By Terence Dooley
Kell Brook, 29-0 (19), and Carson Jones, 35-9-3 (25), hit the scales in Hull earlier today ahead of Saturday's spicy rematch at the city’s Craven Park Stadium on an Eddie Hearn-promoted bill. Both camps requested a catchweight of 150lbs when making the contest, but when the limit was pushed up to 152 earlier this week it led to fevered speculation over Brook’s ability to get himself down to the welterweight division for future fights. This conjecture failed to take into account the American’s role in all of this, Jones has not hit the welterweight limit since his loss to Brook. The drama's now over, though. Brook, 27, weighed in at 151lbs earlier today; Carson, 26, tipped the scales at 151.75lbs; the fight is scheduled for ten-threes.
Brook out-pointed his rival in an IBF title eliminator last July. The Sheffield starlet piled up points early before either gassing late, running out of ideas or feeling the effects of a badly broken nose, depending on who you listen to. The struggle prompted him to bring in a nutritionist and knuckle down in training ahead of a proposed world title fight with Devon Alexander.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Brook was due to meet Alexander on January 19th only to suffer a foot injury. The fight was postponed until February 23rd, but the titlist was forced to reschedule due to a bicep injury. The ill-fated bout was then pencilled in for May 18th only for Brook to withdraw due to an ankle injury — they’ve now had more withdrawals than a childless Catholic couple.
Indeed, Brook looked miserable when discussing the saga on Sky’s Ringside show a few months ago, but he has taken the Jones rematch to underline his superiority over his rival and get a few rounds under his belt. Terry Thompson, Brook’s father, spoke to BoxingScene after the weigh-in to discuss the fight and the lingering questions over Brook’s ability to make 147.
“Carson is going to go in under six rounds, don’t worry about that,” said Thompson, who then answered the weight question. “Of course Kell can still make welterweight. The thing is, he was training for nine months solid and by the last pull out he’d had enough. He’d been in training, there’d been sparring partners flying in and everything else, but when that happened with his injury he lived his life, had a bit of food and went up in weight a little bit. By the time he was able to properly use his ankle again, we had six weeks to go and we didn’t want to put him under extra stress — that’s all it is.”
“That’s just not true,” he said when asked once again if we have seen the last of Brook at welterweight. “Another few weeks and he’d have been down to 147. He’s been devastated and it was a lot to take in. In Kell’s eyes, he probably didn’t want to fight until September time, but we want to keep him in the limelight and made this fight so that he wouldn’t flog himself for seven weeks and mess things up, so we’ve done it at catchweight. It is all down to circumstance. This isn’t a title fight. It is a keep busy fight. Kell is a welterweight there’s no plans to move up. It is as simple as that.
“Kell’s been in camp for nine months solid. All it takes is a few days of not training and you’ve ballooned up. It is a science, that’s exactly it, and there wasn’t as long a time to make it for this fight — he’s a welterweight. Kell made the weight at nine o’clock this morning. No running or anything like that.
“Kell was in incredible condition the time Alexander pulled out. I swear to you, I’d have put him in with [Floyd] Mayweather with the condition he was in. Everyone was coming in for sparring and he was taking them out in one or two rounds, he was in frightening condition. To this day, no one has seen the real Kell Brook, but they will do.”
For his part, Jones has stoked the flames, possibly in a bid to get Brook riled, and he has ran through the whole gamut of pre-fight insults. “Jones is a bit lairy, isn’t he, so Kell’s just laughed it off,” said Thompson.
“Kell said: ‘He knows what he’s getting — that’s why he’s going off like that’. It will put the record straight, Kell is a different fighter from when they first thought.”
Still, the speculation over Brook’s future at 147 will continue long after the dust has settled on tomorrow night’s fight. One last time, and for those at the back, Thompson explained the situation.
“In a nutshell, the timescale meant we couldn’t do this at 147,” he explained. “Another three weeks, then yes, but not for this one and the talk of plans of moving up are just not true. We’re keeping Kell in the limelight without flogging him to get down in weight. Kell doesn’t want to go mad, do some more damage and put anything at risk.”
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