservice however. He's won his last eight and mixed in elite company before, although eight losses in 46 fights highlights the fact that this is by no means 'Sugar' Ray Robinson reincarnate we are dealing with here.
Jones does the basics well and he has a spiteful dig with the right hand. However defensively he's not the most clever fighter and having been stopped twice before it's little wonder that Brook is odds-on (4/6) for the stoppage.
Kell won every round of his big domestic showdown last time out against Matthew Hatton. However Hatton never looked in trouble in that one, despite looking a league below the exciting Wincobank craftsman.
There is talk of matching Brook with Amir Khan or even Floyd Mayweather down the line, and there is no doubt his stock has risen noticeably since teaming up with Eddie Hearn.
The pre-fight talk from Team Brook has been about their man making a statement with a stoppage win and, hyped by a raucous hometown crowd, I can see him being as good as his word.
There are plenty of early stoppage wins on Brook's record and when he puts it all together he can be breathtaking. Ladbrokes go a tempting 12/5 that he gets the job done before round seven and that looks the bet to be on in the Steel City.
Elsewhere on Saturday night Tyson Fury continues his journey towards the heavyweight top table when he meets American Vinny Maddalone.
Put simply this looks a mis-match. The fact that Maddalone is 38 and was stopped in three rounds by an ancient Evander Holyfield in 2007 tells us all we need to know about his puglistic capabilities.
The New Yorker comes to fight but he is crude and cumbersome. If Fury has prepared right this could be over in a hurry and I like the look of current 9/4 quotes about the Manchester Traveller taking care of business inside four rounds.
Later WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko goes over old ground in a ludicrous return match with Tony Thompson. That's the same Tony Thompson who he stopped inside 11 sessions in Hamburg back in 2008.
It says everything about the depth of the division that the American can command a return after such a feeble effort first time round. And 1/33 quotes about a Klitschko win tell us plenty about how this will pan out.
To paraphrase the inimitable Don King, Thompson has two chances - slim and none. And slim's left town.
Tags: Kell Brook , Tyson Fury , Brook-Jones , Brook vs Jones